Joe Fresh’s blog bridges the gap between commerce and content

When Canadian apparel brand Joe Fresh redesigned its blog at the beginning of June, it wanted a more sophisticated platform than its basic Tumblr feed. Now, the blog is customized with integrated shoppability. A “shop the look” link sits beneath every photo in an article, taking customers from blog to product page with one click.

“If you see something you want to buy on a retail blog, it should be right there. If you can’t find it, you’ve wasted time. It’s a no-brainer,” said Rony Zeidan, founder of design agency Ro New York, which led the blog’s redesign. “People can identify these items in a split second, which is good because attention spans are very short.”

In the two months since the Joe Fresh blog integrated a shop-now function, the blog’s traffic and engagement has increased. A skirt worn by Jamie Chung in a blog Q&A with the actress posted last week sold out on the site by the weekend. Joe Fresh declined to comment for this article.

Beyond matching content with products, the blog serves a second valuable purpose: making the brand’s Instagram feed shoppable. The link to the Joe Fresh blog lives in its Instagram bio, where photos on the Instagram feed are found in larger content pieces (Joe Fresh has 59,000 followers on Instagram). Every photo in the article has the “shop the look” feature, which directs readers to item product pages. Other retailers — like Nordstrom, Asos, Target and Urban Outfitters — use third-party tools to make their Instagram feeds shoppable, like Like To Know It and Like2Buy.

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Not all retailers want commerce tied so closely to content — at least, not without the resources to back it up. Tristan Walker, founder of Walker & Co Brands, which owns shaving company Bevel, keeps commerce off of the Bevel content blog strategically. The blog, Bevel Code, shares stories about grooming and style for African American men. Bevel Code, despite having the brand’s name in its title, doesn’t push Bevel products.

“We think about them as very separate entities,” said Walker during the Digiday Brand Summit in January. “Since we’re venture backed, we can separate them and allocate resources to making them great. Once we do that, we can work on cross-promoting both.”

Zeidan said that making a blog shoppable might not work for all retailers — they have to be able to put enough resources behind making it cohesive and easy to use. But as Instagram and Pinterest begin to roll out buy buttons within the platform, a shop feature can make a retailer’s blog more valuable.

“I think [shoppability] is the future of blogs that will make them more relevant,” said Zeidan. “Since it’s easier to browse through Instagram, a blog that’s just imagery and copy is at some point going to fade away.”

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