When the pandemic hit, it felt as if the world shifted overnight. Certain settings, like offices or stadiums, became immediately off-limits, as did activities like attending a concert or even visiting a friend’s apartment. With those shifts also came changes in people’s needs and desires—particularly their clothes.
Shayna Kossove, the chief revenue officer of Who What Wear, a digital publication focused on fashion and shoppable content, saw that shift happen in real time. While in February, Who What Wear readers were looking for a slew of styles, from workwear to formal attire, the onset of the pandemic saw its readers’ focus zero in on other categories like loungewear and beauty products.
“Within the first 30 days of the pandemic, when everything stopped, we really had no idea what to expect,” Kossove told publishing editor Sara Jerde at Adweek’s Commerce Week virtual event on Wednesday. “[Our reader] is shopping more than ever. But of course, what she’s buying now has changed. And we’ve adapted our editorial and branded content strategy to meet our user where she’s interested in buying now.”
Watching those consumer behavior shifts, Who What Wear made changes of its own, particularly to what it covers editorially, and how to craft branded content with advertising partners.
“When an advertiser comes to us, and they’re ready to activate a branded content program, we look to this data and we can tell them, ‘In the last three weeks, this has really been a trend,'” she said.
Having a history as a digital-focused company has aided Who What Wear in surviving during the pandemic. And because it’s a shopping-focused site, it has a wider swath of channels through which it gathers consumer data such as affiliate links, which allow the company to determine what products its visitors are not only clicking on but purchasing. That data then allows them to make predictions about future trends—invaluable information for advertising partners.
“We have been working to create audience segments with our first-party data,” Kossove said. “We can create a segment not just around the type of content that she’s consuming, but also what she’s actually clicking on and buying, which takes it a step further. We’re able to predict what readers are going to actually convert for a specific fashion or beauty segment.”
Watch Kossove and Jerde’s conversation in full below.