Rather than simply advertising products, magazines are increasingly getting into the distribution game. As magazine readership declines, new mag-tail concepts are proving effective not only at bolstering magazine brands but also at expanding product distribution to new consumers.

Marie Claire has embarked on two new collaborations connecting editorial content to commerce. In New York’s SoHo district, the magazine partnered with Mastercard on The Next Big Thing, a “first-to-market, hands-on retail pop-up experience bringing to life the newest innovations in fashion, beauty, entertainment, technology, and wellness.”

The three-week pop-up, which took place in September and October 2017, brought Marie Claire’s editorial content to life with three main zones named after popular sections from the magazine. Neiman Marcus stylists provided tips on designer fashions, while virtual skincare mirrors from Clarins offered next-gen product suggestions. Mastercard’s digital payment services allowed purchases to be made from any point in the store.

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Visitors browsing at The Next Big Thing.

In the UK, Marie Claire and grocery store Ocado have partnered on Fabled by Marie Claire, a retail space for beauty and wellness. The store uses Ocado’s delivery infrastructure to sell curated product lines chosen by Marie Claire editors, and offers next-day delivery. The stores feature “The Edit,” the magazine’s selection of curated tutorials and product recommendations, on digital screens by each make-up counter.

Marie Claire is not the only editorial platform seeking to expand into product distribution. In August 2017, Refinery29 teamed up with Nars to present “PowerMouth,” an art show and product launch in London that leveraged Refinery29’s editorial stance to highlight a new Nars lip range. Goop, the wellness website founded by Gwyneth Paltrow, opened a permanent store in Los Angeles in September that gives the editorial brand a solid brick-and-mortar foundation. Even BuzzFeed has waded into brick and mortar following the acquisition of e-commerce startup Scroll; the platform’s first product, a digital hot plate that syncs with its popular cooking videos, launched in July.

Magazines have long held a key to consumers’ purchasing decisions. As they experiment further with physical retail models, can retailers leverage their influence to expand consumer awareness of its products? New, creative relationships between retail and editorial could prove mutually beneficial to both parties.

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