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How can businesses use shoppable content?

Shoppable content can be found within a number of digital experiences, including blogs, photos, videos, photo captions and social media. Here's what you need to know.

Shoppable content creates opportunities to engage customers through innovative channels. It is a type of snackable content, designed to contextualize the shopping experience.

With shoppable content -- a type of snackable content -- customers can complete purchases with just a few clicks while in the midst of a digital experience. Key to this experience is that customers do not need to switch away from what they are doing or navigate through a seller's e-commerce site.

For instance, a hiker might be watching videos while preparing for a backcountry trip and notices the narrator has a rain jacket that she wants to purchase. With shoppable content embedded in the video stream, the hiker pauses the video, taps on the narrator's jacket and immediately views a product promotional pop-up with all the necessary product information. She can select the jacket's size and color, add shipping details, complete the purchase, and return to watching videos of backcountry trail conditions -- all without ever leaving the video webpage.

Marketers can embed shoppable content into any digital experience. Other examples of shoppable content include:

  • blogs and photo captions with links to products;
  • digital magazines with highlighted markers to launch shopping experiences from photos and videos; and
  • social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

In fact, social media platforms make it easy for marketers to get started by providing forms and scripts to channel the publishing process.

To create shoppable content, e-commerce leaders and IT professionals within a company need certain tools and technology to embed product information within digital experiences. Developers must make a company's product information and the related metadata accessible to -- all callable by -- external processes. Depending on the current state of a business' digital ecosystem, getting started may require additional investments.

In particular, businesses need an information architecture where product information is systematically categorized and tagged, and a headless content management system (CMS) to distribute content to third-party sources.

For example, Contentful, a headless CMS, provides the marketing experience for discovering product content that closes sales. Currently, Contentful is working with Impossible Foods -- a high-growth food industry startup that is building market awareness -- to produce shoppable content about its Impossible Burger. Contentful organizes product information about plant-based substitutes for meat and dairy products together with relevant metadata tags. The CMS then makes these content components accessible to the digital experiences of partnering restaurants and supermarkets. Customers checking menus and recipes on their favorite foodie sites can get nutritional information about Impossible Burgers and even a shopping experience to buy them.

As a result, brands such as Impossible Foods can promote its message beyond its own e‑commerce site.

The convenience of shoppable content improves conversion rates, enabling brands to accelerate promotional efforts and giving them the agility to engage with new sales channels.

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