Marie Claire expands shopping hub from the U.K. to the U.S.
Future plc-owned Marie Claire U.S. is creating a digital shopping site after the publication generated over $10 million in e-commerce sales for retailers in the past six months. Marie Claire has a similar shopping hub in the U.K.
The U.S. edition of the site, called Marie Claire Edit, will go live on March 15 exclusively with Nordstrom for the first two months, in which all of the items on the site will be products from Nordstrom’s women’s section. There will also be a section dedicated to curated picks by Marie Claire editors.
After the first two months, the site will open up to other fashion retailers in the U.S. The brand hopes to work with 55 retailers, the same number of stores the U.K. edition works with. Marie Claire has a revenue share agreement with these retailers, which range, said Emily Ferguson, director of e-commerce at Marie Claire. She declined to share deal terms or financial details.
Inside Marie Claire Edit
Marie Claire Edit in the U.K., which was created in 2018, doubled revenue year over year in 2021, according to Ferguson. The revenue is an equal split between e-commerce sales and advertising revenue, she said, though she declined to share specific revenue figures. Sales have also doubled in the last year. Ferguson also declined to share how many products were sold in the past six months.
The average order value on Marie Claire Edit is £397 (or about $516), she said. U.K.-based media company Future plc acquired Marie Claire U.S. in May 2021, following its purchase of TI Media in April 2020, which included the U.K. edition of the magazine brand. (Future’s commerce revenue increased by 36% from fiscal year 2020 to 2021, accounting for $285.6 million and 35% of total revenue.)
Marie Claire is also using the shopping hub to pitch advertisers on Marie Claire Edit, including year-long deals with brands and quarterly activations on the site, Ferguson said. Advertising opportunities range from site sponsorships to licensing partnerships to channel takeovers. Custom branded pages can also be built on the hub. For example, on the U.K. site Net-a-Porter pays to “own the whole beauty section of the site,” meaning all of the beauty products are supplied by that retailer, Ferguson said. The beauty section launched in 2020. It’s not clear how much this deal is worth.
All ads on Marie Claire Edit are directly sold; inventory is not being sold programmatically, Ferguson said. The Marie Claire team is still finalizing contracts with brands to begin after the hub’s exclusive deal with Nordstrom, though Ferguson declined to share the names of those brands.
A play for advertisers
Brands that might be interested in the opportunities presented by Marie Claire Edit would likely be ones “used to being featured in [Marie Claire product roundups], or have a budget already set aside for pay to play options,” said Elizabeth Marsten, senior director of strategic marketplace services at digital ad agency Tinuiti. Publishers can “sweeten the deal” by offering a “package,” such as offering print advertisers ad space in the digital shopping hub.
Marketing for the shopping destination will kick off when the site is live, with Pinterest boards, dedicated newsletters with shopping picks, articles on the Marie Claire site and social promotions, Ferguson said.
The challenge, however, is “eyeballs on the page,” Marsten said. Going up against online shopping giants like Amazon and Walmart can be tough. “What can the publisher do to drive engagement with that content and this shop area outside of buying Facebook ads for products you’ve looked at? The trick will be the ability to scale this up. Otherwise is it worth me doing the advertising, budget, integrations or whatever If I’m only selling five handbags a month?” Marsten added.
The U.K. hub has over 1.5 million products from over 55 different stores, working with retailers like Net-a-Porter, MATCHESFASHION and Farfetch. The site ranks on search for more than 24,000 shopping and branded terms, such as “Fendi ring” and “Gucci trainers.” Roughly 50% of the traffic to the U.K.’s Marie Claire Edit is organic, mostly from Google searches, as well as a mix of social and direct traffic, Ferguson said.
“Search is closest to the bottom of the funnel,” Marsten said. Searching for an item means the consumer already has some interest in that product.
“Closing the gap between interest and acquisition is critical for any platform to maintain users on that platform,” said Whitney Fishman, managing partner of innovation and consumer technology at ad agency Wavemaker U.S. “A few clicks can be the difference between abandon cart and purchase.”
Ferguson, who is overseeing the launch of Marie Claire Edit in the U.S., said the task is to “get the Marie Claire audience to go from purchasing on a piece of content to purchasing on a site,” and to “get Google to index and rank for shopping terms, instead of evergreen editorial terms.”
“We want to replicate the success of what we’ve had in the U.K. and really create something immersive for the U.S. audience,” she said.
This article has been updated after a Future plc spokesperson notified Digiday after publication that the company had provided incorrect information. The update reflects that Marie Claire U.S. generated more than $10 million in sales for retailers in the past six months. A previous version attributed the retail sales figure to Marie Claire Edit U.K.
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