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Print is not dead. In retail, content creates customer loyalty

by Federico Marchetti, December 22, 2018


Photography by Olaf Blecker

Over the years, many have asked me why YOOX Net-a-Porter still publishes its magazine Porter in print. After all, we are in the online luxury business.

The fact is, print is not dead. True, few industries have been as disrupted by digital as the media, and surviving as a paper-only business is exceptionally difficult today, just as it is becoming for retailers with no online business. But editorial content is an integral part of our retail business, a merging of the offline and online worlds. And in 2019, more retailers will realise this combination is essential for commercial success.

Selling has always been about storytelling – a model known as C2C, or content-to-commerce. This is what I had in mind when l created YOOX in 1999 as an “entertailer”: part etailer and part entertainer. And over the years we have developed many content collaborations – from work with Margherita Missoni and Malcolm McLaren to projects such as enabling consumers to shop directly via showings of Nick Knight’s Fashion Film.

Our print magazine also shows the power of C2C. The highest-spending customers on Net-a-Porter are also the customers most engaged with our magazine’s content. Those who subscribe to the print magazine shop more frequently and spend more. Combining content and commerce is the way to excite customers.

In 2019, we will see C2C increasingly joined by another important trend: O2O, or online-to-offline commerce. O2O refers to the integration of the online shopping experience with physical retail space.

It’s why Amazon is opening bookstores and why Walmart spent $3 billion to buy an e-commerce platform. Our own O2O offering, called “You try, we wait”, is a service that enables a customer to buy a dress on her iPhone, have the piece delivered in just hours by one of our couriers, try it on at home or in the office, and hand it back if the fit isn’t just right. We are also working with Valentino to integrate their online world with their real-world boutiques.

O2O can be complex to execute but, combined with C2C, it will provide the retail experience that customers are now demanding. And in 2019 we will see more e-tailers and content producers adapting their business models towards C2C and O2O. Done well, we might not even notice the subtle shift. But we will all be happier customers.​

Originally published in WIRED UK

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