Buying In To Shoppable Content

Matt Wurst

VP, Client Management

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We’ve talked about “shoppable content” here in this space before, but let’s break it down again, especially because, well, it’s important. And’s it’s “Talking Shop” Week at revelation!

So What Is It? 

Shoppable content is really any type of content – photos, videos, articles, graphics, etc. – that creates a direct purchase opportunity. It is not an entirely new concept but has been enhanced by digital, commerce-enabled platforms and features enabling consumers to shop right on the screen within a few clicks. It is ideal for brands in search of more friction-less conversion and efficiency… and geared towards people for whom waiting is SO last century.

In its most evolved state, shoppable content allows consumers to add products directly to a shopping cart as part of a unified experience with watching viewing the content. It may also provide a link to more information or direct access to a product page. New tools offered by Pinterest and Instagram, for example, sanctify the act of purchase by associating it with a consumer’s relationship with a brand. It eliminates almost all barriers to purchase, including any intrusive, cumbersome clicks, thus integrating naturally (and without any other obligation) to a user’s social journey.

Simply put, the immediacy of shoppable content makes possible what watching a television commercial or reading a magazine has never been able to do:  satisfy immediate desires.

Click to Buy

Remember that highly shareable survey from The Drum a few years ago indicating that 91% of consumers prefer interactive content to traditional content? Shoppable content picks up on its legacy… and if content is king, then actionability is its crown. On the flip side, think about the frustration and disappointment that dead-end content may engender.

Now that consumers have seen and experienced the ease of shoppable content, anything less becomes an underwhelming disappointment. This is why social sites have introduced the features that simplify the path to conversion and cut out any notion of having to “wait in line.” The shopping funnel and the queue are gone. This immediacy plus simplicity has become an expected, seamless experience.

And as Chris Murphy, Head of Digital Experience at Adidas USA, rightly pointed out: “This format creates the opportunity to bring consumers to “frictionless” brands.

We no longer live in a world where we have to choose between creativity and commerce. Consumers no longer differentiate between engagement and conversion, and neither should brands.

Measurably Better means Better Measuring 

With compelling content, consumer purchase activity can be more directly tied to satisfaction and contentment. When this activity takes place in more social environments, the amplification factor and power of advocacy can drive even further sales. And unlike other marketplaces, brands have significant control over the message and the communication to influence the purchase. As part of a broader, connected content strategy, shoppable content increases the conversion rate and provides significantly greater value than traditional media and a more conventional advertising strategy. Given the changes in consumer expectations and behavior, the latter is perceived to be over-solicitous and more easily ignorable.

Styla and Smartzer, two key leaders in the pure shoppable content space, published a report last year showing how shoppable content can help companies drive more traffic… and optimize that traffic for conversion. Productivity and efficiency are measurable and tangible:

  • + 22% click-through rate
  • + 112% social sharing
  • + 57% organic traffic
  • + 60% time spent of page
  • – 65% time spent on content creation

The integration of first-party sales data with social engagement metrics creates an optimizable feedback loop for iterative improvement. With better data and a greater understanding of audience consumption, brands can adapt offers, optimize their content, leverage momentum and the inertia of social trends to create an even deeper, more meaningful relationship with their customers. As we enter the next phase of shoppable content, keeping up with increasingly demanding, fickle users who have become more acclimated to interactive creativity becomes the ultimate challenge.

Types of Shoppable Content

Product Images

What product images may lack in creativity, they make up for in eCommerce efficiency. Adding shoppable tags can make them even more valuable, especially when they lead to more in-depth information or direct links to buy.

Interactive Video

As consumers, we just expect it now. Video  is not only a powerful storytelling tool, but it now makes up for roughly 80% of all consumer traffic online.

Blog Posts and SEO-Optimized Editorial

Owned-and-operated content has made a resurgent comeback in terms of brand content prioritization. It improves discoverability with search engines and builds confidence with consumers.

Social Media

Several platforms embraced shoppable content early on, first with Pinterest’s shoppable pins, where users could buy products directly within the app. Instagram followed suit, and even TikTok and Snapchat are on board. Trust varies with and across each platform, but over time, expect to see more direct conversion within social apps.

Digital Advertorials

A mix between brand-owned magazines and advertising content, many publishers have opened their sites to integrated, co-branded content experiences, and even more overt advertising. With a built-in audience and reach, brands have direct access to potential consumers, and the ability to sell to them.

For years now, marketers have espoused the importance of engagement with content. Social platforms pleaded with us to accept likes, comments, and shares as proxies for brand love. But isn’t the ultimate proof of affinity one that culminates in a receipt or sales confirmation email?  The best shoppable content can achieve both: it generates emotion, inspires advocacy, bolsters an emotional connection, and drives our bottom lines.