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Making content count

Get it right and you’ll engage and inspire users without distracting them from making a purchase.

The recent news that Reiss’s like-for-like online sales are up 84% on last year will have many of its competitors looking to see what it has done to grow these figures so dramatically.

With brand director Andy Rogers putting part of this success down to editorially-driven online content, what are other retailers doing in terms of content online and does an increased editorial slant actually boost sales?

Simon Forster, online trading director at department store chain Debenhams, believes editorial content can “inspire, engage and inform” customers.

“It can also be used to reaffirm the brand’s credentials in our areas of expertise,” he says. “At Debenhams we have a number of content formats across our digital channels ranging from more in-depth magazine-style pieces to short, sharp edits of key product areas.”

Sarah Curran, founder of etailer, thinks a clear strategy should be built around editorial content online. She says: “The beauty of online shopping is the time efficiency and at My-Wardrobe we focus on the product with inspirational photography and styling, while using editorial content to describe the item and to give a deeper insight into the designer or a trend.”

So the key to maximising the benefit of editorial online is to get the balance right. Retailers need to look at their audience and provide them with content that will interest and inspire them, giving them yet another reason to visit the site. However, once users are on the site, retailers must ensure they do not distract their audience from the product and transactional element of the site with too much editorial.

“Every retailer looks to create stickiness, engaging the customer through the product, editorial content and photography and the key is creating an engaging sense of community that the customer wants to come back to time and time again,” says Curran. Relaying this content through social and digital marketing channels “presents your brand to a wider audience”.

Forster agrees it is all about giving individual customers what they want. “It’s important not to force editorial content on your customers but make it easily available to those who want it. The majority may just want to shop but it is important to facilitate all of the customer types you have as a multichannel retailer. With those that do engage we tend to see lifts with both conversion and AOV [average order value].”

So whether it’s on the home page, product pages or dedicated editorial sections, retailers should be thinking about how they can use editorial content to engage and interact with their audience as well as using it to promote the authority of a brand and the product it sells. Reiss, My-Wardrobe and Debenhams all have dedicated digital content teams to ensure the strategy behind this proposition is strong and that the business can maximise its exposure and sales through editorial content online.

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