Salon Media CEO Weighs in on New E-commerce Venture
Salon.com, the pioneering online magazine that debuted in 1995 and publishes news and political articles along with reviews and articles about music, books, films and food, opened its first e-commerce venture in December to expand its lifestyle brand.
The Salon Store's mission is "to offer a collection of products that reflect what always interests us at Salon—startling creativity, soul-pleasing utility, interesting ideas, unique perspectives and sometimes just the profound wackiness of our culture," according to a post on Salon.com written by Richard Gringas, Salon Media's CEO.
The Salon Store showcases products–it does not have warehouse or hold inventory.
"We're guides and commentators, not shopkeepers in the traditional sense," Grigas wrote. "We'll guide you to a great collection of products and to good merchants from whom you can purchase these products. Strictly speaking, you don't purchase from the Salon Store; you purchase through the Salon Store, from an affiliated merchant."
Salon pockets 10 to 30 percent of each transaction made on the site through its affiliate marketing program; the rest of the sales go to its manufacturers/vendors/artisans/retailers partners.
The Salon Store hopes to bring its visitors "different, interesting and somewhat rare products, many of them will necessarily be of limited availability," Gringas continued. "So, my apologies in advance if you find that the product you want is out of stock."
Among the quirky offerings, which range in price from $8 to $140: a dog weekender bag ($7), a jet lag alarm clock ($40), and a stainless steel oyster glove ($140). The store does not have any branded-Salon merchandise.
Publishing Executive Inbox spoke with Gringas to discuss the venture in more detail.
INBOX: Why did you decide to open the Salon Store?
RICHARD GRINGAS: Strategically, we felt it was sensible for us to develop additional sources of revenues beyond advertising. And we felt there was an opportunity for us to engage in e-commerce. Salon, as a content property, represents a set of values, and as such, it seemed to me that Salon had the potential as well to be a lifestyle brand. …