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Content Meets Commerce

Linda Peters Tuesday, 17 September 2013.

Shoppable Magazines Have Arrived!

In February 2011, founder of Net-a-Porter Natalie Massenet told the Financial Times; ‘Media companies are going to become retailers and retailers are going to become media companies” Fast-forward two years and Massenet’s predictions prove true, as announcements of new partnerships between media and e-commerce companies and emerging shoppable magazines are proliferating.

131113imagePreviously a fashion editor at both W and Tatler, Massenet confessed to the FT that it was always her ultimate ambition to be editor in chief of a magazine, so it’s not surprising that Net-a-Porter formed a Media Division and has just launched EDIT, a weekly online magazine, that is shoppable. They will also be publishing The Collections Special, a print magazine, starting later this year.

There is now a frenzy of media companies turning their traditional print fashion magazines into ‘shoppable’ magazines and interesting partnerships are forming. Hearst Magazines UK has partnered with The Hut Group to create UK Edit. Red magazine, owned by Hearst, has been an early mover in this space with Red Direct. Even Bauer Media’s weekly title Grazia is offering shoppable features on their iPad application. Newspapers are following suit too, with The Evening Standard recently introducing selected fashion pages that allow you to hover your smartphone or iPad over the featured fashion item, with the product tags appearing on our screen. You can then simply tap a tag and purchase the item directly from your device.

Pure-play e-commerce business models are also developing the shoppable magazine. Aside from Net-a-Porter, Gilt Groupe launched Du Jour, a print and online magazine last year which is published quarterly and is online at dujour.com. DuJour tagets a super wealthy audience and it positions the advertisers who want to reach these affluent readers. Another example outside of fashion is The Longest Stay, a company that launched late last year using a shoppable magazine as their platform for selling designer home décor. Seeing furniture that you can buy in a gorgeous home setting allows the the consumer to visualise how the piece would look in their home and to create a similar look and style.

The question is does the shoppable magazine feature drive customer acquisition and sales? The belief is it does and is a major factor in conversion of shopping to purchase, particularly among the affluent consumer who tend to be impulse buyers.

Many online shoppers have been awaiting the advent of truly shoppable magazines. Some ecommerce sites have made small steps towards this by creating editorial features that allow ‘click and buy’. However, many online ‘shoppable magazines’ still resemble online catalogues where still have to venture to the back of the magazine to shop the products that were featured. A true ‘click and buy’ feature allows the consumer to click on a product within the magazine content.

The next trend in online shopping is also translating to video commerce or shoppable video. Brands already implementing this include Gucci, Burberry, Barney’s ASOS and Target, providing links and a right hand toolbar on where to buly all of the items featured in the video.

However, staring ahead of digital innovation does not come without a price, with the FT reporting that Burberry are now spending 60% of their marketing budget on digital. It is also interesting to observe that during a time when online media and commerce are forging new opportunities, traditional media goliath Time Warner is spinning off is publishing division by the end of the year. There is
a sea change occurring and media companies are waking up to the inevitable, which is something I witnessed in the mid-90s when I consulted for record companies who were continuing to print CDs (very profitably) and wouldn’t accept our advice to start moving into the digital age. Then of course they were shocked into action when Apple’s iTunes innovated from outside of the market as soon as the late 90s, changing how consumers shopped for music forever.

This is a wakeup call for media and e-commerce companies. Their offerings are centred around the consumer, with their buying habits now largely being dictated by digital. These companies need to be fast to keep up with the movement we are witnessing.

Why are shoppable magazines relevant to the consumer?

  • Consumers want to be able to see something they like while reading their favourite magazines online and ordering product immediately – ‘Click and Buy’
  • Product within the context of high quality magazine content creates more interest and relevance for the consumer and their lifestyle
  • Experienced editors are trusted for their recommendations and styling, whether it’s fashion, home décor, beauty products to ‘get the look’
  • Convenience

There are also benefits to the media companies, as Hearst has highlighted:

  • attracting affluent online consumers
  • collecting data and analysis of consumer behaviour across media and shopping

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Linda Peters

Linda Peters

Senior Advisor, Ariadne Capital - Luxury Retail, Fashion

Linda has a diverse background with experience in entrepreneurial ventures, corporate venturing with major global companies, and business model innovation that spans over 25 years, including over 12 years in the Luxury & Lifestyle industry sector. Her unique background combines luxury e-commerce expertise, along with experience in more traditional retail platforms for developing brands and luxury businesses. Linda has held leadership and operating roles in the industry as CEO, MD, and VP Global Strategy, Business Development and Strategic Marketing. Her experience includes: overall leadership and management of early and growth stage businesses with full P&L responsibility, strategy development, strategic marketing and operations management.

She has particular experience in developing and growing luxury fashion & beauty and lifestyle businesses. At Sephora.com (owned by LVMH), one of the top leaders in online luxury beauty retailing, she was responsible for global strategy, business development, and strategic marketing where she built strategic partnerships and led marketing initiatives that resulted in significant growth of the customer base and revenue. Recently, she was Interim MD for Cocosa.com, a UK flash-sales fashion business owned by Bauer Media, where under her leadership Cocosa achieved high growth and a platform for sustainable growth. She developed and was executing on a new lifestyle strategy including Travel and Beauty and International expansion. She was instrumental in the successful sale of Cocosa to Al Fayed Family Trusts completed in July 2011.

Upon moving to London from San Francisco in 2002, in collaboration with the University of Arts London, she co-founded the Centre for Fashion Enterprise, a successful and innovative venture programme for British Fashion start-up businesses. In 2006, she joined a UK/US based private equity advisory firm where she was the industry CEO for the Luxury Fashion & Beauty sector.

Prior to working in the luxury industry, she held senior/partner-level positions in prestigious US consulting firms including CSC Index based in Cambridge MA, and Strategos (under Gary Hamel's leadership) based in Silicon Valley, California. She consulted to corporations on strategy innovation, corporate venturing, and design of new operating models.

She has board-level experience as a Non-executive Director and Company Secretary. Educated in the US, Linda holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Computing Science with honours from the University of Evansville. Linda is a dual British and American citizen and resides in London.

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