Through a special arrangement, what follows is a summary of an article from Retail Paradox, RSR Research's weekly analysis on emerging issues facing retailers, presented here for discussion.
Retailers and brands looking to create a more content-driven approach to the market have been snatching up editorial staff and using them to beef up the stories they tell to consumers.
That's why the news that Condé Nast is merging Lucky Magazine with online fashion retailer BeachMint, creating the Lucky Group, seemed like the next leap forward. It's one thing to hire away a few writers; it's another thing entirely to merge together a magazine with a retail site.
Except, actually, that's not what's going to happen. It sounds like the two properties will continue to operate side by side but also independently. Lucky Magazine benefits from a real commerce platform that makes it easier for the site to enable commerce — they feature a lot of products that people want to buy, and it would be great to make that process frictionless. And BeachMint may benefit from Lucky's editorial fashion sense and content mastery. But BeachMint won't get any special attention from Lucky on its pages — it will be treated just like any other advertiser in how it gets featured.
BeachMint could definitely benefit from Lucky's content skills. I had not shopped the brand's sites before now, so I signed up over the weekend. StyleMint is one of the company's sites that promises you products tailored to your fashion sensibilities, so in order to get anywhere you have to run through a Cosmo-style quiz about where you would shop or which look bests defines you or which shoes you would wear on a date. When you finish that, you get dumped into a landing page that showcases products selected "just for you." Sure, you can access the whole selection if you want, but I've run into other sites like this and, somehow, they never hold my interest enough to bring me back.
StyleMint's selections for me were not that exciting — a bunch of t-shirts, really — and there was no transparency in how they decided that these items were for me. And we won't even rate the site at all on its integration of community into commerce, which exists but is also sorely lacking. What they need is a story — a story about them, a story about me, and a story about why they picked the products for me and who else out there in the world shares my fashion tastes. Unfortunately, I don't think they're going to benefit enough from this merger to get any of these stories. But Lucky, at least, will get its commerce.
Let the content and commerce collisions continue!
What's the likelihood that most consumer magazines will be integrated somehow into e-commerce over the next decade?