As we all know too well by now, the publishing industry has continued to be hard hit by the takeover of digital content, and the tendency of Millennial readers to turn to free online entertainment and news rather than paying for them. We’ve seen various publications come to an end, and others shift and evolve in order to appeal more to the next generation of readers. The New York Times has seen their revenue hold steady thanks to their paywall plan, and some predict that they could become a digital-only business in the next ten years. But the paywall won’t work for everyone, and we are beginning to see innovative publications that appeal to the Millennial audience expanding into e-commerce as part of their post-digital evolution. Even some online publications are working to tap into the e-commerce earnings game. Popular app Flipboard launched a “shopping” section in time for the 2013 holiday season, allowing brands to offer digital catalogues with instant “buy now” buttons, curated by Flipboard’s staff. With predictions that 60% of U.S. retail will involve the web in some form by 2017, they could be on the right track. Here we take a look at the ways that three creative print (and online) entities are making e-commerce a part of their futures.
1. Domino Magazine Returns
Like any great work of art with a cult following, Domino Magazine was deemed “ahead of its time.” Publishing giant Condé Nast cancelled the publication in 2009 after a four-year run, and the back issues immediately became coveted items, selling on ebay and being snatched up by heartbroken (often Millennial) readers. But now, the magazine has risen from the editorial cutting room floor and reemerged as an independently run publication. While the sleek design sense of Domino will largely remain the same, reinstating its original editor and consulting with its former creative director, it has morphed into a digitally relevant version of its former self. The relaunched style and décor mag is combining editorial and e-commerce to provide a visually stunning one-stop-shopping experience for design enthusiasts. The issues sold on newsstands will be entirely shoppable, and its online version lets users toggle between magazine, image grid, and shopping layouts to maximize the experience for whatever reading or shopping mood they are in. While the print version is sold on a quarterly basis and consists almost entirely of original content— unheard of in modern day publishing that is overtaken by advertisements— the web content is updated daily. Though Domino counts on the return of its loyal fans, the company is developing an app that will integrate its e-commerce and editorial to attract even more new, young readers.
2. The Dwell Store
Dwell Magazine has been in publication for the last 10 years and, along with its website, serves as a hotspot for modernist living. The upscale mag has a loyal following of designers, architects, and all-around sophisticated consumers who look to Dwell for its esteemed eye. Print publications have no doubt felt the tightening of strings during the recession, but as the economy recovers and the mania of flash sales dies down, Dwell is seizing this opportunity to introduce Dwell Store, a curated selection of modern, design-focused furniture, and home and office goods, offered for sale directly through their own site. Dwell Store is bypassing the affiliate route, much like Domino, to sell goods straight to their consumers with heavily curated selections from boutique retailers and artisan shops. Focusing on the road less traveled by small publications, Dwell hopes to separate itself from retailers like Fab and Amazon, who cater to virtually everyone, in favor of a more polished consumer with a similar design sense. The store has its sights set high in terms of earnings, but their focus on minimalist design and knack for visual presentation will attract mature Millennials, especially those looking to invest in luxury goods. While Dwell’s content and commerce will be decidedly separate, their first shoppable magazine will be available in 2014.
Digital publishers are not letting physical pubs walk away with the e-commerce game, and being more naturally adept at digital, could be even more likely to make forays into the e-shop space. Thrillist has been a leader in adding e-com to their editorial content, and went so far as to purchase e-store JackThreads in 2010. Now they’re pushing the e-commerce effort further with their newly launched “Shops” which acts as a curated catalogue of all things Thrillist-approved for readers to peruse and purchase. The Shops section of their site spans all three of the group’s content properties including Thrillist and The Crosby Press. The media group recently announced plans to launch another web publication, called Supercompressor, in order to help young guys shop for new lifestyle tech, gear, and gadgets. On Supercompressor, each item featured in a post includes a link to buy on the original product website, or through the site itself—expanding Thrillist’s e-commerce game even further.