Marie Claire’s Affiliate Model: A New World for Fashion & Retail

posted by Daniil Tarakanov on 08.12.2020

In 2018, fashion giant Marie Claire introduced a separate eCommerce section to its well-established website.

Marie Claire Edit fuses enticing high-street looks with the expertise of its fashion editors.

The concept was instigated to add value to the user experience, which has been greatly enhanced by an array of expert styling advice offered to consumers. Visitors can now take advantage of a single search bar and updated navigation links.

At first glance Marie Claire Edit seems like your run of the mill eCommerce store, albeit curated and endorsed by Marie Claire editors. However, when you click on a product you’re taken to another retailer’s website where you can buy it.

This way Marie Claire earns commission from each sale, without having to fulfill the order themselves or handle payments.

This affiliate model has set the benchmark for other leading retailers to follow, with potential to transcend the retail sector as we know it. Marie Claire has laid out a blueprint which is likely to be followed by other leading companies, as we’re witnessing a digital revolution right in front of our eyes.

The End of Print Publications? Marie Claire Capitalizes on a New Approach

In favour of Marie Clarie’s ‘digital-first future’, Marie Claire announced it would no longer release its print publications after a historic 31 year run.

It is instead focusing on a mobile-first approach to news and entertainment, in line with the changing expectations of its modern audience. The move was inspired by a 26% decline in circulation of the Marie Claire publication in the second quarter of 2018.

Part of the company’s pioneering digital approach is the development of fashion aggregator platform Marie Claire Edit.

The Marie Claire Edit was designed to become the brand’s biggest source of digital revenue, as part of a digital evolution in partnership with TI Media. Marie Claire has provided a launch pad for success for many years.

This new introduction marked the beginning of a collaboration with leading brands  Marie Claire is currently working with more than 6,000 brands and retailers, collaborations which aim to fuse the company’s editorial content with the consumer experience. Current retail partners include Selfridges, ASOS, Luisa Via Roma, Matches Fashion, Topshop and Net-a-Porter.

Consumers can browse for new items via the shop tab on the main website, where stock is updated daily to reflect new stock and styling advice for inspiring fashionistas. 

Consumers can take advantage of a streamlined look and a significantly easier browsing experience. 

The concept is centered around Marie Claire understanding its users better, to continually meet the evolving needs and expectations of consumers. Though still in its early stages, Marie Claire has been learning about how its site interacts with Google, and how the platform can be further developed to enhance its potential.

The Marie Claire Business Model

The business model is simple yet highly effective:  Marie Claire gets a cut of the purchases via affiliate links. The company also entices prospective customers with vouchers and a discount page site, a great opportunity for additional engagement with target customers.

By partnering with other brands, Marie Claire can capitalize on the vast reach of its platform to promote products of interest to its target demographic.

The concept also offers an endorsement angle, where brands can receive a Marie Claire Edit approved badge for items selected by its team of fashion experts.

The strategy seems to have paid off, where within the first year of operation Marie Curie Edit garnered an average 6% conversion rate during its first year, boasting an average basket size of close to £400.

The company also drives a staggering £2 million a month in sales for fashion retailers across its different platforms. Assuming Marie Claire Edit drives 30% of fashion sales, this equates to an impressive £600k+ per month!

This is evidence of the mutually beneficial nature of the agreements reached.
It’s very much a work in progress, where frequent changes will accommodate the ever-changing nature of today’s retail markets. By applying this model, many other consumer publications like men’s fashion, interior design, gardening, etc. could open new and lucrative revenue streams.

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