8 Ways to Ensure E-commerce Earns Dollars Without Burning Your Brand
The team at Mental Floss and The Week have demonstrated a particular acumen for connecting and relating its publications, social media properties and product lines.
It all began with Mental Floss' online storefront, which came about rather organically. The editors are renowned for clever copy and headlines, and it was one of those headlines that inspired a t-shirt -- which included a graphic of Beethoven (the composer, not the movie dog) and the tag line, "The Original Deaf Jam."
They created the shirt, offered it up to their readers for comment and purchase, and it was so popular -- even today -- the publisher would have been ill-advised to stop there.
Next, readers began coming up with their own clever ideas, and soon the Mental Floss storefront was thriving with t-shirts, novelty gifts, publications and more, says Sara O'Connor, group director of consumer marketing for The Week and Mental Floss. Yet all of those products have a common theme: funny and smart. "We have staff dedicated to looking at every product that fits that description, and then we discuss those with the publishers and editors. Sometimes, they recommend products to us, which we appreciate because they're the ones that live and breathe the magazine; they know the readers better than anyone."
It also matters how the products are introduced. "We try to tell the story behind it," says O'Connor. "That gets people to talk about the products and recommend them. They're our greatest advocates."
Mental Floss' sister publication, The Week, is now e-commerce-enabled, too. Its site is selling things like books, gifts and novelties, and foodie finds.
5. Be Consistent
The fashion and beauty magazine category has proven particularly astute with e-commerce. Harper's BAZAAR recently redesigned its website, and part of that effort included better e-commerce integration with the companion site, ShopBAZAAR. "We are beyond thrilled with the new BAZAAR.com," says Anne Welch, Harper's BAZAAR associate publisher, Hearst Magazines.
Related story: 16 Tips For Attracting Digital Dollars