Private investment firm Comvest Partners acquires the financially troubled e-retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March.
A reader on an iPad can buy an item without leaving the page.
Payments card network MasterCard Inc. has launched an e-commerce technology that allows consumers to buy items featured in digital publications. Wired magazine will be the first to offer the feature, called ShopThis, in the iPad version of its November issue. Online marketplace Rakuten.com Shopping will fulfill the orders.
“As consumers embrace a more digital lifestyle, the way they shop and pay for things is changing,” says Garry Lyons, chief innovation officer for MasterCard. “Today’s consumer should not have to think about the shopping process—when they see what they want, they should be able to get it, as quickly as possible.”
ShopThis is tied to MasterCard’s MasterPass digital wallet. A shopper can sign in or create a MasterPass account through the ShopThis online cart, says Sharon Maddaloni, vice president of product development for MasterCard Labs. As he reads the magazine, a ShopThis icon appears on pages where the products are available to add to his cart. He can tap on the icon to read product details and select options like size or color if he decides to buy, then check out with ShopThis, all while staying on the magazine page.
The November tablet issue of Wire, available on Oct. 15, will feature about a dozen products for sale from the magazine’s Gadget Lab section and its holiday gift guide, Maddaloni says. She declines to say how Wired will earn money from the deal, but says that Rakuten will receive orders as it would through its e-commerce site. MasterCard already enables Rakuten shoppers to checkout with MasterPass, “so it was a natural extension to include them in this pilot,” she says.
Rakuten.com Shopping, formerly Buy.com, is No. 40 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide.
“The ShopThis with MasterPass technology allows us to experiment with how readers can go from product discovery to ownership, without ever putting the issue down,” says Howard Mittman, vice president and publisher of Wired. “This relationship represents a crucial first step in converting our content to commerce.”
MasterCard will use the test with Wired to figure out where next to roll out ShopThis, Maddaloni says. For now, the technology works only with Apple Inc.’s iOS operating system, the software underpinning devices like the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.