GQ’s adding a product recommendation section to its site

GQ is adding more commerce to its site with a new section of suggestions for clothing, accessories and shoes.

GQ Recommends, which GQ site editor Jon Wilde will formally announce Jan. 12, is the latest step in a larger effort to deepen its relationship with its readers, grow e-commerce revenue and position itself as a resource for its readers.

“It’s a thing our guys have been asking for, implicitly, for a long time,” Wilde said. “We weren’t making it easier to connect the dots [to a purchase].”

Last year, GQ surveyed its audience and found 40 percent of respondents visited their site for its product recommendations; another 30 percent wished GQ would offer more product recommendations.

Separate research that GQ conducted with affiliate commerce vendor Skimlinks found that readers who looked at stories that were shoppable spent nearly twice as long on GQ’s site — 14 minutes — as readers who only consumed GQ’s editorial content.

To create Recommends, GQ’s developers worked to amend Condé Nast’s content management system so products could be added to the Recommends section with a single click inside the CMS. But even though it will be easy to add products to the section, the site’s editors plan to be choosy. Wilde said between 5 and 10 percent of the products that get written up elsewhere on the site will end up on Recommends. The site’s staff monitors both SEO data and on-site search trends to decide what kinds of product categories to include in Recommends.

A separate team, headed by GQ commerce editor Martin Mulkeen, figures out which retailers to link to each product entry. Unlike some commerce publishers that heavily depend on Amazon, most of the products that GQ recommends aren’t sold by the world’s largest e-commerce company, leaving Mulkeen to figure out those deals.

In some cases, Condé Nast’s corporate relationships such as its commerce deal with Farfetch influence those decisions. But as Recommends grows, along with the database behind it, GQ will use a mix of technology and human labor to make sure all its items are in stock and priced appropriately.

Recommends is the second product GQ has added to earn more affiliate commerce revenue. A Best Stuff newsletter launched in August. GQ said commerce revenue grew 500 percent, year over year, in 2017, though it declined to share hard revenue figures. It expects to grow that total 30 percent in 2018.

“This could be the first step toward where we start recommending to people on a one-to-one basis,” said Rob DeChiaro, GQ’s digital gm. “It could be a logged-in, send-you-alerts-when-something-you-like-becomes-available kind of thing.”

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