Commerce-focused publisher Clique, home to fashionista site Who What Wear and beauty pub Byrdie, plans to produce dozens of gift guides over the next two months.
Using data about which items have sold most briskly across its titles throughout the year, the sites will roll out over 110 gift guides, focused on everything from price points (“Under $50“) to a gift’s intended recipients (“The Best Gift Ideas for Boyfriends“). It will also roll out a separate batch of gift guides using user-submitted ideas.
The big change is those guides will now be front and center in the edit sections of Clique publications rather than only in the shopping section, created by the edit team, which now numbers 44 people. A separate merchandising team of six people creates collections of products year-round as well.
“We needed to prioritize this,” said Courtney Wartman, Clique’s vp of marketing and business development. “Our goal has been to make [these collections] viewable for the largest possible audience.”
While Clique’s brands are publishing shoppable content all year, the holiday shopping season is, of course, the busiest time of the year. Commerce revenues rise 30 percent from what they hit in a typical month in November; in December, revenues rise 25 percent.
Clique’s edit and merchandising staffs rely on data, not just of which products have been converting most briskly this year, but in years past as well. While trends in fashion and beauty change, Wartman said the Clique audience’s buying tendencies — how much it will spend on jewelry, statement pieces or basics, and when — is more stable, allowing Clique to plan out the cadence and rollout of its gift guides in a way that will ensure better conversions.
“Over the past couple years, we’ve been seeing that purchases are spiking as early as Thanksgiving Day,” Wartman said. “By Cyber Monday, it’s actually starting to slow down a little bit.”
The Clique sites will use Instagram Stories to distribute the gift guides, too. While the format is less than a year old, Instagram Stories has quickly evolved into a top sales channel, Wartman said, thanks to the ease of its swipe-up-to-buy feature. A single top-performing Instagram Story can drive $20,000 in sales, she said.
Recommending products for purchase is just one of the ways that Clique’s titles have tried to combine content and commerce. The company has spent the past couple years building a data and insights team that fuels not just its editorial strategy but also the development pipeline for its consumer brands division, which it capitalized this summer with a $15 million Series C round of funding.