I recently had the honor of moderating a session at the NRF Shop.org Conference in Las Vegas about how content can amplify commerce. Joining me onstage was Tushar Adya, President and COO of Dylan’s Candy Bar, Lexi Cross, Co-Founder of Shoes of NYC, and Geoff Schiller, Chief Revenue Officer of PopSugar. Together, we discussed how these great brands use content and storytelling to keep customers engaged and loyal, while providing them with a unique retail experience that only their brand can deliver. We had a powerful discussion about what works, what doesn’t, and how publishers and retailers alike use content as a value add. Here are a few keys takeaways:
Creative Partnerships Extend Your Brand
Content and imagery are at the heart of what a brand stands for, said Dylan’s Candy Bar’s Tushar Adya. When you think of Dylan’s images of pop art, bright colors, and bright design come to mind, which is represented across all of their branding and platforms. The challenge for Dylan’s is how to translate their well-known content and images into commerce and revenue. Adya spoke to four ways they do this:
- Capitalize on trends, but always be the first. This comes through in contests, giveaways, and partnerships that are amplified throughout social media channels.
- Really listen to your consumers and understand their desires. Dylan’s creates innovative product collaborations based on what their customers want. Examples include partnerships with Starbucks, Whole Foods, Mean Girls, and more.
- Focus on your strengths. Dylan’s tapped into their celebrity following to create a Sweet 16 program that had 22 celebrities create candy mosaics that were then auctioned off for charity, resulting in millions of media and social media impressions.
- Make friends with influencers. Dylan’s taps into their influencer network for every aspect of their business, often with multi-pronged partnerships. Relationships are built over time to become true partnerships.
Think Like a Consumer
Lexi Cross co-founded Shoes of NYC as a content house and discovery platform as a way to expand on her love of shoes. The brand has recently grown to other cities as they document shoes and the people that wear them. Shoes can be purchased direct through their Instagram store. Cross’s learnings, as it relates to content-driving commerce, include:
- Committing to creating content that you want to see and not letting it become stale.
- Put yourself in your customer ‘shoes’ (pun intended). Experiment with new tools and concepts whether it be YouTube, Instagram stories or TV or Snapchat.
- Tap into influencers and brand ambassadors to share content.
Making Emotional Connections
As a leading lifestyle brand for young women, PopSugar understands how to make emotional connections with their consumers and how inspiring, informative, and entertaining content drives these connections. CRO Geoff Schiller shared PopSugar’s insights on how their target customers shops and makes purchasing decisions:
- Seventy-four percent find digital content from retailers helpful in their purchasing decisions and 95 percent prefer in-store experiences beyond shopping. Schiller explained that retailers need to mix ‘presence with presents’ to capture this audience and deliver omni-channel offerings that focus on immediacy and emotionally-driven digital and in-store experiences.
- PopSugar’s own collaborations with Nordstrom & Playground, Kohl’s and Covergirl take components of online and in-store experiences to bring this to life.