8 Ways to Ensure E-commerce Earns Dollars Without Burning Your Brand
"It's about taking risks; you cannot be afraid to fail. The beauty of Dwell, as a company that produces a magazine in the midst of the behemoths like Hearst, Condé and Time Inc., is that we're nimble. It does not take more than a year of navigating corporate structure to do something as simple as try out a new technology or partnership. We can do it at the drop of a hat, and we can tell reasonably quickly if it's worth it, if it works. If it does, we keep going and fine tune; or, we stop. And it's that kind of innovation cycle that allows us to be on 10 platforms right now."
7. Invest In Talent
Great publishing only flows from talented people. And staffing for e-commerce business is no different.
This year, Dwell Media hired a former Yahoo executive, Brandon Huff, to steer its digital and e-commerce operations. "He brought something new to this company that we lacked-digital technology and business development experience -- which you must have," says O'Connor Abrams. "You must have that resident in your company. You cannot farm that out."
Hearst Magazine's Anne Welch agrees that e-commerce requires a particular expertise: "We had e-commerce help. We're not e-commerce people by trade. We listened to them, and were able to make changes -- small changes, like putting a call-to-action in a place where it's best seen. It wasn't about changing our brand, but just putting things in the right place. It's amazing to see how those little tweaks continue to increase open rates."
8. Protect The Brand
In speaking with magazine publishers, one quickly finds consensus, a common theme: Our brands are precious. We must do them no harm.
"I haven't seen any publishers go about this in any way other than 'How can we enhance this experience for our readers?' They're not selling random items. They're tie-ins. So it closes the loop, in that the content inspires the person and then enables them to buy," says MPA's Mary Berner. "Magazine media has always been effective at motivating people to do things. E-commerce essentially closed the loop. It just completes the experience, if it's done well." PE
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