On Sunday, 17 August, APN launched ShopViva, a fashion e-commerce collaboration between GrabOne and Viva, the New Zealand Herald’s flagship lifestyle magazine.
The new venture is based on the premise that readers should be able to purchase the items that are displayed editorially in the popular inserted magazine, which is circulated every Wednesday.
Nielsen's latest readership stats indicated that Viva has a following of around 281,000 readers, and this move is clearly an attempt by APN to monetise the audience.
“Viva’s readers are sophisticated and informed," said Viva editor Amanda Linnell in a release sent out by APN. "They see Viva as a highly-trusted source of targeted lifestyle content: the best of fashion, beauty, design, eating out and culture. ShopViva will allow consumers to buy what they see in the comfort of their own homes via their phones, tablets or computers. Viva is constantly looking for ways to engage with people who love to live life well, and ShopViva is the next logical step.”
Linnell says that all the items sold through the shop will be curated by the ShopViva team, giving consumers access to high quality options.
"Our consumers trust in Viva as a lifestyle guide," she says. "This means it's important that ShopViva is curated with editorial integrity throughout. That's paramount from our point of view."
The ShopViva website has been designed to emulate the the stylistic elements of the print version of the publication. And despite the fact that the website has been designed from scratch, APN's chief executive Jane Hastings says the fact that APN could tap into GrabOne's capabilities and experience in the e-commerce field made it relatively easy to set up the system.
"Getting ShopViva up and running was quite a simple process," says Hastings. "The Viva editorial team understand that their audience are more than likely heavy users of fashion shopping sites. Designers have been very receptive to the ShopViva proposition as online sales channels become a more important way of connecting with their customers. The ShopViva site provides designers the chance to connect with a sophisticated and informed consumer base. Leveraging the power of the Viva brand with the capabilities of GrabOne have made this relatively seamless."
While GrabOne is involved in the process, Linnell emphasises that ShopViva is discrete from the daily deal site in terms of what it offers. GrabOne is only involved in terms of managing the backend and ensuring that the e-commerce structures are in place and working effectively. The items offered via the site will however be determined by an independent ShopViva team.
Previously, the daily deal site, which is today New Zealand's third biggest e-commerce platform, launched GrabOne Store, an enterprise that has successfully filled Kiwis' homes with low-cost items since its inception.
However, according to Linnell, the objective for ShopViva is quite different.
She says that the site will feature mid- to high-end brands from New Zealand and abroad, with the aim of appealing to a higher spending market.
"We really want ShopViva to reach across the country and engage with our users and readers," she says. And for the site to do that it needs to meet standards that have been set across the board.
“We’re in print, online, we have an app, and we’re even on radio via Mix98.2 so we are delighted to launch ShopViva as an online destination which, like our other media, will complement our editorial content," she says. "This is a natural and exciting brand extension for Viva and all those that are part of the ShopViva community."
As part of its launch campaign, ShopViva is currently giving new subscribers a chance to win designer clothing to the value of $3000.
Internationally, arguably the most successful example of a high fashion retailer would be Net-a-Porter, which was founded by Women's Wear Daily and Tatler journalist Natalie Massenet in 2000. The company quickly grew into an online retail juggernaut, and in 2010, when sold to Richemont, was valued at US$533 million.
Interestingly, at a time when most media owners are shifting toward digital channels, Net-a-Porter launched a magazine called Porter earlier this year. In addition to this, the company is also active on YouTube, uploading videos on the latest trends quite frequently.
Online retailer Asos is another example of a company that straddles the content and retail worlds. And though the company started out as a retial organisation, it also launched a magazine in 2007, which still enjoys a strong readership in the UK.
Given that Asos is targeted at young adults, its YouTube channel features a range of quirky videos that give customers tips on what to wear.
In many ways, these moves are symptomatic of the continued blurring of the lines between the different channels across media and retail. And in the same way that retailers are encroaching onto the media space by developing content marketing initiatives, editors are now moving across to retail in an attempt to monetise their audiences.