Conde Nast's Recent Hires Hint At Mixing Content With Commerce

Condé Nast last week hired two executives whose backgrounds outside of the publishing industry point to an even greater mix of content and commerce.

The publisher of Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fairnamed Deirdre Findlay as Chief Marketing Officer, and Mike Goss as Chief Financial Officer, as Publishers Dailyreported. Findlay had the same title at Stitch Fix, a startup that pioneered the business of subscription boxes for clothing and accessories, while Goss was CFO at Sotheby's, the storied auction house.

Their hiring comes as publishers like Condé Nast are looking for ways to develop other sources of revenue amid declining print readership and ad sales. Ecommerce presents a significant opportunity to convert readers into shoppers, especially for Condé Nast's esteemed magazine brands that deliver high-income audiences to prestige brands.



It's not clear whether Condé Nast will create its own subscription box of curated products to rival Stitch Fix, but it's easy to imagine the possibilities of partnering with another company on a co-branded service.

Who wouldn't want to receive a monthly package from Vogue, filled with dresses, shirts and socks handpicked by Anna Wintour?

Revenue from retailing activities including ecommerce is enticing, but publishers need to be cautious about avoiding the potential risks. Earlier this year, magazine publisher F+W Media filed for bankruptcy, blaming its attempt to build an ecommerce business as a major mistake.

The company had tried to parlay its enthusiast titles, which included Popular Woodworking and Artists Magazine, into a business of selling arts and crafts supplies — to disastrous effect. While the titles could boast they had a dedicated audience for their content, that loyalty didn't translate into online sales.

People shop around for bargains or similar products. Any ecommerce venture needs to answer a single question: What do we have that Amazon doesn't?

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