Allure Opens Virtual Store

By Steve Smith
06/05/2009

In another sign that content providers are looking to e-commerce to supplement their online ad revenues, Allure magazine launches its Allure Virtual Store (AVS) today. Online shoppers can access beauty products from major manufacturers and even book spa appointments and participate in a testing lab. The site has partnered with retail partners SpaBooker.com, Dillards and Sephora.

Located at AllureVirtualStore.com, the interactive storefront sports a colorful carousel of sponsor billboards in the front window. AVS combines a clean and airy boutique-like atmosphere with informational content. There are beauty tips attached to most items and a section of how-to and informational videos in the “Concierge” section. The site also features special offers, sweepstakes and sampling opportunities, which AVS says prompted 95% of beta testers to revisit the site more often.

Allure will be promoting the AVS from its own increasingly popular Web site. Celebrity stories and photo galleries have been spiking Allure.com traffic in recent months to nearly 5 million page views in March and 280,000 unique visitors, according to min’s Digital Box Scores. Many publishers have been promising e-commerce roll-outs this year as content providers try to get closer to the online shopping revenue stream.

Many in the industry lament the rise of ads on magazine covers and the blurring of editorial and advertising lines elsewhere, but publisher forays into retail could prove controversial as well. Bringing a vendor’s buy button into a content site’s editorial well, for instance, gives the content provider a vested interest in promoting, not just evaluating, a product. By creating a standalone AllureVirtualStore.com that is separate from Allure.com, the brand takes an interesting approach that both leverages the magazine name without necessarily blending editorial with commerce.