8 must-haves to make the ultimate digital magazine store
What's the problem with current digital magazine stores, from the publisher, customer and tablet perspective?
Publishers are missing digital magazine sales, customers are in the terrible position of losing print magazines from retail outlets, and not being able to find the magazines digitally. The tablets are leaving revenue on the table. Rather than building customer loyalty (a la Amazon or Netflix) tablets are turning off customers with the less than optimal user interface.
We need to add discoverability, accessibility, and ease of purchase to the digital magazine buying experience so that tablets will make more money from magazine apps, publishers will sell more digital magazines, and consumers will enjoy a lush and powerfully emotionally satisfying experience as they discover the amazing world of digital magazines.
Current Situation on all tablets
Customers find information sparse, the format confusing, pricing all over the map, a “wild west” of functionality. Publishers find it hard to work with vendors, and are frustrated that vendors don’t give customer information back to them on “their” customers. Tablets are fighting a huge battle for who will win the hardware battle, and need content to make their tablets matter.
Why do people care?
Publishers see that the future is in digital magazines. Print will go away in most cases. Customers want to get what they want when they want it at a fair price Tablets need to differentiate themselves from the others, and diversify. While Apple sales of iPads have skyrocketed, sales of apps overall have been flat.
So what might the perfect digital magazine store look and feel like? See below for 8 wish list improvements. The principle behind all these suggestions: make magazines discoverable, abundant, and easy to buy.
1. It’s got a name I associate with buying magazines. Possible options for Apple: iBuy, iLust, iLove, iShop, iMag, iBuyMags
2. The mag app is easy to find on tablet, not hidden
3. Magazines are earchable by categories and by title, and by author, by topic, and by…you name it
4. Abundance: there is an inviting array of magazines on your screen, overlapping, a la The Daily (RIP)
5. Covers are HUGE a la Magazine Impulse. Fill the screen—that’s what makes people want to buy.
6. Look inside function a la Amazon/Zinio
7. Because you read…. Suggestions abound, a la Netflix (see earlier blog post on what we can learn from Netflix)
8. Buying process should be easy. To wit:
- No multiple clicks to buy
- Consistent “buy” icon
- Pop-ups instead of multiple windows
- Should be able to do it when you’re browsing
- The Apple newsstand is the store, not the storage
- Should be able to buy an article, a single issue, a gift subscription, a single subscription
Discoverable, abundant, and easy to buy. What are your must-haves for the digital newsstand?
M. Thea Selby is a Principal in Next Steps Marketing, a San Francisco boutique firm that solves audience-building challenges in creative, customized way using practical "call-to-action" marketing techniques where the return is clearly measurable by clicks, online sign-ups, responses to direct mail, orders from partners, or sales at newsstand.
She was the 2010 Women's Leadership Conference Chair, is a co-founder and board member of Exceptional Women in Publishing—a national organization dedicated to supporting women in and through the power of online and print media—and is the former CEO and Publisher of Light Green Media, a digital publishing company.