Shoppable content is fast becoming an industry buzzword, as brands and retailers make a bid to profit on engagement – ultimately converting online window shoppers into valuable customers. The aim is to shorten the path to purchase, employing a seamless user journey that encourages sales.
With 87% of British consumers making an online purchase within the last 12 months, it’s clear why brands are investing more in digital commerce. It’s no longer enough just to have an online retail presence however, as speed, convenience and mobile responsiveness continue to change the way we shop online.
In light of this, we’re taking a look at exactly what defines shoppable content, which brands are mastering it already, and why your retail business should be following suit.
What is shoppable content?
While the exact scope of shoppable content varies dramatically between brands and industries, the term ultimately refers to content that links to shopping baskets or product pages. This content is often visual – think branded videos or glossy editorial campaigns – yet it has the added benefit of a direct link to purchase.
No longer do consumers need to head back to the site in question, search for the product and add it to their basket. Instead, the product is linked to straight from the content itself, meaning payment is only a click or two away.
The benefits of shoppable content
The benefits associated with shoppable content aren’t limited to a direct route to checkout. User experience is enhanced by the opportunity to shop without compromising their enjoyment of the content. Clothing retailer Matches Fashion led the way here with Wardrobe Essentials – a shoppable video that allows users to click on garments as they appear. From there, specific product links are saved for use at the end of the video, preventing the need for users to click away from the content part-way through.
Of course, shoppable content is beneficial from a retailer’s perspective too. Tracing conversions back to their source is easy, giving you a clear idea of how shoppable content is really impacting your business. Then there’s the added benefit of attracting those impulsive buyers, as the ability to instantly purchase an item based on an emotional response makes conversions from this kind of consumer more likely.
Types of shoppable content
From video ads to user-generated content, brands are constantly competing to take the trend for shoppable content down increasingly diverse and creative routes. Ultimately there’s no limit to the types of content that can be made shoppable. The most common are:
Fashion, lifestyle and design are all examples of industries that are heavily reliant upon visuals to inspire purchases. As such, bridging the gap between visual content and e-commerce is an increasingly big concern for brands.
Urban clothing label Vulpine effortlessly marries striking visuals and shoppable content in their lookbooks. Made up of full-screen, high-resolution images, each look includes a direct product link and enables users to move freely between content and related commerce pages.
User-generated content is a time- and cost-effective way to give a personable edge to your brand, further bridging the gap between you and your consumer. ASOS’ #AsSeenOnMe campaign is perhaps the clearest example of a brand merging UGC with shoppable content. By asking consumers to tag social media posts with the relevant hashtag, images are then collated and shared on site – where users have the chance to directly ‘Get the look…’ from content they’re inspired by.
Proving that it’s not just fashion brands making use of shoppable content is London-based furniture retailer Made.com. They’ve adopted a similar approach with Made x Unboxed, which gives consumers the chance to directly shop products from user-generated images.
We’ve already touched on an example of a great shoppable video campaign, yet it’s a trend that’s spanning both men’s and women’s fashion. Ted Baker’s #TEDPRESENTS campaign features a selection of editorial films that give users the chance to directly shop the items on screen. Simply click each tag and you’ll be greeted with a shoppable overlay displaying information on each garment, alongside a direct link to the product page.
There’s no denying the online retail environment is rapidly shifting, as brands focus their energies on keeping the user experience slick. For many, shoppable content is viewed only as the beginning of an e-commerce landscape that prioritises ease of use above all else. Particularly for industries that rely heavily on gripping visuals, there appear to be very few limitations when it comes to producing aesthetically pleasing content that connects directly with commerce.