One of the biggest retail trends for 2016 will be the continued push for retailers to invest in content, essentially becoming publishers with bona fide content strategists and editorial directors in their ranks.

L2’s most recent Fashion Digital IQ Index demonstrates just how heavily fashion brands in particular are investing in content. To support these efforts, retailers are staffing up to produce everything from YouTube video series (see Kate Spade’s Missadventure series) to editorial content and shoppable lookbooks and videos. But there is still room for improvement in converting these branded content investments into shopping pathways and ultimately, a purchase.

I predict that we will see retail brands in 2016 adopt more fluid ecommerce experiences with a collage approach of shoppable images, video, blog and other content. Best-in-class examples of this can be found on sites ranging from GoPro to Belstaff and LUSH.

As a result of these changes, the historical distinction between content and commerce destinations on a site will die.

For example, Dogeared’s user-generated content integration on Demandware has created a new path to purchase with shoppable images in their community gallery. It’s delighted consumers who want to see “real” girls wearing the product. Dogeared sees 22% higher average order value and 24% higher conversion rate from shoppers who interact with this content in the year since it has launched. It’s also driven almost 10% of total sales in the same time frame.

Guided selling tools represent one of the most engaging content and commerce experiences a brand can offer. Demandware and L2 found that 72% of beauty brands, for example, invested in guided selling features last year.

2016 should see even further investments in other retail verticals. Read our Guided Selling Best Practice guide for actionable insights and examples of how to develop and implement these valuable tools.