The eTail Blog: Dwell + AhaLife Launch Shoppable Magazine

Discussion
Dec 14, 2012

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from The eTail Blog, a source of exclusive content generated by and for the ecommerce community.

I’ve been hearing people say (and saying myself) that nowadays publishing is influencing commerce more than vice versa. Catalogs are going the magazine route and magazines are going the catalog route.

It wasn’t always this way.

As a retailer, especially if you’ve been in the biz a while, you probably already know this. You didn’t always have to provide rich content along with awesome product in order to drive sales. It used to be a matter of, "We’ve got what you need, come and get it." Now it’s more like, "Here’s why we’ve got what you need, and here’s why we’re the best place to buy it from, and here’s what else we’ll do for you in addition to providing great products."

Hence the advent of content as commerce, giving way to things like Dwell Media’s partnership with AhaLife and Layar for its first ever, augmented reality shoppable magazine.

Dwell’s launch features cutting-edge modern design for the home through augmented reality so readers can shop the content of Dwell magazine from their mobile devices. The app, provided by augmented reality partner Layar, allows readers to scan an item in the pages of Dwell with their phone and then links them directly to the AhaLife site where they can make a purchase with a tap of the finger. Or for those of us old-schoolers reading the mag on our desktop computers, we can simply click the image of the product we’re interested in and, voila, we’re taken to AhaLife where we can pull the purchase trigger.

Dwell is releasing the special issue as a polybag alongside Dec/Jan subscriber issues. The special mag is sponsored by MasterCard and will reach about 280,000 subscribers. The gift guide offers 77 modern designs for the home, compiled from recent fall issues of Dwell.

"The opportunity to take the content in the pages of Dwell, and create a seamless commerce experience for our readers is a win-win for us," said Michela O’Connor Abrams, President, Dwell. "We have the amazing opportunity to give designers we love, many of them young or far away with limited access to the market, a great lift up. And our readers, who are always scouring the magazine for new ideas and products, don’t have to look farther than their phones to shop the pages of Dwell."

This is one of many such models we’ve seen come to the fore in recent months, though larger pubs that seem to be a natural fit (fashion mags like Vogue come to mind) haven’t yet taken the full ‘cata-zine,’ ‘maga-log’ plunge. Some, though, like Lucky, are totally down with ‘maga-log’-ing.

What do you think of the Dwell+ AhaLife app and the opportunity around shoppable magazines? Is augmented reality opening the door for direct commerce for consumer magazines?

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6 Comments on "The eTail Blog: Dwell + AhaLife Launch Shoppable Magazine"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 5 months ago

These concepts are not new. IKEA used them in its catalogue earlier this year. Does anyone else remember the CAT reader from many years ago?

All are tactics to reach consumers, get them to pay more attention to what they are reading and offer the opportunity to directly interact with editorial and advertisements. Whether it’s clicking on an item, using a QR code or mobile access, they goal is the same.

Technology will continue to evolve, offering retailers and brands new opportunities to reach consumers. The key is to use these developments to engage, rather than sell.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 5 months ago

Here’s a news flash: They have this brand new technology that marries print content and the ability to order online—it’s called the telephone.

Much as I love print, this is an idea with an extremely limited shelf life.

Martin Mehalchin
Guest
Martin Mehalchin
9 years 5 months ago

Max is right: Engage, then sell. Magazines like Dwell know how to do the engagement piece well so they have a good shot at creating a product sales opportunity from the engagement. They will need to be careful to curate the assortment as well as they edit and select content. If they start selling “shelf space” to the highest bidder regardless of product quality or style, their discerning reader base will quickly see through it.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
9 years 5 months ago

Technology continues to improve through its evolution. I logged onto the Dwell+ AhaLife site and it is nice. I am still awaiting more sensory experiences with technology. We can see and hear product characteristics on our devices. When are we gonna have “SmelleVision,” or be able to feel the fabrics of fashion apparel or sample a taste of that restaurant menu? Come on, technologists! 😉

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
9 years 5 months ago
Ultimately we are talking about shopping, so if I take a step back I might ask: what is the shopping process in this category and how might technology help? Right now I am hearing a solution to streamline the checkout process—to go from: ‘this is cool’ to ‘I want to buy it.’ This workflow seems to bypass the important step of: “will this work for me the customer, given my constraints?” I would think that the sustainable opportunity, the more interesting opportunity, the opportunity that would energize the bloggers in this category would be to use technology to help readers see the product in their home or office. Using augmented reality to superimpose the product into a readers photos (making it real easy to do this) or superimposing the item into a floor plan (and making it really easy to do this) might be more complex, but it could be worth testing—make some paper prototypes and give it a look. Stuff like this is usually relegated to version 2 or 3 by product managers (correctly)… Read more »
Mike Osorio
Guest
Mike Osorio
9 years 5 months ago

This is a wonderful value-add concept for the shopper and for the magazine and manufacturers. Whether it works depends on the authenticity of the offer. If it is a blatant ‘sell space to the highest bidder’ platform it will not work. However, if done as Dwell is doing here, it will work beautifully. The integration between shopping location and the digital world will only continue to increase. Smart platforms—be they retailers or media like magazine—will authentically curate the offer to engage and then delight the consumer.

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