How publishers can create revenue via ecommerce

Apr 19, 2022 | Articles

Sara Merino

Sara Merino


ecommerce for publishers

Ecommerce is one of many streams that publishers can use to maximize their income as part of their revenue mix. Along with subscriptions, it has become one of the top practices that have grown in importance during the pandemic in the publishing sector.

This period has forced users to buy online and has allowed them to discover new products via media content that otherwise they wouldn’t have known about. For this reason, more and more publishers like The Economist or Forbes have come up with ecommerce strategies that position them as brands as well.

Sounds like a great opportunity, right?

But first, there are some aspects to consider

Although there are a lot of publishers that are joining the retail world, you may be wondering if ecommerce is actually fitting for your business and audience.

If you’re contemplating adopting this strategy, there are a few things to take into consideration:

Your ecommerce strategy must fit your content

The ideal way to adopt a retail position is to focus on products that are an extension of your content. This way your audience, after consuming your content, can skip the next steps of searching for the products or services they want and acquire them directly through your site.

Keeping up with technology

Due to the high amount of time that we spend online, technology is evolving at a fast pace to meet users’ expectations. Thanks to this, now it’s really easy to shop online (e.g. social media shopping), that’s why publishers need to keep up with the tech trends and developments as well.

The implications of adopting an ecommerce strategy

Diving into ecommerce can lead to a lot of changes to your business. From affiliate marketing to partnerships, there are some challenges you might face. The most important thing is being ready to address the issues that might arise. Being transparent to your stakeholders and finding balance between publishing, your core activity, and ecommerce is crucial.

Choosing the best ecommerce options for publishers

Deciding to implement an ecommerce strategy involves several changes that you most probably need to perform in order for it to be successful. This includes using the appropriate technology, workforce and skills.

This shift to e-commerce is a long-term plan that can provide multiple opportunities. Below, you can find some of the options to get into the ecommerce world and come out victorious.

Affiliate marketing

The first option that probably comes to mind is affiliate marketing. It’s an industry that drives $12 billion in 2022 globally and it’s one of the main options that publishers choose to generate revenue. In fact, 84% of publishers use affiliate marketing according to software review website Findstack.

And although the pandemic has boosted these high numbers, now ecommerce is still growing but at a slower pace. From setting recommendation pages to creating review sections with affiliate links, there are many affiliate marketing possibilities to explore.

Online stores

However, there are a lot of other options apart from affiliate marketing that are increasing in popularity these days.

ecommerce for publishers

For instance, another option is creating an online store. This includes branded merchandising -which is a great option for publishers with strong branding- and direct purchases via website. In relation to this, there are also subscription packages, where publishers can sell a set of different products altogether.

Other options include memberships, offering online courses and building collaborations and partnerships with other brands and retail companies.

With all the different ideas that exist, there are probably many of them that fit your editorial line. But as you can imagine, it’s not an easy task. What’s for sure is that diving into ecommerce while leveraging your audience can lead you to a successful business.

How can publishers use ecommerce to increase revenue?

There are multiple options that allow publishers to increase their income. The most common one is affiliate marketing. However you can also create online shops, build partnerships with other brands or offer online classes and memberships.

What's the best ecommerce strategy for my website?

It depends on the type of publisher you are and the content you create. Not all the ecommerce options can be appropriate, you must find the ones that fit for your business the best.

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