November 27, 2012 via Ad Age by Jason Del Rey – What’s on the Wall Street Journal’s wish list this holiday season? A real e-commerce business. As a start, the Journal this week opened a shoppable holiday gift guide in the WSJ Select section of its site, where it plans to center future commerce initiatives from the paper.

“The release of the gift guide is really the new beginning of a more-concerted effort to develop additional revenue streams around commerce,” said Alisa Bowen, the chief product officer at Wall Street Journal parent company Dow Jones. “We’re looking to build on the success we hopefully have this holiday season to develop merchandising that lives beyond the holiday season.”

The Journal already runs some e-commerce programs, such as a mail-order wine business and a partnership with Gilt City to sell higher-end daily deal-type offerings. In recent years, it also killed off its branded merchandise business, which sold items such as mugs that carried the Wall Street Journal brand name. But now the Journal is trying its hand at merchandising goods from outside retail brands that it feels will be attractive to the Wall Street Journal reader.

Curating lists of holiday gifts has been a longtime go-to for magazine and newspaper publishers, but their shopping guides still often send readers off the media property to a retailer’s site to buy. A GQ 2012 Gift Guide, for example, links out to sites from companies such as Phaidon, Starbucks and Walmart. The same goes for a travel-themed gift guide at The New York Times.

But the Journal’s version allows readers to purchase the gifts — which range from a $2,900 Tag Heuer watch to a $19.95 book about home-brewing beer — directly from WSJ Select. Customers can add products from participating retailers, which include Nordstrom, Best Buy and Italian e-tailer Yoox, to a single shopping cart and pay for them all with one payment.

“We’re trying to make it as seamless as possible,” Ms. Bowen said. “The level of friction with completing a transaction online is still really high.”

To make that technologically feasible, the Journal is working with a New York City startup called 72Lux, (a First Growth Venture Network graduate from our Fall 2011 Vintage) which started out as a consumer-facing website but has since shifted its focus to selling software-as-a-service subscriptions to publishers that want to enable multi-retailer shopping experiences. The startup charges publishers a software licensing fee and then takes a cut of the goods sold through the publisher. Publishers, of course, get a commission from the retailers for the items they sell.

“The front end of how a publisher uses our technology is really up to them,” said Heather Marie, 72Lux’s 28-year-old CEO. “We are the software that sits behind the site and lets them create any form of content that is shoppable.”

Read a lot more over at Ad Age


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