October 26, 2011, 5:06 PM

Macy’s and Target embrace editorial as a spark for e-commerce

They join a growing list of e-retailers looking to boost their appeal through content.

Lead Photo

A screenshot of the mBlog site.

Add two retail chains to the steadily growing list of companies hoping for gold through the latest e-commerce alchemy:  the mix of editorial and curated content with online product information.

Macy’s Inc. today launched a new digital feature called mBlog. Described by the chain as an “online destination offering the ultimate insider's guide to fashion, beauty, home and lifestyle news and trends,” the site is accessible via a small black button located at the upper right side of the retailer’s e-commerce site, next to the Facebook and Twitter icons.

Shoppers visiting mBlog will find information about fashion, home, accessories and beauty, with content provided by various experts, designers and editors. For instance, to beef up its online content for women’s fashion, Macy’s is working with fashion news site Fashionista.com. Celebrity chefs, writers for foodie site FoodRepublic.com and guest bloggers are among the other content providers, Macy’s says.

"Macys.com is already a leading resource for fresh fashion, home and beauty products from the world's top brands," says Martine Reardon, executive vice president of marketing for Macy's. "We are excited to enrich our customers' online experience, offering a destination for high-quality content that gives readers direct access to a unique and influential set of voices."

Shoppers can access product pages and related items and sections of the chain’s e-commerce stores via the mBlog site, http://community.macys.com. "Customers can purchase by clicking through the hyperlinks to product embedded within mBlog," says Jennifer Kasper, the Macy's vice president in charge of digital media and multicultural marketing. "The experience is seamless, because mBlog is connected right to Macys.com."

She says Macy's has occasionally relied on editors and editorial content to increase the appeal of the retailer's microsites, and has used bloggers for marketing campaigns for several years. "However, this is the first time we've attempted something of this magnitude."

Macy’s is No. 17 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

Another top retail chain, Target Corp., which is No. 22 in the Top 500 Guide, also sent an e-mail to shoppers today introducing “On the Dot,” which the retailer described as its “brand new online style monthly.”

After clicking a black arrow that invites shoppers to “read the issue,” a new window appears with a flapper-like women painted seemingly from watercolors. Further clicks introduce consumers to apparel picks from Nina Garcia, fashion editor at Marie Claire magazine. Clicking on those picks send shoppers to Target product pages. The catalog also includes tips on nail color trends and hairstyling, along with a short article from Garcia detailing the ins and outs of this season’s retro fashion trends.

Target had no further comment on the mailing today.

Target and Macy’s join Gilt Groupe Inc. (No. 49) and Wayfair.com (which used to be called CSN Stores and is No. 51) in trying boosting their products and appeal via editorial content and curated products.  “As magazine profits fall and content slims, some of the best copywriters have moved to work for brand managers and retailers,” says Paula Rosenblum, managing partner with research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research LLC.  “It is most definitely a brand builder, and if it’s interactive, it builds customer engagement.”

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