Newspapers are looking to move into the world of retail.
Enabling readers to buy directly from magazines or newspapers has been an elusive goal for years, and it’s becoming a more urgent one as print/online outlets see revenues slipping. This week The Wall Street Journal launched a shoppable holiday gift guide in the WSJ Select section of wsj.com (separate from editorial content). Customers pay for purchases within WSJ Select, then receive packages from the retailers selling the featured items and deal with them for returns. According to Ad Age, the publisher expects to continue the section beyond the holidays (e.g., Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day guides) and possibly make some editorial posts shoppable as well.
Magazines, meanwhile, have been finding ways to fuse content with commerce so that it’s a quick hop from reading about an item to buying it. Harper’s Bazaar recently launched an e-commerce platform, ShopBazaar, featuring editorial content and editor-selected items. The print magazine will display icons next to those items available on ShopBazaar, and beginning in 2013, readers will be able to use a smartphone to access the site from the page. Esquire’s December issue lets readers do just that thanks to the Netpage app, which enables an iPhone to interact with a printed page sans visible codes or watermarks; the screen displays a digital replica of the page. Readers who use Netpage to “clip” products from a collection of “Great American Things,” selected by Esquire and Made Collection, see a “buy” button that links to an online storefront. Magazines can also use augmented reality apps like Blippar and Aurasma. Earlier this year, for instance, U.K. retailer ASOS partnered with Aurasma on an app, Scan to Shop, that makes the brand’s magazine instantly shoppable.