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The Evolution of Commerce-Connected Content

BoF explores the competitive advantage early adopters are gaining in the surface revolution, sharing data-driven intelligence from Tipser on the potential of curated commerce content strategies.
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Today, retailers are laser focused on building customer-centric strategies, making their products available anywhere and anytime, in the channels their customers inhabit. As media consumption habits increase, shoppable media emerges as a critical channel for the engagement and conversion of customers, and a growth lever brands are investing in.

Global media companies are recognising the opportunity. YouTube announced in October 2020 that it would be making its videos more shoppable, while TikTok entered the market in December via fashion livestreams. Similarly, Instagram launched its Reels and Shop tab for users to connect with brands and creators — and to discover products.

A leader in the content-driven commerce space, Tipser was founded on a simple premise: sell any product on any digital surface. It works with brands like H&M and Filippa K, retailers like Harvey Nichols and publications like Bustle, Elle and InStyle to monetise existing traffic flows with e-commerce.

In conversation with BoF’s Robin Mellery-Pratt, Tipser’s head of business development, Josep Nolla, shares extensive insight on the opportunities for growth within commerce-connected content alongside The Future Laboratory’s foresight editor, Kathryn Bishop. BoF identifies the key insights below.

Shoppable Media Offers Opportunity at Scale

JN: We’re no doubt ahead of the next big shift in commerce. Currently, we are seeing that every single media [platform] is becoming a store and each store is a [form of] media. Every single publisher, media company, everyone that has an audience — influencers are essentially storefronts, too — if they can build their e-commerce platform and build their retail logistics, the growth potential is massive. The scale [of opportunity] is tremendous.

The key question is how you scale the infrastructure around it. Consider Google — it generates 1 billion+ shopping queries per day, and yet its product that facilitates transacting in those Google properties — YouTube video, Google Shopping — is still in its early stages. [The challenge is] how to leverage such a large audience.

KB: As more people are coming online — and much younger consumers — we can really think about the untapped market potential for this kind of content, commerce and service opportunity. […] Cybersecurity Ventures found that, by 2030, 90 percent of the human population [over the age of 6] will be online. Of course, we will see huge growth [in digital adoption] in the African continent, Latin America and Asia. I think right now in the Middle East and Latin America, roughly the average consumer spends three hours on social media. That’s likely potentially bigger in some regions, according to insights from Globalweb Index.

Relevancy and Trust Can Build Competitive Advantage

KB: Drivers around trust, convenience and education stood out to me as reasons why consumers are responding positively to content-driven commerce. There is a shift towards education and moving away from a one-way broadcast to content where there is more interaction to be had with commerce folded in. A recent report talked about this and phrased it as D4C, not D2C. Brands have crept into home interactions and become more personal and intimate.

Consumers are always looking for a way to find trust.

Trust is key — especially if you’re shopping online. Consumers are always looking for a way to find trust. As the retailer, if you are putting out content and it has a commerce aspect tied to it, you need to ensure that it doesn’t come across as overly sales-focused.

JN: From a consumer standpoint, the media adds a layer of relevancy, a layer of context and a layer of trust. We go to the same sites everyday whether it’s hobbies, news etc and we do that because we have a trust relationship with those media partners and it’s created by the people that we follow. That’s essential in making content commerce successful.

Set Clear Goals and Keep Exploring Channels

JN: From a content commerce perspective, begin by establishing specific goals — what you are trying to achieve — and try to break those down. Most likely, [the focus] is sales for businesses, but customer acquisition is very important and it can be a subset of other goals. The next step is asking, ‘how can I reach that?’ ‘What is the expectation of my audience?’ Then, you can highlight opportunities in [...] different types of platforms.

From here, [you must] keep exploring because you will always have limited opportunities when you work with tech-giants. However, if you connect with a specific media group, you can tap into their audience and build something together that’s very unique. In truly knowing who the audience is, you can align around the goals you have set.

KB: For me, it’s the peer aspect that’s really huge. Anthropologist Grant McCracken said more than a decade ago that brands are behaving as “networks of the unacquainted.” Brands should consider all the places where they can bring together that network of the unacquainted and create content, or opportunities and ways of bringing those kinds of people together, creating the learnings and feedback you can garner from the content you’re producing.

The Metaverse Opportunity

JN: If we think about e-commerce now, there’s limitations. It’s very two-dimensional from a certain [aspect]. That’s why physical retail still excites us with tactility — touching and smelling. We are simply not there yet with e-commerce. Live video is the starting point, everything being transformed to moving images makes it more three-dimensional — but we need a deeper experience.

KB: [With] the potential of the metaverse, especially for luxury brands, things like Roblox and Animal Crossing have come to the [forefront] within the last year. Brands are [beginning] to explore more of that immersive content in these metaverse spaces. Even the Boomer generation have become big gamers in the last year, and are spending time in these virtual spaces. They are an audience to watch, on that front.

This is a sponsored feature paid for by Tipser as part of a BoF partnership.

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