KING CONTENT: Style.com, the Condé Nast e-commerce site that’s set to launch next year, is taking shape with a series of hires — and a strategy focused on content as king.
Condé has brought in a series of media, fashion and tech specialists, including Olivier Breton, formerly in charge of online trading and customer acquisition at Galeries Lafayette, as chief marketing officer, global e-commerce.
Melissa Dick, formerly editor of ElleUK.com and previously the global editorial director at Asos.com, is editorial director of the new business, while Mo White has been hired as chief product officer.
White had previously worked at Net-a-porter Group, launching The Outnet and its in-house label Iris & Ink in 2011. She also worked at Farfetch and DeepMind, the artificial intelligence company now known as Google DeepMind.
Natalie Varma, head of product at the soon-to-launch site, was formerly head of e-commerce at Anya Hindmarch after having worked at Net-a-porter and at DeepMind.
Based in the U.K., where the site will launch next year, they report to Franck Zayan, president of global e-commerce, who joined Condé in January 2014.
Their message is the following: The last thing Condé wants is a “me-too” e-commerce site. Their proposition involves an intense focus on content, and on making it as easy as possible for readers to shop off the magazines’ online pages.
Using the latest technology, their aim is to bind together reading and shopping so tightly that the two come to feed each other, and hopefully generate a big revenue stream for the company.
Fully shoppable content is a new holy grail among e-commerce companies, many of which have traditionally kept content and shopping separate, mainly because the technology just wasn’t there to weave them together.
The new Condé site will launch initially in the U.K. with Vogue and GQ, roll out in the U.S. shortly thereafter, and eventually encompass all Condé titles internationally.
Readers will be able to purchase through two channels: the magazines they’re reading and the Style.com site. As reported, Style.com won’t hold any stock, and the brands — which will eventually range from fashion to food and wine to travel — will take care of fulfillment.
Zayan told WWD he sees Style.com as a “connector” between the magazines and the products, and an added layer of service to readers. Part of Condé’s plan is to embed commercial links earlier in the online reader’s journey, and also give them the option to switch off the e-commerce bit altogether.
It has yet to be determined whether the actual print titles will become shoppable via scanning apps or other technology.
By physically putting the products in front of readers — and allowing them to shop without ever leaving the Web site — Zayan believes Condé’s titles, can be about transaction, in addition to inspiration and aspiration.
In a separate interview, White said content will be used to support “every sale and every customer journey” and that the team was working on putting together “more personalized” offers to readers.
This is another trend in the e-commerce space, with the newly relaunched British fashion site Atterley.com helping customers to style what’s already in their baskets.
Indeed, new product intelligence technology is enabling sites to sharpen their offers further. Condé is even hoping to gauge viewers’ appetite for editorial versus commercial content at any given time.
Dick said that going forward “whole experiences will be merchandised,” with a travel story potentially accompanied by offers to book tickets to the 10 best beaches, or buy the 10 best kaftans or beach bags.
Breton believes content — and lots of it — is without question a stimulant. “Customers want a lot of content. It drives their purchasing,” he said.