When Michelle Lee became editor-in-chief of Allure magazine last fall, she had her sights set on significant digital transformation.
With a background in digital media and web design (most recently as the former editor-in-chief and chief marketing officer of Nylon), she set out to expand Allure’s e-commerce play and make it easier for visitors to use the relaunched site, which went live today. The redesign was largely focused on improving the user experience with more opportunities to engage with the content and more ways to find new beauty products.
“Our current site was built about five years ago, which in internet years is probably about 20 years,” Lee said. “From a technology perspective, I wanted to think of us as tech company, though print is still very important.”
The most notable addition to the site is the “Try It” button, a function that lets readers try a product for free after entering their email and street address. Select products will be shipped in sample or full sizes in a play to build loyalty to the publisher and the products. Featured products are not required to be existing advertisers with Allure.
The e-commerce move is an extension of the Allure Beauty Box, a $15-a-month delivery service with items picked by editors and beauty experts. Allure, which is owned by Condé Nast, brought Beauty Box’s operations in-house a year ago to gain more control over the way it connects with readers. Today it has more than 30,000 subscribers, a 150 percent increase since June 2015. Though Allure declined to disclose how much revenue it receives from e-commerce, few publishers make significant money from commerce ventures.
“There are a lot of beauty boxes out there, but because our brand is so strong and because our editors have such traction and expertise, we knew something curated by us would have more value than something from a brand people didn’t know,” Allure publisher and chief revenue officer Agnes Bogdan Chapski told Digiday in February.
On the new site, nearly every featured product will be available to purchase as part of the Amazon partnership. Users can click on a beauty product and be directed to another page with additional information and product reviews by Allure editors and beauty experts. Allure will get a cut of sales from the brands as part of a revenue-sharing affiliate model.
“If someone mentions they use this amazing skin serum at night, I would be really frustrated if I couldn’t click on it and buy it,” Lee said. “From a user experience, it’s really important to make as much of the site shoppable as possible.”
Allure’s traffic has grown 86 percent year over year to 5 million unique viewers and 33 million page views, with 80 percent coming from mobile. While other publications try to optimize page views to appeal to advertisers, Lee said Allure is focusing on cultivating visitors who come to the site at least four times per month as well as examining time spent per visit. The longer a reader engages with the site, the more personalized the content will become to direct them to content and beauty products.
“Uniques and pageviews are still important metrics for us, but they’re not the only metrics,” Lee said.