Dwell Media Launches Online Store

Will integrate content, commerce

Dwell Media is going all in on e-commerce with a new online store that officially launches today.

The upscale shelter brand has dabbled in commerce before, selling Dwell-branded prefab houses and partnering with flash-sale site Gilt Groupe, but this initiative marks the first time Dwell developed the technology and is procuring the inventory itself.   

Publishers initially delved into e-commerce with some trepidation. Selling products would put them in direct competition with their advertisers. Going through a third-party affiliate would limit the financial risk, but reduce the upside, too. And there are concerns that selling products could put a publisher's editorial integrity at risk.

Publishers seem to have gotten over some of those concerns, though. For its store at Dwell.com, Dwell will hold inventory for about 40 percent of the 1,000-plus products it sells, including some that will be designed exclusively for Dwell. Going forward, Dwell.com plans to integrate product and service recommendations into the site’s content.

Dwell president Michela O’Connor Abrams said while the company found advantages working with Gilt and other online sellers, it ultimately decided it wanted to control the experience itself. Dwell's digital team would have no control over the content produced by the editorial side, she added. 

“Four years ago I would have said, ‘No way, we don’t have the experience,’” she said. Today, it’s, “We should be doing it on our own. You have a brand with an audience with whom you’ve established a set of expectations, and they expect us to follow through.”