October 28, 2010, 11:17 AM

Elle transforms its magazine into a mobile shopping mall

 With the iPad app, readers can find items in Elle and click to buy them.

Lead Photo

The new iPad app lets shoppers pick items featured in an issue and click through to a retail site to buy them.

Fashion magazine Elle has launched an app for the iPad  that lets shoppers find products mentioned in an issue and click through to a retail site to buy them.

The app, which will be updated monthly to coincide with each new issue of the magazine, is now available for free but will soon cost $2.99 per issue, $1 less than the newsstand price, says Robin Domeniconi, senior vice president and chief brand officer, Elle Group.

Designed by Elle Group design director Paul Ritter and developed by digital production company HipZone Inc., the app took about five months to create. It offers the same content available in each monthly issue and additional interactive features, Domeniconi says.



For example, users can curate their favorite items from each issue and save their picks to an Inspiration Board, the iPad equivalent to tearing out and pinning pages from the magazine onto a cork board, Elle says. Shoppers can create multiple personalized Inspiration Boards for separate categories such as tops and accessories, and add new items from each issue as it is released. Users can e-mail their Inspiration Boards to friends, share them on social networks and click through to e-commerce sites to purchase products they like, Domeniconi says.

Another feature called the Personal Stylist enables a user to upload a photo  of her face, swipe through nearly every product in an issue from apparel tops to bottoms to create a look and then buy pieces of that look online via links Elle provides to retailers’ e-commerce sites.

“One page in the magazine is about 22 pages in the iPad app,” Domeniconi says. “We’ve basically deconstructed every piece of content in the magazine and let users interact with it how they want. They can click on and interact with every element on a magazine page—from a shirt, to a pair of pants to shoes.”

Domeniconi says Elle will choose featured retailers by the volume of the product they have in stock and how easily consumers can purchase via an e-commerce site. “What we don’t want is for consumers to click though to a retailer and an item not be available,” she says. Elle would not say if it plans to charge merchants a fee when shoppers click through or buy at an e-commerce site publicized in the app.

A main goal of the app, Domeniconi says, is to exploit the capabilities of the iPad to help Elle magazine establish an emotional connection with its audience. That means offering instant, interactive access to just about everything in an issue, Domeniconi says.

A book review may offer a video clip from the author and a link to Amazon.com where a shopper can buy the novel. A movie review might show a trailer and offer link to buy tickets to the show.  Another example: the Editor’s Letter in the iPad app is delivered via video, not text, Domeniconi says.

“I believe Elle has two audiences, our magazine audience is readers and our iPad audience is users,” Domeniconi says. “Our magazine presents information in the way we choose it to be, our iPad app lets users choose how they want to interact with our content. It lets them digest it the way they choose.”

Domeniconi believes shopping will play a big role in the future of magazines and that more magazines will launch apps similar to Elle’s in the near future.

“Magazines are going to become more like stores,” Domeniconi says. “Stores underneath great content.”

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