Marie Claire wants its fashion editors to drive e-commerce revenue

Marie Claire has launched Marie Claire Edit, an aggregator site where readers can shop from retail partners like Selfridges, Gucci, Prada, Net-a-Porter and Topshop, as well as follow the trends of the title’s fashion editors.

The site, developed by parent company TI Media to boost the publisher’s e-commerce revenue, also holds native ad and display spots that will run on the Marie Claire Edit site and Marie Claire’s main site. The plan is to introduce more advanced ad targeting once Edit has collected more audience data, according to the publisher.

Shoppers can browse featured content like “The shoes we can’t wait to buy” and “The checked blazer upgrades you’ll need this season.” Six of Marie Claire’s fashion editors will write daily features exclusively for the site, from which users can click through to other articles featuring products ranging from high street to designer, like a Mango checked blazer for under £90 ($116) or a Brunello Cucinelli jacket for under £3,500 ($4,507). These items are linked to retailers’ sites and Marie Claire takes an affiliate cut of the sale, though the publisher wouldn’t reveal the split.

“It’s a 360-degree approach,” said Marie Claire’s head of fashion affiliates, Emily Ferguson. “We’re working with affiliate, advertising and editorial so we can keep the brand identity in-keeping with our strength of engaging audiences. We’ve developed new touchpoints for purchase and ad formats to sell into.”

Edit has to balance maintaining the editorial tone of Marie Claire while justifying being a separate site in its own right. Ferguson joined Marie Claire in July 2017 to improve and rebrand Love Fashion Sales, Marie Claire’s now-defunct site dedicated to fashion launches. By showcasing the magazine’s editors, Edit can drive more e-commerce revenue for the publisher but without the risk of overloading its main site with affiliate links.

On the flip side, making the content so engaging that the users forget to click and buy, could be an issue, said Sam Brady, strategist at Omnicom agency Mobile Five. “With any platform, and with e-commerce especially, you only have a couple of seconds to deliver your message. If it’s not apparent how it is providing value immediately, that could be an issue.”

Marie Claire editors will also select a number of items to endorse with a Marie Claire Edit badge, licensing the Marie Claire brand on the retailer’s store or site. Other publishers like Hearst and Condé Nast in the U.S. have licensing revenue lines in the millions. The publisher was unwilling to share how much Edit is forecast to contribute to the title’s revenue.

Search is a big traffic driver for Marie Claire and accounts for 86 percent of the magazine’s referral traffic, according to Similar Web, Edit has built up its SEO ranking by creating more evergreen content than Marie Claire. The number of outbound links to other retailers means Edit already helps boost the site’s SEO, but this will take more time to build up, according to Tom Stapleton, marketing executive at Mobile Five.

Meanwhile Marie Claire wants to use Pinterest to drive more page views and, since the launch of Edit, drive sales. The publisher is planning a campaign with Pinterest and Farfetch in the next few months.

“Pinterest is a great shopping platform, it’s a great touch point to click straight through to the product, there’s so much potential,” said Ferguson.

Marie Claire’s Pinterest channel has 5.5 million monthly unique views and 660,000 followers. Marie Claire’s Black Friday Pinterest boards, created last week, have had a few thousand page views, said Ferguson. According to SimilarWeb figures, Pinterest is the third largest traffic referral source of the social platforms accounting for an average 15 percent of publisher referral traffic.

Building a new site to pull in API feeds from thousands of retailers while displaying high-quality images makes sense, although on mobile pages the Edit page load lags. According to Google’s Page Speed Insights, Edit scores 38 percent for mobile page loading speed, but 99 percent on desktop.

Since the beginning of the year, over 25 people have worked on Edit, but Marie Claire has other irons in the fire. Marie Claire still has a healthy affiliate business on its main site and in 2016 the TI Media brand launched its own beauty store, Fabled by Marie Claire. The publisher wouldn’t break out what percentage of its overall business comes from e-commerce.

Image: Marie Claire UK via Facebook.

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