The Wall Street Journal is the latest — and we thought, a surprising — media entity to test the commerce waters with a full blown storefront. The venerable business publication launched a shoppable gift guide targeted at its affluent readership in the WSJ Select section of its website. According to the company, the gift guide will also be active for other holidays throughout the year such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
“The release of the gift guide is really the new beginning of a more-concerted effort to develop additional revenue streams around commerce,” Alisa Bowen, the chief product officer at The Wall Street Journal parent company Dow Jones told AdAge. “We’re looking to build on the success we hopefully have this holiday season to develop merchandising that lives beyond the holiday season.”
WSJ‘s new shoppable gift guide allows users to select and check out items in a single shopping cart directly from its own website although the purchase will be fulfilled from different retailers. Gifts under the “Fashion Favorites” category, for examples, include men’s suits from Nordstrom, women’s dresses from RevolveClothing, and accessories from Yoox. For its inaugural guide, the publication launched ten categories, ranging from “Tech and Gadgets” to “Holiday Hospitality” to a very glittery selection of “New Year’s Eve” gifts. The company says that the holiday guides align with the paper’s strategy to expand on its lifestyle content, though made it clear that the gift guide is produced entirely by the promotions and marketing teams and is completely separate from editorial.
In the past we’ve seen that retailers that produce their own content tend to fare better than the reverse — newspapers and magazines that attempt to enter the commerce space. For one, consumers are more comfortable buying from traditional retailers they are already familiar with. And then there’s that tricky question of church and state — how to introduce commerce without compromising journalistic integrity, especially for a newspaper. However, as traditional media outlets continue to grasp for new revenue opportunities, the idea of selling to its audience remains lucrative. How it’ll all shake out is still a work in progress, hints Bowen. One day readers may be able to buy products mentioned in WSJ news stories directly through the paper. The question that remains, however: why would you want to?
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