Content Hubs with Online Shops?

Look App "Tap to Buy"
How many online fashion retailers are there? This is an honest question, one that I don’t have the answer to. I’m curious to know the exact amount because I could count on one hand the fashion sites I purchase from. I constantly window shop online which at times results in an in-store purchase on a similar product that I found online but one that has a much lower price tag and other times I may purchase the product online, my consumer behaviour, like most is completely unpredictable and often unintentional.

Look In-App "Tap to Buy"
The root of that initial Google search is more important to this post and one question marketers are constantly trying to find out for their brands, why do I search for a product and what is the path to buying that product? Sometimes I look for a product I found in a magazine or online and this has led to the growing count of publishers opening their own shops. Look magazine has a feature in app that allows magazine subscribers to purchase any product by simply clicking on the product and the reader is redirected to the retailer’s site. I thought this was a great feature as it creates a very easy path to conversion. There is also a “Fashion Shop” on the Look website that offers plenty of products but again you are redirected to the retailer’s website. This is, however, very different from what some content hubs are doing: creating their own online store. That means instead of redirecting, they are the ones taking the payment and shipping the product.

Why would they do this?  Everyone is aware the majority of funding for any magazines comes from advertising, a very small percentage is usually derived from subscriptions. So these online shops are potentially another stream of revenue for the publishers. However, I think there is something more to be said for content hubs that choose to sell the products they are meant to be discussing and vice-versa.

Grazia has now launched Graziashops.com and has already appointed a digital media agency to promote the launch, this means they will have to purchase media outside of their own network to promote the launch. I think this may be the first time this has happened. We’ve had online retailers like Net-a-Porter release a magazine but never the opposite.

Make no mistake, this is very different from content hubs like The Coveteur, known for unique site content, which now offers readers an area to shop on their site but still redirects once a visitor clicks on a product they are interested in purchasing. The purchase exchange ultimately is not of interest to The Coveteur (although I’m sure they do make commission on any redirects that result in a purchase), that transaction does not cloud the unique content on the site. The same cannot be said for Grazia Shop. This is also very different from bloggers that create their own clothing and accessories.

Does it really matter if the fashion editors at Grazia put a pair of Gucci knee-high boots in a spread over a pair of Aldo’s because they have the product on their site? Not really, people purchase products for different reasons and will ultimately buy a pair of black knee-high boots where the price is right and they look good, regardless of if they were the pair in the magazine. I think as a society we’ve moved past the mindless “X celebrity wore those, so I’m going to wear them” phase, although celebrity endorsements are still very popular and have evolved to blogger endorsements.

The Coveteur Shop

Perhaps the online store is a chance for Grazia to position themselves in a unique spot in the marketplace. If they are top of mind as your go-to magazine, perhaps the store will be your go-to for online shopping. Why? If you trust the voice of Grazia you may trust that same voice to help you decide what to buy, making your decision to purchase that much more justified. Another plus, this could lead to amazing collaborations with designers, models, and actors/actresses who may not have the chance or means to design pieces, but they have a relationship with Grazia who will now have relationships with many fashion houses. People often speculate that magazine industry isn't as fruitful as it once was, so perhaps this is another way to keep the magazine brand relevant.

The “Fashion Stories” section of the website perfectly pairs the editorial world with the retail space, as it is where users can log in and create their own mood boards and search and shop other mood boards.

So the question remains, where will your next online purchase be? A classic fashion e-tailer or this new hybrid ‘one stop shop’ where you can find your inspiration and the perfect product?

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