The product recommendation site started in 2016 under New York Magazine, now owned by Vox Media, this Wednesday and Thursday is running its first site-wide sale with multiple products. It’s called the “Two-Day (Actually Good) Sale” and products included were suggested by editors, so not simply what brands are hoping to offload amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Camilla Cho, senior vice president of e-commerce at Vox.
“Definitely there are retailers that want to move inventory due to COVID-19, but it wasn’t even a possibility with this because we went to these brands with specific hero products in mind,” Cho said. “We didn’t go in and say ‘Anything within your brand is fine.’”
Of course, the sale will be a much smaller affair than Amazon’s giant annual bonanza, including relatively few brands like Madewell, Glossier, Great Jones, Brooklinen and Baron Fig with products up to 40 percent off, but Cho is looking at this as the beginning of an effort to get The Strategist in front of new people.
“We think this is a great way to build awareness with people who may not be familiar…especially across the premerger brands at Vox,” Cho said. There will be a lot of cross-marketing of the sale on Vox sites like Polygon and The Verge.
But this is also part of accelerated plans at Vox on the whole to drive e-commerce as a bigger part of the business, given the disruption to digital advertising and events. Vox, like all other media publishers, has suffered a decline in ad revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has enacted cost-cutting measures like furloughs, many of which recently turned to layoffs.
“E-commerce, predominantly affiliate marketing, was sort of a focus of the company and now it’s come to the forefront,” Camilla said “We’re seeing more emphasis, more resources, more aggressive goals and looking at ways to expand on what we’ve been doing. We’ve definitely hit on the gas pedal.”
The new sale effort is part of this, but not the end-all. Cho said if this sale goes well, it could be expanded to sites like The Cut, New York’s fashion vertical, and Verge, a tech news site started under Vox. And there will be other new initiatives aimed at growing the buying audience as well.
“We know how to make The Strategist work, but now it’s how do we grow the brand,” Cho said, “and what can we do to keep users loyal?”