What Is Content Commerce?

Content or commerce?

For publishers and brands, the answer is both. Consumers are being bombarded with ads, influencers, and dodgy search results. As a result, there is a greater need for sources of truth for product information before hitting the checkout.

To make matters worse, consumers are frustrated when it takes a month for an order to show up because the product is coming from a facility on another continent.

Consumers are seeking to become educated about things they should purchase. Education delivered through content is one of the keys to driving more revenue through commerce.  

The symbiotic relationship between content and commerce has created a new business model for publishers and and a new distribution channel for brands.

We define Content Commerce as the strategic integration of relevant brands and media to deliver differentiated shopping experiences for consumers.

Content Commerce is just one application of the Operating System for B2B Trade that we talk a lot about at Convictional, and we think it’ll become even more relevant as publishers become platform businesses.

Publishers often think that their Content Commerce strategy is complete by using affiliate links. However, there are several problems with affiliate links. The conversion rates are poor (relative to ecommerce industry standards). The brands that opt to be in generic affiliate networks are typically undifferentiated — what’s stopping a brand that opts in to one affiliate network to be part of another? Curation goes out the window when you pursue affiliate links. Lastly, you don’t retain the consumer.

For brands (synonymous with the term vendors), Content Commerce represents a new form of product distribution. Content Commerce is a sales channel that they can leverage to generate revenue without having to rely exclusively on-site traffic or paid acquisition. It’s the same incentives as using affiliate links, except brands are empowering the publisher to own the checkout experience in favor of higher conversion rates. By pursuing Content Commerce distribution strategy, brands can finally let publishers show their products in the best light possible.

What does the ideal relationship look like between brands and publishers under the Content Commerce model?

It starts with the publisher recognizing the need to diversify their ad-centric revenue model and invest in a native commerce experience. What this looks like in practice is a multivendor marketplace. On the front-end, this looks familiar to consumers. It’s a catalogue of highly curated products with rich product information. On the back-end, it’s an interconnected network of integrations that is syncing data between the storefront and hundreds or thousands of vendors.

Once a publisher decides to invest in launching a multi-vendor marketplace, they should then consider factors like a Rules of Business document that sets expectations between the vendors and the publisher. That should spell out how you will handle returns, customer support, refunds, and billing.

From there, the publisher will need to determine the most efficient way to continuously sync inventory, product, and order information with all of their vendors in the most automated method possible. It’s insufficient to automate the operations on the publisher’s side; at this stage, you will want to also automate the operations for the vendors, too.

Automating all operations on both sides of the relationship reduces the risk of human error, saves time, and ultimately makes it easier to do business.

Content Commerce is here to stay, and it’s just the beginning. Publishers should consider how they can capitalize on the opportunity ahead by curating a community of brand partners and offering a native commerce experience on their websites.

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