Reports show that editorial content best achieves Internet customer retention. Making one’s site a resource for information related to your products draws buyers back to your site when they aren’t looking to buy, and provides a sales vehicle when they are buying.
Content can do everything from establish brand to build community to tap into the power of suggestive selling. Melissa Davis, director of e-commerce for R.R. Donnelley Direct (RRD), says that editorial is a good place to integrate multiple channels of retailing. RRD has created a whole division devoted to e-commerce, and in addition to providing expertise on moving from print catalogs to the Web, the company also provides editorial content for Web sites.
One of its most recent clients is Limited Too, an apparel retailer for girls 8- to 12-years-old. Limited Too launched its content-only site in 1999. While Limited Too is confined by the new Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) that went into effect May 1, it independently decided to use editorial to develop a no-pressure site for its “girl” to build brand awareness and increase customer retention.
“The initial plan was to create a Web site that wasn’t necessarily commerce driven, but a place to extend brand and relate with the girl,” says Mickey Racine, director of Internet and e-commerce for Limited Too. “We wanted to offer a place where she could play games and try on clothes without a commerce drive.”
The site, uses content to repeatedly draw its target audience to the site, which visually mirrors Limited Too’s retail stores and its catazine, a combination catalog and magazine it mails. There, the girl—Limited Too’s target audience—can read about the latest fashion trends, lifestyle issues and play games. The content attempts to develop Limited Too as an authority on fashion.
The e-commerce channel marries the catalog with the Internet platform. Limited Too found that there is a lot of cross-over between the Internet and the catalog in terms of product and editorial content affinity, customer base and behavior.