Net-a-porter is an e-commerce powerhouse that publishes the fashion magazine Porter aimed at a young audience, the so-called digital generation. So why would any company take the risk and try to capture the attention of the young minds with a print magazine? The simple answer: Because it works. Net-a-porter has shown that circulation for print magazines can rise if publishers are innovative with their products.
According to media reports, the latest figures from BPA Worldwide showed that circulation for the magazine Porter grew 10 % from February 2015 to hit 170,038 in February 2016. The company expects double-digit growth for 2016 as well.
The concept behind Porter is simple: The products shown in the magazine can be purchased instantly via an app. The featured items include products by designer brands Alexander McQueen, Miu Miu, Fendi, Givenchy and Isabel Marant, among others. This makes the magazine attractive for fashion aficionados and impulse buyers alike.
The magazine features shopping technology that enables readers to buy outfits and accessories directly off the pages with the help of specialized smart phone and tablet apps. The bi-monthly magazine is distributed in 60 countries and comes at a subscription price of 25 USD annually. Most subscriber come from affluent households, the most coveted target audience, the EIP (Extremely Important People), have a household income of more than 178 000 USD per year.
The combination of the shopping app and beautifully photographed fashion pages is at the core of Porter’s success. The technical integration is seamless, even though the handling of the app may need a bit of getting used to. The first page of the magazine lays out the instructions: After downloading the Net-Porter app, shoppers are asked to select the ‘scan Porter magazine’ button.
When holding the phone over a page, a ‘shop’ icon will appear. The display then shows the colors and sizes available as well as related products that may also appeal to the customer. The app also has a concierge service in multiple languages so that shoppers can ask questions directly. Some pages also connect users to videos that reveal more about the beauty and health routines of celebrities, for example.
Porter issues have, on average, 500 items available for purchase. Taking the related items into consideration, the number grows to 2000. Overall, the Net-a-Porter site has more than 7000 items available for purchase. In a 2015 reader survey, Porter found that items were scanned 85,000 times, an interaction rate of 78 percent.
While not every magazine is likely to turn into an ecommerce-shopping mall, the integration of print and digital points to exciting opportunities that could be used in print ads and special-interest magazines.