In late 2011, there was a lot of talk about the convergence of content and commerce, heralding editorial context as huge driver for local plays. Since then, things have cooled off a bit, but, fresh off a $3.4 million series A round of financing, mobile deals play Scoutmob is doubling down on content/commerce in a big way.
The Atlanta-based company has launched an independent commerce site this morning called Shoppe that blends small editorial features with an Etsy-like local marketplace. The site, which remains web-only at launch, allows a curated set of local artisans to sell products and tell their stories via the startups existing set of Local Editors.
Scoutmob initially entered the content business in February when it added a hyperlocal content layer to its existing local deals app. Founder Michael Tavani told Street Fight in an email that Shoppe is part of the same process of pressing the divisions between editorial “church and state” that he sees as antiquated today: “Traditional media would have a hard time drawing that line and we’ve been built on that premise, but it’s the way a local media property in 2012 should be built.”
Over the past six months, we’ve seen more and more discussion in the deals space around operational techniques like targeting and analytics, largely due to the commodization of the deal itself into a sort of high-tech coupon. Content adds both differentiation to the user experience and value to a company like Scoutmob as a commerce and discovery brand.
“We don’t consider ourselves a traditional ecommerce player,” Tavani elaborated. “We’re a local brand that engages users by surfacing the best things going on locally and physical products are an extension of that.”
I’ve said this repeatedly: local is not a layer; it’s the stack. The recent suggestion that some daily deal companies should enter the wider e-commerce market overlooks largely untapped markets like local artisans and events, which LivingSocial has jumped into with a big announcement this morning.
As Tavani told me: “Local is more than the neighborhood coffee shop.”