If you were to search for a “black dress” on Amazon.com right now, you would be faced with a daunting 472,962 results (at least, at the time of writing that was the figure… there will probably be even more results when you do it). Our access to information has never been better, which has certainly empowered the consumer, but at the same time has also effectively rendered them more indecisiveness than ever before, due to the sheer amount of information in front of them.
Information overload has created the need for editors, tastemakers and curators to turn the world of choice into bite sized pieces that make sense. Consumers now find themselves in a space where they need an ‘expert’, to filter the information, and then feed it back in categories that make the information meaningful for the consumer. These experts are people whose opinions are trusted, and even sought out – they are the curators of taste.
These curators effectively do the work for the consumer, by taking that sea of data available to everyone, and filtering it into bite-sized, and ‘approved’ pieces of information for the consumer to trust. A taste-maker’s stamp of approval helps to lead consumers out of their indecisiveness, and more often than not, towards the desired commerce.
Traditionally effective curation has originated with the editors and taste-makers of the world, and they still have their place in this digital information age. These curators still have weight when it comes to influencing the purchasing choices of consumers, but with the digital realm allowing more voices to be heard, the traditional taste-makers have to share their space with a myriad of new opinions.
Retailers are working hard to get their e-commerce stores online. Sorting products into curated experiences place your products directly into customer minds and lifestyles. Curated experiences can bring the emotional element back into to the e-commerce experience.
Traditionally e-commerce provides its best value in price comparisons, curating your shopping experience can differentiate your online shopping experience.
What’s important here is putting an opinion on the information. Consumers are not going to be impressed with a site that just lists all the items for sale without any context. It is up to modern curators to learn the ‘editing’ skills of the traditional taste-makers – it’s all about showing what’s available in a light that will allow consumers to see the items fitting into, and enriching their own life in some way.
A ‘Shoppable Magazine’
The evolution of e-commerce has merged publishing with product sales leading in the reincarnation of the printed magazine. Curated commerce is effectively a digital stylized collection of products resembling a magazine layout. The curator is subtly conveying the opinion they want the consumer to take on through the story used to group items.
What normally happens with a print magazine though, is a delayed gratification for the retailer (or none at all), as the person might become interested in the items due to the layout, but also may never get to the store to buy. Online and digital channels, allows every item in a collection to be clickable, leading the consumer quickly to the item to buy directly.
Interestingly, these ‘shoppable magazines’, are a full circle of curated commerce – not only do they create the demand, but in the next action, fulfill the desire. Effective curation creates a seamless experience from inspiring readers to want a product in their lives, to the simple purchase procedure.