Magtaling — the fusion of content and commerce — has been around for decades, yet businesses keep throwing up fresh iterations in a bid to capture an ever demanding consumer. Retailers create magazine content to spark intrigue; magazines open online and offline stores to capitalise on their curatorial expertise, and a number of hybrid innovations are emerging in-between.
Some of the first establishments to trial the concept were traditional magazines, who sought to monetise their already curated content. Refinery29 launched its first e-commerce platform back in 2007, while Harper’s Bazaar established ShopBazaar in 2012. And today the strategy continues to gain momentum: this February, Vogue debuted VogueWorld, an online sub-brand combining the title’s celebrity style content with e-commerce.
Digital-first retailers, on the other hand, are increasingly creating editorial content to differentiate themselves in a saturated online space, where information overload can cripple consumer interest and affect spend. Canadian-based luxury e-tailer SSENSE, for example, delivers style trend reports, op-ed stories, and designer interviews alongside its product assortment, carefully balancing commerciality, relatability and brand identity.
Providing businesses with the opportunity to tap new revenue streams and build consumer engagement, magtailing is standing the test of time as a powerful and effective strategy to help them stand out. Below, ORDRE looks at three benefits to leveraging the trend.
“Premiumised fanzines by luxury brands were designed to magnify their cultural kudos and stature as arbiters of taste.”
It Delivers Brand Clout
By tapping the value of the magazine format, brands and retailers are increasing their appeal as style and cultural leaders. “Premiumised fanzines by luxury brands were designed to magnify their cultural kudos and stature as arbiters of taste,” believes Katie Baron, head of retail at trends intelligence firm, Stylus.
In fact in recent years, a number of luxury fashion brands have created their own editorial content as a way to cement their brand clout and integrity: Louis Vuitton created The Book, offering news on art, travel, fashion, and its ever-growing number of pop-ups and capsule collections; Acne established Acne Paper in 2005, a bi-annual culture magazine featuring editorial spreads and interviews with industry insiders. “[They] offer extended consumer reach and populism, with plenty of commercial benefits, without the risk of that greater ubiquity denting their intellectual allure,” Baron adds.
It Builds Focus
In a digital age overwhelmed by a constant flow of information, consumers often crave focus and a way to prioritise what to give their attention to. “There is an intense need for businesses of all kinds to cut through the noise generated by an always-on digital era, where anything and everything is perceived as content,” Baron explains.
Thus the notion of merging commerce and content allows brands and retailers to offer guidance, focus and expertise, while at the same time expressing and developing a distinct brand voice, much like the way influential publications operate. “Magtailing taps into the depth-of-thought and tribe-creating capacity inherent to all the best magazines – helping them to clarify who they are as a brand in a more nuanced way,” says Baron.
“Magtailing taps into the depth-of-thought and tribe-creating capacity inherent to all the best magazines.”
It Creates New Income Streams
A number of businesses have turned to experiential initiatives blending commerce, content and immersive events in physical spaces, allowing them to expand their reach far beyond their market segment, as well as effectively create new income streams.
Kiosk N1C is one such initiative bringing fresh ideas to the table. The concept, which began life as a magazine in 2016, now lives as a physical space in London’s up-and-coming retail development, Coal Drops Yard. Hosting events, workshops and pop-ups informed by its magazine content, the hybrid retailer is able to ticket and monetise its experiential initiatives, alongside selling products from its edit of emerging fashion and lifestyle brands.
In an ever-evolving fashion landscape, businesses are increasingly acknowledging the value of establishing a unique brand voice through content creation. Print magazines may be dying out in theory, but the fundamentals of publishing live on in more ways than one, and the retail sector is cashing in.