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The link between retail and publishing has always been strong. A product promoted in print sells products that are available online or in store.

Thanks to online, the link is getting stronger, and now the lines are becoming blurred, as retailers become publishers and publishers begin to move into retail.

Having worked for years on fashion content online I regularly see the benefits that editorial content has for online fashion retailers. Visit most fashion websites and you’ll see they have a blog and/or video content; all to varying degrees of quality.

The fashion only retailers from the IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops list, ASOS, New Look, Topshop, River Island all have created editorial and/or video content to help promote their products.

And the most visited newspaper and magazine websites, including Now, Daily Mail and The Telegraph, all have fashion portals which aggregate products using ShopStyle or LynkU technology.

The strongest examples of blurring we have seen are; ASOS with its own print magazine, News International and Bauer Media entering the world of retail, with Brand Alley and Cocosa respectively, and Grazia which launched a collection of accessories through a range of fashion stores.

So what’s next? Could we see online retailers be rebranded to maximise the loyalty and trust from a print brand? Imagine if Net-A-Porter was called Vogue, or ASOS changed its name to Look. How would that feel over time?

Or maybe publishing groups will play to their strengths and offer editorial services to retailers, who could then focus their attention on the traditional aspects of retailing?

One thing’s for sure, customers will always want content and clothes, however it’s provided and whoever provides it. Online marketing has a ceiling in terms of potential; once the ceiling has been reached that retailer will need print publishing and offline media channels to grow.

Do you think publishers need to counter online retailers creating content?

Leon Bailey Green

Published 8 February, 2010 by Leon Bailey Green

Leon Bailey-Green is a fashion blogger, as well as being the founder of The Online Fashion Agency. You can also find him on Twitter.

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Hayley Chalmers

Online retailers create rich content to increase sales once the cutomer is on their site. If they do it well then it helps with searches and may bring more people to the site, but they can't get away from the fact that those customers are easy (or easier) prey, they are already there or looking for something specific. Surely to really increase the customer base they need coverage in general print media - this reaches people who were not looking for them.

There is also the point of specialisation. A tool or machine made to do many things, does none of them very well. If a co is great at selling fashion online, stick to it. Why create a one brand publication? I suspect that there is a point at which writing more and more on one's own site has diminishing returns.

I see it like outsourcing to a specialist - why incurr inhouse costs when for a fraction of the price a specialist can get huge coverage.

over 6 years ago

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Stephen Pratley

There is a mass of untapped potential within most fashion brands to talk about the trends they are setting and following, the looks they are trying to create, and some of the advice about what clothes suit who, as well as other issues like ethical sourcing.

These are all useful snippets of information which can be picked up in any store with well trained assistants and stylists, but rarely see the light of day on fashion websites. It shouldn't be left to the traditional fashion press to pick up on these ideas, brands should be driving the agenda themselves.

Consumers will still shop around though and as fashion is dominated (with the notable exception of ASOS) with single brand stores, so an 'independent' voice will still be sought out. Possibly only ASOS has the breadth of range to create a credible voice in this respect.

The move to create the brand's own content on their websites is no different from customer magazines of old, and with the capital costs of these venures at next to nothing, there is little to stop a brand with something to say, to start saying it online.

over 6 years ago

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SHALLY

thank you  for your share

over 6 years ago

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neeha

Surely to really increase the customer base they need coverage in general print media - this reaches people who were not looking for them.

It shouldn't be left to the traditional fashion press to pick up on these ideas, brands should be driving the agenda themselves.

over 6 years ago

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helenbrown

Realy good article, there are really many ways and strategies of making money online.There is also the point of specialisation. A tool or machine made to do many things, does none of them very well. If a co is great at selling fashion online, stick to it. Why create a one brand publication? I suspect that there is a point at which writing more and more on one's own site has diminishing returns.

<a href="http://fuzal.com"> Online bags </a>

over 6 years ago

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maryann

 A tool or machine made to do many things, does none of them very well. If a co is great at selling fashion online, stick to it. Why create a one brand publication? I suspect that there is a point at which writing more and more on one's own site has diminishing returns.

<a href="http://fuzal.com"> Online bags </a>

over 6 years ago

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