Seven Content Models for Successful Commerce

Thursday, September 12, 2013

In a recent interview with Folio, SheKnows CEO Philippe Guelton talks about how media companies can build the bridge from content to eCommerce.

His insights hold water and serve as good reminders of why integrating content and eCommerce is of great value to publishers:

  • Content elevates the user experience beyond simple eCommerce, to create brand loyalty and reinforce a site’s position as a destination for readers.
  • Content also adds the quality of discovery; something that Guelton argues is akin to the serendipitous nature of off-line shopping that is always a challenge to emulate online.
  • That same quality of discovery also plays into cross-promotion—something that ePublishing clients often achieve with semantic tagging.

Guelton talks about barriers in this process as well as pillars of success. Luckily, there are ample examples of publishers putting these ideas into play. Today, we’ll look at three of the foundational ideas, and in our next post we’ll build on them with four more examples.

Market Leadership

Readers are more inclined to buy from sites that establish their authority in the field. For over five years, HousingWire has led the market in trade news and information for the housing economy.

Its new website, leverages this leadership by providing useful, up-to-date tools to its readers for free: live, public equity information, an equity index and neighborhood information tools give readers the most current and relevant information to help inform their home buying and selling decisions.

Through these innovative tools, HousingWire lays the foundation of trust that opens buyers up to investing in highly valued content and demonstrates to vendors a loyal audience, so that they are more inclined to pay for Housing Wire’s premium directory listings. 


Successful eCommerce models allow publishers to continually build and diversify their revenue streams to create a range of purchase opportunities for readers that present real value.

Take the new Premier Guitar for instance. The BtoC site provides a variety of advertising opportunities, newsletters and subscriptions. But, that’s just the beginning. Premier Guitar plans to leverage the new audience data it collects and its eCommerce capabilities to further monetize the site with product sales, buyers’ guides and more.

Smooth Transactions

The foundational rule of eCommerce is: ensure that customers feel secure and comfortable making transactions on your site (and keep them on the site).

After making spectacular gains in traffic increases, subscriptions and revenue, focused on its eCommerce capabilities to increase Revenue per Reader (RPR).  The launch of its industry data site,, featured an enhanced shopping cart to reduce cart abandonment by 40%.  

The PCI compliant eCommerce system supports a product catalog, offers, discounts, bundling and an intuitive checkout process. It also leverages the ePublishing platform to apply industry best practices to streamline the purchase process for visitors and registered users, and reduce shopping cart abandonment:

  • Buyers can choose to check out as a guest or register and log in.
  • Smooth autofill streamlines the checkout process for registered users
  • Security certification badges and links to the MDM privacy policy clearly reassure new customers.
  • Visual cues make the purchase process intuitive and secure:
    • Buyers click on Proceed to Secure Checkout to purchase.
    • The shopping cart presents a map to each required step: Address >> Payment >> Receipt >> Checkout.
    • A Promotion Code field appears prominently, allowing MDM to test and track purchase and subscription incentives.
    • Continue Shopping and other calls to action appear prominently and intuitively.
  • Buyers can subscribe to the MDM premium newsletter and purchase products using the same cart and checkout process.

MDM’s smooth transactions go one step further: by keeping buyers on site they capture all purchase data, track buyer behavior and avoid data silos by aggregating audience data in a single database to target marketing offers and product development.

 In our next installment, we’ll look at how publishers integrate social commerce, context awareness, rewards and diversified revenue channels to maximize the positive effect of user-generated content on eCommerce.