Domino Dreams

A print magazine that folded in 2009 hopes to stage a comeback as an e-commerce site, reports Penelope Green in The New York Times (10/3/13). Domino, a Conde Nast home-decorating magazine, went under for lack of advertising revenues, however it left behind "passionate, devoted readers, more than a million of them." It is now returning as a quarterly print magazine, but the magazine itself "is perhaps beside the point. In fact, it’s merely a branding tool." The real play is an "e-commerce site, a platform loaded with the magazine’s archives and new content that will be ‘shoppable.’"

"We see ourselves as providing top-down editorial content and facilitating influencer content from the blogger and design communities, and ultimately being able to activate user-generated social content that also can be shoppable," says Andrew Appelbaum, founder of Domino Media. It’s not exactly an original idea. In fact, a Conde Nast site called Epicurious attempted something like it "in the late 1990s." Far ahead of its time it failed. However, the technology has advanced, and consumers are more comfortable with click-through commerce these days.

In addition, Pinterest and Instagram (which didn’t exist in 2009) now enable Domino’s followers to recommend their products to their own followers. Challenges remain, however. For one, Domino is using a drop-ship model, which Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali says "is such a bear, hard to fully execute with a whole bunch of fragmented sellers." She also says it’s limiting because "you are only as big as the volume of merchandise you have to sell." On the other hand, says Sucharita, "We are moving from text-based commerce to discovery-based commerce," adding, "That’s the opportunity."

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