The idea of content and commerce was first hatched by Natalie Massenet two decades ago when she started luxury e-commerce site Net-a-Porter, which is known as the pioneer of editorial e-commerce. Despite the rocky start, Net-a-Porter managed to create a paradigm shift in the online retail industry.
Adopting the concept of a magazine in a website format, consumers are able to directly purchase products they are reading about. It was a novel and exceptional breakthrough back in those days. Fast forward to 2014, Net-a-Porter turned the tide and launched a print magazine, Porter. The move was surprising considering the decline of print publications.
According to Lucy Yeomans, former editor-in-chief of Porter, loyal customers of Net-a-Porter continue to read print magazines despite the shift to digital. The magazine comes with digital features that allow readers to scan products on the magazine and they will be directed to Net-a-Porter website.
With styling and photoshoot, editorial content holds the power to influence readers’ purchase decisions. Sarah Graciella, a digital strategist from digital media agency Upnormals Pingfans, said that a lot of brands that she has handled so far have been able to translate content into purchase.
“Generally, people want to buy from a brand that they’re familiar with. Hence, if your content is capable of demonstrating who you are as a brand, and why your product is exceptional despite having a lot of competitors in the market, then you’ll win the hearts of the potential customers. This will translate into more purchases, hence could be called a successful content-commerce integration,” said Sarah.
As reported by Cloudways, according to SaleHoo, about 84% of customers search for product reviews on social media before making a purchase and 46% of them make their purchase decision based on the reviews. This proved that content related to the product can be the driving force behind consumers’ purchase decisions.
Content provides engagement; it creates trust; and it even has the capability to improve brands’ search engine optimisation. The more relevant the content is, the more engagement you will receive. More engagement means more data that could be harvested. From there, you could analyse your consumers’ behaviour and demands more easily – another perk that could make your business grow.
Several Indonesian companies, such as Sociolla, Tinkerlust and Cottonink, have tried incorporating content into commerce. Sociolla, for example, launched beauty journal, a platform to educate customers about beauty products. This idea emerged as during its launch in March 2015, Sociolla owners noticed that in Indonesia, people tend to have a very low awareness of beauty, let alone beauty products.
The beauty journal provides information about products sold at Sociolla as well as reviews and tips on how to choose products that best fit each customer. Customer reviews are considered an effective marketing strategy to help brands gain customer trust.