More than friends – publishers who sell
The online retail rush has spread to fashion magazines who now see the opportunity in online retail. The wave of new ventures and partnerships are frenetic with magazines like Vogue, GQ and Esquire who have all felt the online pinch becoming potential competitors to stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York.
“There are no boundaries anymore,” said Howard Socol, the former chief executive of Barneys to NY Times. Traditional brick-and-mortar stores that once looked at magazines as a way to sell to affluent customers could now look at these same magazines as a future threat.
Leading fashion magazine Vogue has partnered with Moda Operandi and provides an online version of a store’s trunk show, where customers can order runway items. Moda Operandi provides the show at the shop.
Using technology to create consumer desires and create demand is now a reality for retailers. The secret is creating the ‘want’ or ‘need’ in the first place. Fashion magazines have long been the cauldron where aspirational desires have brewed and now these same magazines find themselves in the enviable position to facilitate the entire sales cycle through an online outlet. From awareness to interest to desire to action, a magazine whether it is a printed or an online version can now control the entire process.
Refinery29 is a fashion news site and well on track to reach $8 million in revenues this year –a 400% increase on the previous year.
CEO Philippe von Borries was interviewed by TechCrunch and says, “Our formula is to engage users with content and convert them into shoppers.”
Refinery29 is New York’s most forward thinking online fashion publications and attracts close to one million unique visitors each month.
Refinery29 has created a unique, dynamic dialogue with consumers and their audience, shaping their content to their readers and being able to envisage trends. The digital publication understands the way that fashion is consumed is changing and designers no longer have control over their brands unless they participate in the online conversation.
Their ability to develop unique relationships allows Refinery29 to not only report on fashion but to allow designers to truly communicate and listen to their customers. In short, they have created a higher level of personalization and customization.
Refinery29 use Facebook in synergy with their online publication. A tab ‘Reserve’ on the Refinery29 Facebook page promotes editor picks from the wall allowing readers to become shoppers in an environment where they feel connected to the publications editorial team. Lucky magazine, a traditional glossy fashion magazine also uses editor picks to drive readers to become shoppers. In Lucky’s case they use third party E-Commerce ( www.thisnext.com ) facilities to facilitate purchase.
So what are the common trends across magazines such as Refinery29 and Lucky who successfully sell off the demand that their publications and pages have created?
1. Local content. Refinary29 have specifically created content that targets people living in NY, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
2. Feature real people. Using editors and staff for recommendations keeps it ‘real’ and readers can sense it a mile away. Not only could editors or staff of the publication be useful but readers, even the ‘behind the scenes ‘people from the brand itself would be an option.