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Magazine Ecommerce: Digital Publishers Taking the Plunge

Publishers are making magazine ecommerce a part of their strategy; plus, video ad viewability and a traffic push from Time Out

Magazine ecommerce represents a major opportunity for digital publishers, provided you have the tech and infrastructure to pull it off – or can crank it up in the coming years.

Here’s why magazine ecommerce is well-suited for publishers, particularly niche publishers: You have a built-in audience advantage. You have content to shape into product. You have potential subscription bundling opportunities.

But it’s not a chip shot, either. Magazine ecommerce isn’t always a perfect fit, because selling stuff beyond articles and white papers and videos might not come naturally to content creators.

Digiday covers the recent trend of publishers bringing magazine ecommerce in-house despite any drawbacks. Let’s take a look at what they found out!

Digital Publishers Handling Magazine Ecommerce Themselves

Affiliate links are one thing, as Gawker and The Washington Post use; institutionalizing magazine ecommerce as part of your operations is another challenge altogether, as Digiday reports.

“Women’s lifestyle site PopSugar made the jump into commerce in 2012 with Must Have, a $40-a-month-subscription box that today accounts for 20 percent of its revenue. The twist: Rather than outsource the entirety of the operation to third-party vendors, PopSugar handles all of its merchandising, marketing and customer support in-house,” Ricardo Bilton writes.

“Condé Nast’s Allure took its Allure Beauty Box operations in-house six months ago, giving the publisher more control over what made it into the boxes and giving it a more direct relationship with readers. ‘We’re running all the procurement, marketing and manufacturing, but we also own the customer data,’ said Allure publisher and chief revenue officer Agnes Bogdan Chapski. Its subscription-box business has 30,000 subscribers, a 40 percent increase since last June. Food52 has also pushed closer to being a retailer in its own right.”

Time Inc. Digital Doing Magazine Ecommerce With Beauty Site

Hey, it’s Time Inc. digital doing something again! This time, it’s transatlantic, with the U.K.’s Powder focusing on magazine ecommerce and data, Digiday reports.

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“At launch, Powder is only available in the U.K. Sutcliffe is tight-lipped about how much revenue it’s hoping Powder will bring in to Time Inc., though through its testing period, it has amassed enough users for brands to be interested,” Lucinda Southern writes.

“It opens out revenue streams through sponsored products, native content and – starting next week – video, affiliate e-commerce and eventually events. It’s also entering the crowded beauty box market with its personalized offering via a third-party provider, Latest in Beauty, that is handling all the logistics.”

Publisher Video Preferences Include Autoplay … but What About Advertiser Preferences?

Autoplay is attractive to publishers for digital advertising purposes, but what about for digital advertisers’ viewability purposes? Digiday explores the conundrum.

“Looking at how many videos were played is no longer enough, because [with autoplay] a lot people are doing that,” Horizon Media Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Digital Charlotte Cochrane told Sahil Patel.

“We’re making sure that we’re having those conversations, where whoever we’re working with will give deeper metrics to show who has actually viewed the ad.”

Time Out Efforts Will Focus on Reaching 350 Million Uniques a Month

Time Out is taking all avenues in setting its traffic goals, Digiday reports.

“[New Board Director Christine] Petersen refers to Time Out as being ‘the city in the pocket’ of consumers, herself having been a fan of the listings site since it launched in New York. Time Out already has an e-commerce proposition. Site visitors have been able to purchase things like tickets, offers and hotel reservations for years, but Peterson thinks there is a lot of room for growth, though the company wouldn’t break out specific figures,” Jessica Davies writes.

“‘Ten years ago everyone was “going to go digital”; five years ago it was about expanding digital; now it’s pre-eminent digital,’ she said. ‘But you have to ask what your customer wants and then translate that into each channel.'”

What are your thoughts on magazine ecommerce? Let us know in the comments!

To read more about magazine ecommerce and other news, visit Digiday.

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