Editorial Recommendations have been around in some form or fashion for many years, dating back to paper publication days. Prior to the Internet, magazines and journals used to publish Editorial Recommendations showcasing lists of items picked and chosen by publishers. However, due to the nature of publishing in magazines and journals, these Editorial Recommendations were much different from those published on eCommerce sites today.
In the past, Editorial Recommendations were written based on hot topics and popular themes, but now they can be based on any number of subjects and will arise as potential customers search for items on eCommerce websites. Many different eCommerce websites are now including Editorial Recommendations within their search engine results pages as a way to entice potential customers to click through to different listings and learn more about various products on their websites. Among the many eCommerce websites now using Editorial Recommendations is Target.com, though their way of using these articles can be quite different from other popular online retailers. There is much to be learned from the way Target.com uses Editorial Recommendations, both positive and negative, and what their use of Editorial Recommendations has to teach us about how these articles function to get customers clicking on the various items in these eCommerce marketplaces.
Target.com Puts its Toes in the Water
Among the many important details to note about Target.com is the limited scope of its use of Editorial Recommendations. Rather than use these articles for virtually any type of product it has available for sale on its website, as other online eCommerce websites do, Target.com has restricted the use of Editorial Recommendations on its site to only being used for discussing media for kids. These Editorial Recommendations include children’s movies, television shows, and books, among other media types. The Editorial Recommendations within these categories of children’s media are further broken down into different categories based on the ages of the children the media is intended for. For example, parents searching for certain types of books for their children can search for Editorial Recommendations by seeking children’s books for kids from ages 8 through 10.
Additionally, the Editorial Recommendations on Target.com all come from a single publisher: Common Sense Media. This publisher has been working with Target since 2003 and has a strong voice and presence on the website, and because they work only with children’s media, they have notable brand authority when it comes to recommending books, movies, television shows, and other properties to parents. However, with all this being said, Target.com still has ample room for improvement when it comes to their Editorial Recommendations.
Room for Improvement
While Target.com does offer good Editorial Recommendations in a niche category, it fails to help its customers narrow down their choices as they search for items. It would be wise for Target.com to begin opening up their Editorial Recommendations to more categories and introducing more publishers onto the platform. This way, customers would have more options available to them as they searched for items on the site.
It is also important to note that children’s books are an incredible niche topic, not one that many customers want advice about. Providing information on more diverse topics and Editorial Recommendations in additional categories with more popular appeal could benefit the Target.com website.
Among the biggest issues is that customers who rely on articles such as Editorial Recommendations for information about products will likely head to other eCommerce websites if they cannot find what they are looking for on Target.com. This is why it would be wise for the retailer to begin opening up their program sooner rather than later with more publishers and Editorial Recommendations in additional categories.
Time to Commit
It is no secret that Target.com has seen the benefits of third-party recommendations in the eCommerce space. Simply by taking a look at Amazon and what it has been able to do with its Editorial Recommendations program is a clear indication of the power of these types of articles on eCommerce websites. Target.com is well known for its ability to compete with its larger competitors with the deals it can launch, even managing to roll out great deals that allow it to compete with some of Amazon’s biggest sales days of the year, such as Prime Day. It would not be surprising to see Target.com able to develop a way to use Editorial Recommendations to their advantage. However, the time to act is now if Target.com wants to make use of these articles on their website to catch up to their competitors in this arena.