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On a Quest for Profits, Magazines Court Shoppers

Monday, 15 Oct 2012 | 3:33 PM ET
On Monday, Harper’s Bazaar became the latest in a string of magazines to partner with retailers to sell items to readers.
Source: Shopbazaar.com
On Monday, Harper’s Bazaar became the latest in a string of magazines to partner with retailers to sell items to readers.

In search of profits, magazine publishers in genres ranging from fashion to health and fitness are turning to their readers' desire to acquire as a way to generate revenue.

On Monday, Harper's Bazaar, a Hearst Magazine publication, launched ShopBazaar, an online marketplace with editorial content and editor-selected items that consumers can click to buy without having to travel away to retailers' websites.

For the launch, the 150-year old magazine, which underwent a redesign earlier this year, has partnered with Saks and American Express .

As part of the increasing blur between editorial and money-making content, "shoppable" items will also appear in the print magazine with icons indicating they are available on ShopBazaar. Beginning early next year, readers will be able to shop the magazine's pages using their smartphones.

Hearst is far from the only media company trying to get into the ecommerce game amid an environment of declining ad revenue.

In August, Lucky Magazine jumped into the space with my.Luckymag.com, a site with thousands of editor-approved items, and pared-down versions of websites from retailers, such as Sephora, Macy's and Unilever . At the time, it told The New York Times that it expects to earn about 3 percent to 15 percent of each sale.

In the menswear category, GQ has partnered with both Nordstrom and Gap. Last month, Gap debuted a limited-edition collection from the magazine's six best new menswear designers in America of 2012. As part of a six-month partnership between Nordstrom and the magazine, editor-curated items can be purchased on Nordstrom's website and also appear in a GQ print feature each month.

On the health and fitness frontier, publishing company Rodale may be diving deepest into the online-shopping waters with its own ecommerce site, Rodale's, scheduled to open this spring, AdWeek reported on Monday.

Rather than merely being a platform for ordering items from retailers, the company plans to be in full control of the business by buying the merchandise itself and holding the inventory.

"This is a stand-alone business, " said Michele Barbone, the company's executive director of merchandising, to AdWeek. "When you do these affiliations with a Park & Bond or a Gilt, you're just getting a piece of the pie. We're going to buy these at cost and sell them at retail, just like a specialty store, so there's a bigger margin there."

-By Katie Little, CNBC News AssociateQuestions? Comments? Email us at consumernation@cnbc.com. Follow Katie Little on Twitter @katie_little_.

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