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?