Condé Nast is not giving up on its e-commerce dreams, especially at a time of plunging advertising revenues across the entire media industry.
After the failure of its short-lived effort to turn Style.com into a shopping site, the publishing giant is making another retail play, but this time on a smaller scale — and it’s starting with American Vogue.com.
There, Rickie De Sole has been tasked with setting up a shopping vertical on the site in her newly created position as executive fashion director. If successful, the plan is to bring it to some of Condé’s other publications, although she wouldn’t reveal which ones could be next. Some of them already have a shopping element, but not on a large scale.
De Sole also wouldn’t give too much away about what Vogue.com’s yet-to-be launched shopping vertical will actually look like. But she confirmed it will revolve heavily around curated, shoppable style advice content. In addition, there will be a newsletter, as well as pop-up opportunities for retailers. It’s also understood that Vogue won’t hold any stock. Style.com also didn’t have any inventory but engaged the customer up to the point of sale, with merchants fulfilling the orders.
“We’ll be working closely with our digital fashion news team to expand fashion content and create more shopping opportunities on the web site,” said De Sole, who set up Vogue’s first holiday gift e-commerce shop and its 125th anniversary shop in her former position as head of fashion initiatives. In addition, she launched Vogue’s membership program, Vogue 100.
“I think we’ve really listened. There’s a lot of demand for curation and editing,” De Sole continued, pointing to Vogue’s own data, which showed there has been a 57 percent increase in search traffic for its shopping content over the past year. “There’s so many brands that are bringing things out in real time and so it’s really an opportunity to be able to capitalize on that and be able to share those stories beyond just the pages of the magazine.”
It’s unclear how much input Vogue.com’s Stuart Emmrich will have in the venture. He only started his new job a few weeks ago, partially taking over the responsibilities of Sally Singer, who stepped down as creative digital director to pursue other opportunities.
As for Style.com, Condé’s first major experiment in fashion e-commerce, that was shuttered after only nine months after failing to take off and Farfetch, the brand and retail platform founded by José Neves in 2008, subsequently purchased the domain name and intellectual property of Style.com.
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