How Online Magazines Are Converting Readers Into Shoppers

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As magazines struggle to stay competitive in our increasingly tech-focused society, they’ve been turning to the internet to help them remain relevant. Sometimes this isn’t enough, however, which is why a new trend is sweeping the online magazine world: integrated shopping. Magazines have always pushed products, but now they’re actually incorporating the ability to buy these products into the online reading experience.

Natural Progression 

While the rise of the internet has led to the beginning of a slow yet unrelenting procession toward death for most print media, it has opened the doors for a new form of shopping: e-commerce. Any business transaction that happens on the internet is e-commerce, but the term generally refers to online shopping. So although the World Wide Web is snuffing out other forms media, its facilitation of commerce could be the salvation of older media companies struggling to hold on.

That e-commerce and online magazines are becoming more entwined actually makes a whole lot of sense. Print magazines have always been a combination of content and advertising, and often the line between the two is so blurred that you can’t tell the difference. Product recommendations are a hallmark of nearly every type of magazine—now the Internet allows readers to instantaneously buy the very goods they’re reading about.

Convenience Is King 

One of the biggest draws of online shopping is its convenience; with the click of a button, you can have pretty much anything delivered to your doorstep. The integration of shopping into online magazine sites is an extension of the ease and expediency of online shopping. Your favorite, most trusted magazines will not only give you product recommendations—they’ll make it incredibly simple to buy them too. Consumers love convenience, which means that the rise of e-commerce on magazine sites has the potential to be a win-win for readers and publishers alike.

Different Approaches 

Different magazines use varying approaches to e-commerce. Some sites, such as, simply allows users to shop the products mentioned in Lucky magazine’s online articles—you still have to leave the site and finish your transaction on the actual vendors’ websites; Seventeen magazine set up a similar e-commerce platform on their site, but put a charitable spin on it; by purchasing certain products through a third party site called Mulu, readers can support a charity called Stomp Out Bullying. Seventeen also gets part of the cut, as does Mulu.

The downside to this style of magazine e-commerce is the inconvenience of being forced to visit a different site in order to actually check out. Online magazines hope to integrate shopping cart software into their websites in the near future, meaning readers would be able to carry out the entire transaction on the magazine’s home site, without having to visit the retailer’s site. It’s exciting to think about the ways technology is moving forward, and what kind of enterprise ecommerce platform will emerge from merging channels of information.

Thanks to the benefits reaped by both consumers and publishers, the union of e-commerce and online media looks like it’s here to stay. Other types of sites will undoubtedly start testing out e-commerce integration as well, so we’d better prepare ourselves for a future of complete e-commerce saturation.

Madeline Marshall writes from her college town of Santa Cruz, CA. She especially enjoys topics on news information technology, health and politics.

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