Content, commerce and community: how publishers get points in e-commerce

Content in e-commerce is the all-time favourite in last year’s topics. Little wonder, after all, Google requires high quality, detailed content and there are rumours that this excites customers as well. Brands and manufacturers go to great lengths to create and maintain corresponding content. Our customers, for instance, entrusted the delivery of regular videos and blog posts with garden tips and tricks for their fans to experts. At Polyvore, the majority of stems from the community: this is another way to implement content marketing. The fashion start-up shows how it can work in this presentation.

Screen: Polyvore

But actually there should be others who shine in the battle for the best content – the publishers. After all, they’re already sitting on an existing treasure trove of content, and know how to wrote, whilst traders have to learn this or pay for it.

Of course there has long been a connection between publisher and shop. The corresponding shop to the magazine “Mein schooner Garten” for instance, has existed for over five years. Never the less, you get the feeling that awareness for the possibilities is only just starting to grow. The take-over of Shoplove by Burda is the most up-to-date example. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also knows that content and commerce belong together. According to the rumours, he plans to connect the Washington Post, which he also took-over, with Amazon.

Suddenly trailblazers

In the form it has had up to now, e-commerce has hardly been interesting for publishers, apart from the most obvious form of marketing digital content. The extent to which this has misfired can hardly be only be hinted at by the keyword “freebee culture”. When publishers finally understand that they have the possibility to be part of creating and further developing e-commerce, things will suddenly look very different. What it might look like when commerce is thought up from content and the shop tells a story can be seen in the example of shop Tambini, operated bz Gruner + Jahr, which Peter Höschl recently introduced at the t3n.


With the high ground on content, you suddenly have a different starting position in relation to traders. While they still have to get a grip on this content problem, publishers “just” needs to master the entrance into e-commerce. Because of the lack of alternatives (Paywall? Native advertsing?), this isn’t such a bad idea anyway if you want to remain profitable.

It’s still held up by the implementation

As already noted, many online editions of magazines have their own online shop. However, they are often not consistently integrated into the content. For instance, in a Girlfriend fashion shop, the section “outfit of the week” still links to Otto, Zalando and Co.


The luxury trader Net-a-Porter approached things better: there you can purchase in the Porter Shop directly from the magazine. You can also hear critics asking if this is a shop or a magazine. In my opinion, this question no longer plays a role. Why should a shop and content happen in separate worlds? If shops are supposed to entertain and inspire as well and not just be product data bands, this is the best way to get there, apart from video perhaps.

This idea seems to finally have arrived in the publishing world. It remains to be seen to what extent they can use their head start. After all, as we have seen from the examples, ever more traders are starting to tell stories in their shops.

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