When Time Inc. launched All You eight years ago, it took an unusual step in choosing Walmart as its sole retail outlet. For a new magazine to limit its distribution might seem counterintuitive, but Walmart offered scale (the retail giant represents 15 percent of magazines' single copy sales) and the ability to limit All You's marketing costs. And, the magazine was aimed at value-driven women—essentially, the Walmart shopper.
“To be sold at the retailer that’s known for great value was the most effective and efficient way to reach our desired consumer and would give us the best sell-though,” said Diane Oshin, who has been All You's publisher since launch. “It was the ultimate alignment.”
Now, at a time when even the affluent looking for bargains at Groupon, Gilt Groupe and the like, All You is planning to test sales outside the retail giant for the first time. The test is expected to take place on a regional basis, as early as June.
The decision to test the waters outside Walmart grew out of an online survey All You did with Insight Strategy Group that found that nine out of 10 women consider themselves "smart shoppers" and that 68 percent shop for deals because they want to, not because they have to.
“From 2004 to 2012, basically, the segment of consumers that consider themselves smart shoppers has essentially doubled," Oshin said. "It’s not only about the economy; the technology has accelerated the opportunity.”
“Walmart is still going to be the lion’s share of our retail distribution, but if the population of shoppers who are value-oriented have exploded, that suggests there’s a pent-up demand for a brand like All You," she added. "Those consumers are not shopping at one retailer.”
The decision to open up distribution outside Walmart comes at a time when single-copy sales are challenged for All You (as they are for the industry generally). All You's single copy sales, which represent about a fourth of its 1.5 million circulation, declined 30 percent in the second half of 2012, per the magazine. (An increase in the cover price, from $2.49 to $2.99, may have played a part; meanwhile, the magazine's subs grew over 20 percent). "By going to other venues, we will have other opportunities," Oshin said.