Yesterday’s announcement that has poached editor Nicola Copping to fill the newly created role of editor-in-chief, highlights the growing focus on editorial content for retailers.

Yesterday’s announcement by premium womenswear etailer that it had poached editor Nicola Copping to fill the newly created role of editor-in-chief, highlights the growing importance and focus on editorial content as a tool to create a deeper engagement with customers and ultimately to boost sales.

The former Financial Times fashion and beauty editor joins the business from her most recent role at luxury London department store Harrods, where she oversaw the development and content strategy for and where she also worked with current chief executive David Worby. While the etailer has been known to effectively use online editorial content to boost engagement before, the fact that it has created this new role reflects a wider trend within the fashion retail industry.  

In March of this year we saw fellow premium etailer Net-a-Porter make a similar move when it poached Lucy Yeomans from fashion glossy Harper’s Bazaar, where she had been the editor for 12 years, to oversee its editorial content online.

While in June fashion retailer Reiss reported an 84% increase in like-for-like online sales from 2011 to 2012, which it put down in part to its editorial content. And in August the high street chain went one step further when it revamped its website with a greater focus on editorial and photos, in order to create a more sophisticated user experience.

For pure-play etailers that lack real face-time with their customers in bricks-and-mortar stores, including online content alongside photos and other more traditional functionality is a great way to create a community feeling among those who shop with them, and to provide context and a clear narrative for their brands, which could otherwise be lost in the online sphere.

There’s no doubt that online content is an area where fashion retailers - both pure-play online and multichannel – can establish a stronger identity. The key determinant of success here will be finding out what their customers want to read, and ensuring that they deliver on those expectations in order to create the most interest and generate further sales.