Ecommerce meets old-school print

By Amy, Eastpoint Software on 11 March 2015

On the blog we often talk about bricks and mortar stores complementing online sales. Many of our clients have high street shops as well as online stores.

Porter is a magazine created by the people behind the fashion site Net-a-porter, which sells high end clothes, shoes and accessories.

Net-a-porter have had an online mag for years – it’s not particularly long, usually a handful of articles, mostly showcasing the fashion brands that they stock. Images are clickable to shop the items.

A shoppable magazine

Last year, they took this idea and converted it into a much longer, printed magazine similar to Vogue and Tatler. The tie-in with the website is that each article featuring clothes can be scanned via a free app, allowing the reader to be linked to the product to buy it. The tablet version of the mag has a direct link.

What was considered interesting when the magazine was released, at a time when less people are reading print products, Net-a-porter would invest in a magazine.

There was also concern that it would be too much of a sales push - clearly the aim is for people to buy their clothes, which could make it more of a catalogue than a magazine.

A year since the launch, and sales are good with a circulation of 152,000 (Vogue has 191.000 for comparison). 

Do customers mind?

Sales would imply not - but that is a personal choice. Would you be happy to read a magazine with a clear sales strategy? As Net-a-porter stocks a huge variety of high-end designers, the magazine is not limited to one or only a couple of brands, which I think is essential to it not seeming like a catalogue (the magazine does feature non-competing products from other sources too).

When you consider that the designers at Net-a-porter are the ones being showcased in Vogue anyway, perhaps, from a consumer point of view, rather than feeling like a sale pitch, it's actually quite handy. You can see something you like, and then have an easy way to source and buy.

Personally I would probably want to shop around anyway, so for me I would be unlike to just click and buy, as I would want to compare to elsewhere. But we must also consider audience and availability - a lot of designers can't just be bought anywhere, so shopping around isn't an option. Also, if can afford to buy expensive clothes, perhaps spending time trying to snaffle out a couple of pounds saving elsewhere just isn't worth the hassle.

Investment in quality

This article in The Guardian praises the way Net-a-porter have approached the magazine, listing five keys areas that have been considered. It highlights how the technology (the apps) is used alongside the print to enhance the product.

It also points out how the magazine is, at its core, a quality product with A-list cover stars and professional content clearly targeted to its audience.

Other-way-round ecommerce

Net-a-Porter and the Porter magazine are opposite to what you might expect - online shopping first, traditional product second. This highlights the diversification available within both ecommerce and traditional shopping.