Native commerce platform StackCommerce has partnered with 42 publishers in the first half of the year, including Mashable, The Daily Beast and Gannett.
The goal of StackCommerce is to “monetize publishers’ audiences with commerce," CEO and founder Josh Payne told Publishers Daily.
StackCommerce provides publishers with a suite of tools to create sponsored editorial content, data-driven product curation and white-labeled digital shops to drive purchases without redirecting to third-party affiliate sites.
Many publishers secure revenue via affiliate links. For example, when BuzzFeed recommends a product in an article and a reader clicks on the provided link to make a purchase, BuzzFeed gets a cut of the sale.
But with a native commerce platform like StackCommerce, publishers create online stores hosted on their own site to sell products and offers, curated by StackCommerce for a publisher’s specific audience. The publisher or StackCommerce will create sponsored content to market those products and raise readers’ awareness of the online store.
“It’s not an affiliated model and kicking the user back out to Amazon. We own the customer data,” Payne said. “This is driving revenue through content.”
Often the products are exclusive offers, such as a deal on Engadget’s shop for a FitBit that is cheaper than on Amazon or elsewhere, Payne said. This helps build a valuable relationship with audiences, which can get exclusive product offers by going directly to the publisher’s site and reading its content.
StackCommerce says it can deliver, on average, five times the revenue-per-click of the Amazon Affiliate Program.
While publishers may make between 4% to 8% of gross sales on affiliate commerce networks and aggregators, StackCommerce publisher partners make an average margin of 20% of gross sales, Payne said.
“The reason is we are going out and negotiating direct deals with merchants and demanding a higher cut because the value we are giving the brands is high. We are giving them coverage on Engadget and Mashable, so there is more money to split up,” Payne said.
Mashable has driven more than 18,500 transactions in its first 60 days, according to StackCommerce.
“The combination of Stack’s product curation and Mashable’s commerce content has really connected with our audience,” stated Mashable chief content officer Gregory Gittrich.
“Finding new incremental revenue streams is not an option [for publishers] anymore — it’s a mandate. Commerce is becoming a very important one,” Payne said.
In the past, publishers were weary to publish branded content. Now, The New York Times' purchase of gadget recommendation site The Wirecutter shows there is “changing consumer appetite," Payne said.
StackCommerce has partnered with over 750 publishers, including AOL, Hearst, Scripps, CBSi, IAC, Gizmodo Media, IDG and Business Insider.