eCommerce in Publishing: Introduction | What’s New in Publishing

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What publishers need to know about this growing revenue stream and what it means for them

This is an excerpt from our free downloadable report, eCommerce in publishing: trends and strategies

Electronic commerce, also known as e-commerce or Internet commerce, refers to the buying and selling of goods or services through the Internet, and the transfer of money and data to complete these transactions.

E-commerce is often used to refer to the sale of physical products online, but it can also describe any type of business transaction facilitated by the Internet.

Definition via Shopify

In late 2019 and early 2020, I authored two reports for What’s New In Publishing examining the impact – and potential – of e-commerce as a source of revenue for publishers.

With the exception of outlets such as Marie Claire UK, Dennis Publishing, BuzzFeed, Future and POPSUGAR, many of these efforts still seemed fairly embryonic. I felt that the potential for media players to more effectively leverage the relationship between their content and commerce was often untapped.

For this reason, a primary goal of these initial reports was to highlight these possibilities and provide inspiration and insight that could, in turn, help more publishers see how e-commerce could work for them.

My feeling was that e-commerce would only grow in importance for publishers as they sought to diversify their revenue streams and seek new revenue streams.

Two and a half years later, catalyzed by COVID (not my reports!), the situation couldn’t be more different. Initial skepticism, distrust and uncertainty about the potential of e-commerce has gradually begun to fade as publishers increasingly focus on the potential of content-driven commerce and other opportunities for e-commerce.

New research from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism finds that the COVID crisis has ‘accelerated’ efforts to generate money from subscriptions and e-commerce, with 30% of commercial publishers surveyed saying it would be “important” or “very important”. source of income for them in 2022.

More broadly, the only areas of revenue deemed more important were – unsurprisingly here – subscriptions, advertising and events.

The time for e-commerce has come.

The time for e-commerce has come. A combination of changing consumer behaviors, coupled with the urgency to diversify revenue streams, means that a growing number of publishers are ready to cross the Rubicon of online shopping.

We hope this report can help more publishers see the potential of e-commerce as part of their revenue mix, how it can complement their content, and provide a logical next step in their relationship with the media they already access ( and act often) .

It’s a story we’ve seen unfold over time and will continue to follow – and share – with interest.


This is an excerpt from our free downloadable report, eCommerce in publishing: trends and strategies

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