Magazine article Marketing

Media Analysis: Bauer Late to E-Tail Party

Magazine article Marketing

Media Analysis: Bauer Late to E-Tail Party

Article excerpt

The publisher may find it hard to profit from its discount designer fashion site.

Bauer Media's decision to launch into the e-tail sector with Cocosa.com has been described as too little, too late by industry experts.

The site, which launches at the end of the month, aims to create a group of members who will be invited to take part in designer sales. The group will be drawn from the readership of Bauer's fashion titles, including Grazia, Pop and Arena Homme +.

Bauer is not the only publisher extending its magazine brands online. Conde Nast already offers specific retail-purchasing options through its Stylefinder website, while IPC offers click-to-buy services on the online home for Look magazine. However, Bauer's business model involves working with brands directly to offer 48-hour sales on its site to members.

This price-focused strategy will pit Bauer against brands such as Asos.com, which recently posted soaring profits. The latter's sales more than doubled in the six months to the end of September, compared with the same period last year, and it is a slice of this burgeoning market that Bauer is after.

Asos.com is unperturbed by the entrance of a competitor. The brand's head of media, Terri Westlake, predicts that Bauer will struggle to make a serious impact. 'The private membership model it has gone for is very niche,' she says. 'It's hard to believe that it has the skills and investment required to be very good in this market. It is brilliant at producing magazines, but the amount of high-end product available is low. It's hard to see it making serious revenue from it.'

Bauer's relatively tardy entry to the market means many rivals will already have nailed down a loyal customer base. Katrin Magnussen, a senior fashion analyst at Mintel, says: 'All the best sites launched some time back and have established positions in the market. New entrants need to offer something special to lure consumers.'

However, publishers offering extensive online purchasing do have an advantage over regular web companies. Their editorial brands have an existing rapport with consumers, and they can bolster deals by offering brands promotions in their magazines.

Cocosa managing director Andrew Robb confirms that every sale it runs will include an editorial feature on the brand. 'Our differentiation is the high-end positioning we are aiming for. …

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