The Future of Commerce and Identifying New Revenue Opportunities

Publishers discuss investing in authenticity

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The pandemic and a series of technological advances have fundamentally changed how consumers shop and what they spend their money on. Publishers, eager to capitalize on the rise of digital commerce, have embraced new formats in hopes of benefiting from the shift. On top of expanding their offerings, they’re making bold investments to future-proof this side of their businesses.

Nancy Berger, senior vice president, publishing director and chief revenue officer at Cosmopolitan, and Mary Murcko, chief revenue officer at theSkimm, joined Adweek’s media editor Lucinda Southern during Publishing Week to offer their unique commerce perspectives and strategies.

A new chapter of content consumption

Although theSkimm is still in its early days of commerce, Murcko said the publisher is already seeing a ton of engagement as it organically weaves commerce into its content.

“Commerce is something that’s been pretty natural at theSkimm. The idea here is we try and help millennial women live smarter,” she explained. “So commerce fits so nicely into that. When we look at it through the lens of solving problems, our users embrace it. Now more than ever, they’re looking to buy from places they can trust. They also want to see value. It’s not about the cheapest thing. They’re also really concerned about whether the product will make their life easier and accomplish what they want it to.”

TheSkimm plans to roll out Skimm Tested to bolster consumer trust even more by providing expert reviews and recommendations for the products it markets. Murcko said Skimm Tested fits perfectly into the publisher’s belief that authenticity and trust are paramount to a successful commerce strategy.

(Captions for the video have not been made available to Adweek. We will update the video once captions have been provided.)Adweek

“Authenticity obviously breeds trust. But the idea of coming on theSkimm and understanding how it impacts your life in a real way—with that authenticity—and then trusting where it’s coming from, we believe those points are core to a successful commerce strategy for any brand. When you’re trying to sell any products to fit into a woman’s life, they have to believe you understand them before they will make any purchase,” she explained.

At Cosmopolitan, commerce has long been a small portion of the legacy magazine’s larger business. But still, the numbers speak for themselves.

“We look at lots of different revenue streams,” Berger said. “If you go to right now, we have a shopping hub where we do an enormous amount of affiliate business—year-to-date, we’ve sold over $70 million worth of product through affiliate, that’s about 6,359 products each day.”

‘Travel like an editor’

Cosmopolitan recently launched into the travel commerce space with CosmoTrips. Berger said Cosmopolitan followed its motto of staying close to the consumer to let them lead to the next big thing when deciding to venture into travel.

“In response to the pandemic, in particular, there was a lot of pent-up demand to get back into the world and travel,” she said. “So we started to do a little bit of research on our audiences’ travel habits and saw a resounding prioritization. It was really started by the millennial demographic, who felt fearless about getting back into the world again. We also saw there wasn’t any content in travel curated specifically for a 30-something or 20-something looking to get away with their girlfriends. We knew that based on the trust we have with our audience, we could take them there.”