Brand journalism is fairly common phenomenon among brands and companies of different size and affluence. The compound of content production and commerce brings additional profit and helps to expand the audience. Recently, this strategy became the basis for Ssense – the Montreal-based e-commerce store. Ssense decided to form its in-house editorial team to fortify its focus on contextualized commerce.


What Is Ssense and What It Did?

Ssense is a fairly large e-commerce market player. It sells more than 200 luxury brands which include such labels as McQ Alexander Mcqueen, Stella McCartney, Comme des Garcons, Dsquared2 and Hood By Air. In order to maintain the image and reputation, Ssense have to deal with all the features of its business. Therefore, the company rebooted its editorial operation in January in conjunction with bringing on Joerg Koch, founder of 032c magazine, as its editor-in-chief. The rest of the team is made up of seven editors, distributed between Ssense’s offices in Montreal and Berlin. It is also planned to create four more in order to increase the amount of produced content as well as its site engagement. Currently, the store has about 27 million visits a month on its website, driven by organic search and social efforts on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Ssense. Luxury fashion & independent designers


Special Tactics

Ssense is not the first who implemented such strategy in the business plan. For example, Net-a-Porter has two editorial branches: The Edit, an online content blog, and Porter, a Net-a-Porter–powered quarterly print offering. But Koch insist that Ssense has special tactics in linking commerce and content. The fact that many correlate content with traditional advertising. But for Ssense it is different things: it does not run sponsored content or link out to products in its features. «There’s editorial freedom that goes with it, because it’s about engaging readership with meaningful content,» – said Koch, – «the commercial reasoning is that the longer people spend with content, the more they spend on clothing. But the content doesn’t necessarily correlate to product. We use fashion as an interface to see what’s happening in culture».


And What’s Inside?

Today Ssense publishes 5 its own pieces of content a week. The strategy includes creating and posting videos, insider interviews and cultural news. According to Koch, nearly 70% of producing content isn’t related to selling products. Most often it covered such topics as the global economy crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement, subculture and sustainability.

We offer you one of the examples of Ssense’s material. Some time ago it published an interview with Matthew Williams, the designer behind indie fashion brand Alyx. But the interview was also accompanied by a short film «I Am Velocity» by Nick Knight, created alongside Williams to showcase the brand’s spring collections. Interestingly, despite the fact that Ssense provides Alyx clothing, the material does not have a direct link to the brand. So yes, this is not advertising in a sense. Koch admit: «You could blow up the budget by doing advertising, but this is more interesting. The customer of this generation is immune to advertisements. If they see that a company produces meaningful content that’s smart, then the company benefits from that».

Ssense. Content Strategy

Ssense. Content Strategy

Ssense. Content Strategy ssense3


What About Money?

Ssense does not receive money from the posting of articles and news items. Brands are not paying for coverage of their new collections. But if, for example, the same Dior places its new collection at the store, the editorial team will publish the relevant post. The company said that money it spends on traditional advertising is funneled to the editorial efforts. What’s the benefit you ask? Even competitors like Net-a-Porter link the content they create to the products they carry through the Net-a-Porter mobile app. «Editorial is an important part of building up the company,» – said Koch. So far, Ssense has resources to explore different forms of editorial content, it will experiment further, increasing the number of posts. Fortunately, it is possible thanks to Ssense’s team of 70 in-house programmers and developers who spend time working with the editorial team.


Why Should It Work?

In general, the strategy, chosen by Ssense, is rational and based on the idea, that you can win retail competition if you earn loyalty of the consumer. It can be achieved if your company has a strong point of view and do not try to sell something to customers stuff every second. «This is a modern way of featuring content — no sponsored posts, no traditional advertising, no print,» – said Koch, – «when you compare it to the type of content being produced on Ssense to that of other media platforms, the level of quality is higher. For me, coming from media, it’s exciting to see the opportunity here».

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