Sir: The news that M&S has ambitions to become ‘Net-a-Porter for the masses’ (‘Wade-Gery aiming to turn M&S into a ‘Net-a-Porter for the masses’, 6 July), reminds me of comments by Sainsbury’s Sarah Warby earlier this year that “if you are not feeling and acting like a publisher, you are missing a massive trick”.
Fashion brands have long been under pressure to deliver a shopping experience beyond the product to customers an opportunity now open to M&S if it combines editorial content with e-commerce effectively. If it strikes the right balance, this approach should enable the retailer to create and deliver powerful brand stories that drive traffic to the site, keep users engaged and entertained, and encourage final purchase.
With endless amounts of content now free and readily available, however, M&S faces the challenge of ensuring the content is strong enough to make it stand out from the crowd and most importantly, encourage customers to make that final purchase.
Net-A-Porter has set the bar high for others to compete with. As more brands start to adopt a similar approach over the next 12 months, the M&S content challenge is certainly one we’ll be watching with interest.
Sarah-Jane Stratford, managing partner, ais London