The Daily Mail wants to sell you bedroom furniture

E-commerce has been on the menu at British tabloid the Daily Mail for years, but today the publisher showed it’s got far greater ambitions for this particular revenue stream.

The publisher has relaunched its online shop as a slicker proposition, with 80,000 product lines, compared to the 3,000 it previously had, and has beefed up its team of retail and e-commerce experts.

“This is a big-step change for us in terms of our e-commerce capabilities,” said Daily Mail’s head of e-commerce, Adam Kemp. “We’re taking more ownership of the customer journey.”

The new marketplace, which has been in development for the last year, will stock products from 25 retail partners, such as Thompson & Morgan, Lakeland and Cleverboxes. The publisher will also boost its editorial content on the site — by bringing on retail experts and relying on freelancers — something it has not previously focused on for e-commerce. This will largely consist of text-and-image-led articles that help inform readers about what kind of purchases they should make. In time, Kemp wants to ramp up The Mail’s social media output to help drive more people to the site. The existing 1 million members of its free loyalty scheme will all get benefits like vouchers and special promotions.

“We don’t do [e-commerce editorial content] particularly well currently, and haven’t in the past. We have increased editorial on Mail Travel but not on anything else,” said Kemp. That is set to change, and the plan is to publish a mix of articles, penned by its commerce editors, a job role that has become more common with publishers pushing the commerce angle.

The new Mail Shop stocks 80,000 product lines.

“They are creating a branded e-commerce service solution, turning attractive isolated deals into an industrial operation,” said Douglas McCabe, CEO of media analyst Enders. “This is attractive from a revenue perspective, but it also extends the brand’s engagement and relevance for a wide audience. Innovation and diversification are crucial.”

Kemp declined to discuss how much the new site cost, though he said the infrastructure costs alone were “significant.” He also wouldn’t reveal how much revenue the publisher makes from its e-commerce business, which includes Mail Travel and Mail Finance, Mail Wine Shop and Mail Book Club sites. What is clear is that at a time of major cuts across the paper’s owner DMG Media, e-commerce seems to be flourishing. “We can scale and provide a much wider range of products now, and we can expand what we offer into new and exciting categories,” said Kemp. “This is a key strategic initiative and one that’s important for our business.”

There’s no advertising being sold on the site for now, but the publisher isn’t ruling out the potential to introduce it later on. The publisher has extended its e-commerce operations abroad before, with its Femail Fashion Finder site, but Kemp stressed that, for the time being, MailShop’s ambitions extend only to the U.K.


Image: Courtesy of Daily Mail.

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