Shoppable Media: The Ultimate Guide for 2021

We’re living in the future, where even the most straightforward marketing content is a clear, measurable step on the path to purchase. 40% of marketers are now using shoppable media to reduce friction, eliminate distractions, and learn more about their customers.

If you’re looking to add some of that capability to your own content, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get your media working harder and winning more sales for your business than ever before.

What is shoppable media?

Shoppable media (you might also see it called shoppable content) is any marketing content that includes a direct opportunity to purchase products. This can take various different forms. In some cases, viewers will be able to add items they see in the content to a cart. Other times, the content will refer them to a streamlined product page.

Either way, making content shoppable adds powerful functionality for both you and your audience. Customers can immediately action their desire to purchase without hunting around the internet for the product they just saw. Meanwhile, your business can enjoy a host of advantages.

What are the benefits of shoppable content?

Shoppable media makes your digital marketing content work harder by giving it a direct, data-driven role in your sales funnel. It removes a lot of guesswork from your marketing; let’s see what that looks like in practice.

Shorter sales funnel

Shoppable media drastically cuts down the steps between seeing a product you like and buying that product online. Traditionally, a typical such journey might look like this:

1.   See something you want in a piece of content

2.   Search to identify the product or a similar one

3.   Go to the product page, make the purchasing decision

4.   Add to cart and pay

It’s easy to see how many chances this gives for customers to get lost, bored, or seduced by a competitor’s products. Most shoppable media cut out that risky second step entirely. Some more advanced examples cut out steps two and three, letting shoppers add to the cart directly from the content.

Sell through stories

Storytelling is a fundamental part of how we humans structure our interactions with the world around us. When we see something in the context of a narrative, we remember it better because we know where it fits in with other elements of the story. Memory experts recommend making up stories to link bits of random information as an exam technique.

Shoppable media plays on the same psychological principle. Showing your products as moving parts of a story helps them stand out to customers. Seeing the benefits in action, it’s easy for viewers to picture the product as part of their own daily routines and immediately make it so. This is particularly true for shoppable videos.

Warmer, more receptive customers

While people are browsing enjoyable content, their guard is down. They’re thinking less critically and they’re more receptive to new ideas. That makes them more likely prospects to convert than those who are conducting detailed, analytical Google searches for the right products.

On Instagram alone, 90% of users follow some kind of business account. That’s a staggering number of people inviting brands into their headspace to make helpful suggestions. The right content, with a low-friction path to purchase, can be a huge driver of conversions.

Access to more and more data

Shoppable media is particularly good at giving you insight into the customer’s journey. Providing a direct path to purchase from your marketing content itself lets you analyze what content is working to drive sales. You can also see what products have the biggest immediate appeal.

That lets you test and refine the next iteration of your shoppable media campaign. If your content isn’t shoppable, there’s a whole gulf between seeing your products and finding your product page during which customers aren’t providing that useful data.

Our three favorite examples of shoppable media

The best shoppable media examples are those which engage audiences at precisely the right point. That might be while they’re making relaxed impulse purchases or browsing big-ticket luxuries. Here are three brands with the self-awareness and creativity to make their shoppable content shine.

Net-A-Porter

Luxury women’s fashion retailer, Net-A-Porter, have been masters of shoppable content for years. The Edit, their weekly digital magazine, is around 30 pages long and every product image is shoppable.

Meanwhile, they also have Porter, their bi-monthly print magazine. Using their app, you can scan any product in your physical issue of Porter and see the option to buy immediately. When it comes to bridging digital and physical media to give people seamless paths to purchase, Net-A-Porter’s approach should be studied carefully.

Intermarché

Shoppable ads aren’t only for luxury items. Intermarché, one of France’s biggest supermarkets, have applied the idea to some of the most everyday goods. This advert for tinned peas and carrots is direct and streamlined, with an attention-grabbing option to buy

This is a strong example because of its sheer simplicity. It puts nothing between the ad and the consumer, showing you can create shoppable ads for any product you like. You’re limited only by your knowledge of the consumer. If you know what they want to see, you can create content that they’ll happily act on.

BMW

On the other hand, the sky’s the limit if you’ve got a budget to spend. People aren’t likely to buy a BMW on a whim, but shoppable content can be great for informing prospects and breaking down objections.

An interactive video to promote the 4 Series coupé let people find out more about specific aspects of the vehicle. They were then directed to a landing page with further information once their curiosity had been sparked.

We love this example because it shows how shoppable media can form a cornerstone of product journeys even when people aren’t impulse buying. It’s just as good at building rapport and trust over longer periods of time.

Getting started with shoppable media for your business

Thinking about making your own digital marketing content shoppable? It’s a smart move, and here are three key areas of focus to help you make it as effective as humanly possible.

Focus on relevance and creativity

Making content shoppable is no good if it isn’t engaging. In fact, shoppable media has a harder time proving its effectiveness than the unshoppable kind because the goal is to elicit one specific response: to buy. Non-shoppable media can get by on relatively easy metrics like views, but conversions take work.

Pour effort, time, and resources into creating content that delights your audience. Front-load the process with research and feedback so you’ve got a strong idea of what will work. From there, leave room to refine and tweak your ideas as you build your body of data.

Let the tools do the hard work

If you want to build your own shoppable media solution from scratch, more power to you. However, it’s likely to be an expensive option (both to build and maintain) with numerous limitations. Our Where to Buy solution can easily plug into your site, making content shoppable and capturing vital data to give you key insights into your customer’s buying journey.

You need to be focusing your time on crafting winning content. By making use of proven tools like Where to Buy technology, you can spend more time building the experience your audience wants.

Be ruthless with friction

The name of the game is cutting down steps between seeing and purchasing a product. Once your shoppable content has done its job though… is your site holding up its end of the bargain? Take a fresh look at where your content is directing people. Are your product pages and checkout process as streamlined as they can possibly be?

Time spent optimizing the entire user journey supports your content by cutting down abandonment rates and inviting repeat purchases.

Final thoughts and the future of shoppable content

As fields like augmented reality and virtual reality take huge strides forward, marketers are eyeing the future with excitement. Soon, we can expect to see more immersive experiences driving a growing number of eCommerce adopters to shop straight from the content they consume.

However, one thing isn’t changing and that’s the understanding of the customer you need in order to make effective shoppable content. The future belongs to those with great products who provide experiences that delight audiences. The time to make creativity a core value of your business is now.

ways brands can maximize eCommerce conversions