Online publishers are increasingly viewing e-commerce as an opportunity to rethink the digital storefront experience. Through new technology and innovative marketing programs, e-commerce can offer a seamless way to shift consumer engagement between a publisher’s content, and that of brands, without compromising editorial integrity. These e-commerce strategies are creating new ways to generate revenue from a wide range of retailers in ways that feel organic to the user experience.
Condé Nast’s Lucky Magazine recently introduced its own branded shopping site, myLuckymag.com, that allows readers to buy clothing and accessories directly from more than a dozen featured retail partners, including Macy’s and Sephora. Instead of being driven to external shopping websites via links or paid ad units, a shopper never has to leave the myLucky environment. They can add items from multiple retail partners to one shopping cart while viewing articles and lists of merchandise organized by Lucky editors.
“There’s a huge opportunity for revenue and traffic growth”, said Brandon Holley, Lucky‘s editor-in-chief, in an interview with the New York Times. The magazine is already establishing revenue-sharing relationships with the retailers it is working with, and expects to earn roughly 3 to 15 percent on every sale.
Hearst’s Harper’s Bazaar introduced ShopBazaar, a website owned by the magazine that features merchandise from its print pages—part of the magazine’s broader effort to diversify revenue. It is a “true content-to-commerce venture”, an editorial site that allows readers to buy the products that Harper’s Bazaar editors have curated to fit their tastes and the brand’s identity.
Carol Smith, vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer at Harper’s Bazaar, says that they are launching a number of initiatives aimed at creating “a brand that you can read about and a brand you can shop”.
To expand the ShopBazaar experience, Bazaar Book—a monthly magazine-catalogue hybrid available as a mobile app and on the ShopBazaar site—will debut this month. Additionally, by next February readers will be able to shop for items featured in Bazaar Book’s print pages by scanning watermark icons with their smartphones. American Express is the first sponsor for both ShopBazaar and Bazaar Book.
Time Inc. has recently ventured into e-commerce through a different approach—video. People StyleWatch is partnering with Joyus, a video shopping platform, for a 16-part video test that allows consumers to watch videos on people.com, and add products they see into a virtual shopping cart. “All the items fit the People StyleWatch reader”, managing editor Janice Morris told WWD.com. “They fit a budget and are celebrity-minded”. People StyleWatch and Joyus will share revenues.
These innovative, editorial-minded approaches to e-commerce allow publishers to provide a convenient service to their loyal audience that enhances the overall user experience. One of the beauties of the digital age is instant-gratification: why simply mention quality products, when you can help your readers shop for them right from the page or website? It also presents yet another opportunity for publishers to deepen integrated partnerships with brands and retailers to drive shared revenue and success.