Selling it softly: editorial commerce

The world of “e-tail” is changing. Luxury e-commerce consumers expect more from their online experience and editorial engagement is increasingly the answer.

23 Jun 2015

by Andrew Hearn

Paul Smith website example

A virtual magazine (or blog), carefully curated around points of sale, offers a bridge between commerce and content. It not only allows customers an insightful, unique and enjoyable way to shop, but also becomes a destination in its own right.

Net-A-Porter, Matches, Farfetch, My Wardrobe and Excelsior Milano are just some of the e-commerce sites offering innovative editorial to their shoppers. Re-imagining the print magazines that have influenced consumers since the start of the 19th century, the brands capture and inspire their audience through regular features, such as Q&A interviews, celebrity style pages and travel guides as well as cutting-edge video and design, with seamless shopping links throughout. This encourages customers to buy into the brand’s voice, identity and, ultimately, lifestyle.

Anya Hindmarch website example

Two iconic British brands, Anya Hindmarch and Paul Smith, have both created lifestyle blogs. Anya’s World and Paul Smith World provide “backstage” insights into their brands, bringing a sense of personalisation and aspiration associated with the products they sell. Combined with social media marketing, they aim to connect their customer to their story and, later, their product.

Net-A-Porter’s digital magazine The Edit

Net-A-Porter’s digital magazine The Edit

It has been estimated that Net-A-Porter’s site received an average of six million global visitors per month last year. It is no coincidence that the brand’s editorial content goes from strength to strength in the form of a digital magazine, The Edit, and the recent hardback launch, Porter. Featuring high profile covers, with Lara Stone, Gisele Bündchen and Lady Gaga, and a slick selection of feature stories, Porter rivals, if not triumphs, many of the newsstand glossies. And it’s no surprise with Lucy Yeomans, ex-Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar, at the helm. She tells Business of Fashion that “a magazine is entertainment. You have to remember to entertain and inspire, as well as provide solutions.”

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