July 31, 2013
Amid the rise of social media and mobile shopping, retailers are moving beyond catalogs and advertising to become content publishers, Digiday reports. Attracting eyeballs and armed with consumer data, companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target, Sears and Best Buy now rank among the top-100 Web sites, according to Internet-analytics firm comScore. Retailers believe they can profit by boosting their brands’ messaging with how-to guides, fashion tips, entertainment news, images and other content.
“The Internet requires every brand, business and individual to become a publisher,” says Rachel Tipograph, the Gap’s director of social media. In a strategy it calls “lo-fi,” the company designs content specifically for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine. One Instagram image shows a man in a Gap shirt holding a drink in a plastic cup, with the line “Weekends were made for iced coffee and casual gingham.” Such content receives 70-percent higher engagement than traditional advertising across social channels, Tipograph says, adding that today’s consumers “are looking to shop within content.”
But since it’s difficult to prove that such content leads to sales, retailers like the Gap and Target are using it as a branding mechanism instead. Target’s public relations team runs its site “A Bullseye View” like a mini media outlet. Says Dustee Jenkins, the company’s vice president of PR, “We’re generating brand love by putting out content and giving people the ability to tell friends.” — Greg Beaubien