Issues for publishers considering e-commerce

With advertising revenues stagnating, many publishers are turning to e-commerce.  Beware the risk of price competition, and take care to work out what non-price USP you can develop.  Here’s some issues to consider before you step onto the dark side…1. Understand the level of trust in your media brand

Long-established media brands with a history of impartial product reviews and a loyal reader base will find it easier to persuade their customers to provide their credit card details.  Think hard about the product categories where your brand has credibility.

2. Know the purchase cycle for your users

A good editor should know this already: how long do your users spend researching, what sources do they trust, how many outlets do they use, and how comfortable are they with online shopping?  A media website has the advantage of capturing people in those early stages of the purchase cycle.

3. Develop your ability to get exclusive offers from your advertisers

Use your editorial and ad relationships to uncover exclusive offers, maybe for limited periods or a small group of consumers.  This will differentiate you from the price merchants.

4. Be aware of service expectations

You are selling to your own readers and subscribers.  Their expectations of your brand are set by your media products.  So they will expect high service levels.  Make sure your supply chain and customer service team can meet the standard.

5. Watch out for retail politics

Every product category and retail structure has its own politics.  Talk to your ad team to understand the risks of e-commerce.  Pick your battles very carefully.

I’d be very interested to hear about your experiences moving into e-commerce – just click on the commerce button.

Carolyn Morgan’s consultancy business, Penmaen Media, helps media brands grow in a digital world.  Visit for more info on how they can help you get more value from your website.