The menswear expert speaks to Drapers’ editorial director Eric Musgrave about maximising editorial content for digital businesses
You started your career in print journalism. What are the main differences between print and online content?
In some ways [engaging customers] in print and online is no different. But the biggest difference and change are scale and immediacy. There are so many [digital] platforms now that it’s very much 24/7. Developing a digital and retail language was quite difficult for me. It’s a conversation, not a lecture [online]. And you get answers and feedback immediately.
How does the editorial team work with the rest of the Mr Porter team?
There is a close relationship between the buying and editorial teams. We both buy what we like. Natalie [Massenet, founder of Net-a-Porter] says content and commerce go arm in arm. If the marketing team says we’re not selling enough orange cords [we help them editorially] but wouldn’t put orange cords all over the homepage.
I think you have a great website, but I must admit, I don’t buy from it. Does that concern you? Can you have too much editorial on a retail site?
No, I think it’s really nice that people come for inspiration. The fact they come to us at all is great. We act as a marketing tool for a lot of brands and increase footfall in their stores. [As for too much editorial] it depends on your customer base. It’s a very expensive thing to do, a big investment.
How do you measure the success of the editorial content?
By visitor numbers and cross-session sales. We work very closely with the marketing department in SEO and, actually, we need to improve that.
Who is the Mr Porter shopper?
He should be every guy, which sounds like a cop-out answer, but… we have four types of men we target: fashion customers; female customers who buy for their partners; the guy who shops because he’s interested in looking good; and the guy who hates shopping but knows he needs to look good. That’s why it’s such an anonymous sounding name, why we don’t use models, but real people - a scaffolder, a painter - so we don’t scare anyone away.