Why are magazines turning to e-commerce?


luckyHave you noticed that many magazines are now equipped with features which enable you to shop online? Akin to online shops, most magazines allow you to browse through product reviews and photos and then add them to a shopping cart. As more and more magazines make the move to turn their readers into shoppers, it’s actually rare to find magazines that strictly offer editorial content.

So why the blurring of lines between content and commerce? You’ve probably guessed it – it’s all about the money. Due to the dwindling popularity of traditional print magazines, most magazines are going online. But this also means that it’s harder to get revenue from the purchase of hard-copies, while still maintaining their competitiveness by attracting a steady stream of readers to their sites. Similarly, most online retailers are often trying to think of new and innovative ways to generate more sales. So as part of a tandem effort to provide a more informed shopping experience for consumers, online magazines can boost their readership numbers while online retailers can experience a corresponding increment in sales. It’s a win-win situation, right?

Condé Nast – one of the biggest media companies and producer of iconic titles such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Allure and Glamour – has already made this prolific move. Hopping onto the bandwagon is Lucky, which launched its Lucky Shops platform earlier this year in collaboration with online retailer BeachMint Inc. On the flipside, ASOS launched ASOS Magazine in 2007 while Net-A-Porter launched its print fashion magazine in February this year.

In terms of how revenue is split between the magazines and retailers, it’s still fairly inconclusive as many collaborations have their own terms of agreement. According to Allure, it doesn’t share its revenue with retailers that stock their listed products. However, they charge retailers and brands to create shoppable advertisements which are separate from purely editorial pieces. Of course, it’s safe to say that some magazines and retailers probably split the revenue from the sale of a certain product according to a specified rate.

But if you think about it, the eventual aim of all magazines (whether print or online) is to get readers to buy a certain product, isn’t it? Most magazines are either paid to feature certain products or have some sort of undisclosed agreement with partnership brands. So if we look at it this way, an e-commerce platform on a magazine is simply an online marketplace which consolidates these ads, but with an added plus point for making it easier for readers to purchase featured products.

We don’t know about you but here at Be, we’re all for online shopping because of its convenience. And yes, we’ll gladly acknowledge that we’ve succumbed to the temptations offered by the vicious cycle of consumerism… But hey, if shopping makes you happy and you can budget accordingly for it, who’s to say it isn’t good for you?

Vanessa Ang

Photo Credit: Lucky