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Shoppable content and the constant evolution of e-commerce

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Shoppable Content and The Constant Evolution of E-Commerce - ©iStockphoto.com/kokouu

Why should you use shoppable content?

Shoppable content connects imagery directly to products, allowing consumers to buy instantly from the pictures, video, and even text they’re viewing. An online retailer might use the most eye-catching photography and stylish videos to illustrate its products but, as engaging as that content may be, unless it’s shoppable it becomes a missed opportunity to convert browsers into buyers.

In an age where speed and convenience rule, the importance of shoppable content can’t be overstated. For example, two thirds of all e-commerce transactions in 2019 were made via a mobile device. This is an environment in which users spend much of their time on platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and Tik Tok, scrolling through videos and images. By linking those videos and pictures directly to the products they feature, it’s possible to cut out several steps in the purchase journey to make it more seamless. There’s a direct correlation between a shorter path to purchase and higher sales. If the content is sufficiently engaging, the consumer will be more likely to buy.

So what does shoppable content look like? The truth is, it can take many forms. The beauty of shoppable content is that conversions and sales are easy to track, so brands and advertisers can continue to try out different creative executions, measuring the ROI of each, before settling on the one that works best for them.

Here are the most common types of content from which a direct purchase can be made:

  • Text - This is probably shoppable content at its most basic, where a link can be made from an article or blog post, enabling the reader to purchase the product mentioned.
  • Images - Quality photography has long been the traditional means of showing a product at its most appealing. Therefore, it would seem logical for brands to enable consumers to purchase directly from visual content - especially given the popularity of photo-sharing apps such as Instagram and Pinterest. Indeed, clicking on a shoppable Instagram post or a Buyable Pin on Pinterest will allow users to buy the featured product.
  • Video - A natural extension of shoppable photographic content, it’s possible for brands to tag the appropriate elements of online videos to enable viewers to directly shop the items they’re seeing on screen. When you consider that videos account for 80 percent of online consumer traffic, there seems little reason not to make them shoppable.

Of course, one of the benefits of all these types of content is their shareability. If it’s engaging enough, users will share it with their friends over social media, thereby providing more potential customers the chance to buy the products in question. And as that content comes from a friend or contact rather than being served by an advertiser, there’s a much higher chance that a viewer will engage with it. Around 3.5 billion people - or 45 percent of the world’s population - are on social media. Sharing shoppable content puts a brand’s products in front of a very sizeable audience.

Shoppable content can be seen as the latest step in the e-commerce’s ongoing evolution, as brands and online retailers continue to search for ways to improve the customer experience. Combining visual and written content with the need to meet consumer demands for greater speed and convenience, forward-looking retailers can improve conversions and drive sales by making the purchase process as frictionless as possible.

Why is shoppable content important for e-commerce?

Attractive, high-quality visual and written content has always been important in retail. But for so long now it’s been little more than window dressing. E-commerce today requires something far more dynamic and compelling. Executed well, shoppable content can turn browsers into buyers within a couple of clicks.