Like any digital technology or consumer-oriented experience, e-commerce has evolved over the years. Today, purchasing products and services online is convenient due to its constant availability, global reach, and ease of customer service, says News Corp Australia’s Adam King, general manager of consumer commerce.
“I think that the term e-commerce really stems from a time where having an online transactional capability was a point of difference,” King says.
“Ultimately however, I believe that the nirvana for any consumer-oriented business is when consumers incorporate products and services deeply into their lives. Considering the strong heritage we have with our traditional media products and audience, this has formed the basis for our own approach at News.”
The Internet and mobile technology have transformed news, and subscribing to services over purchasing products is gradually gaining momentum globally. In this space, News Corp has long been a service provider of meaningful and relevant content that enriches readers’ lives.
The online subscription model continues to be important for News Corp consumers, and the organisation has also introduced a rewards system for its members. The programme is called +Rewards and was introduced in April 2014, shortly after News Corp celebrated reaching its 200,000 digital-subscriber milestone.
For existing subscribers, the +Rewards programme automatically populates and changes the appearance of the site to include a + symbol on the mastheads (The Daily Telegraph+, Herald Sun+, etc). Members of the programme will receive complimentary gifts and exclusive offers on a range of products and deals.
“This helps to reinforce the value of not only our core subscription products but also the benefits we can provide to our consumers by virtue of our broader network and partnerships,” King says. “Our strategy continues to focus on bringing quality and relevant live, local, and personal content, services, and products to both traditional and new audiences.”
The News Corp e-commerce strategy consists of three core parts:
- Understanding the consumer lifecycle journey.
- Focusing on areas where it can make significant improvements to simplify the process, or to provide quick, easy guidance and resolution to common questions.
- Continual improvement of the underlying products.
King says News Corp is seeing positive returns on its online commerce activities and products. The media company’s 200,000+ digital subscriptions is a big milestone, and the number continues to grow.
“As we look at our product roadmaps and offerings that support both our consumers and advertisers, it becomes clear that we have some great opportunities. The current reality in the media space is that supporting a single transition strategy from print to digital is not enough; to continue to be successful we need to constantly evolve our service offerings to meet the needs of our consumers.”
At the same time, the focus is for e-commerce to be a logical extension of the existing brand. The traditional News Corp media brand is extremely important to both the company and its consumer base, and provides fantastic building blocks to develop new and exciting digital offerings that King hopes will resonate with the existing and new customer base.
The real challenge for News Corp lies in applying the right strategy and approach to contrasting segments of the market. The company’s constant cycle of test and learn provides it with an opportunity to identify what works well and what can be improved.
Though employees typically look for a binary response – example, A is better than B – the reality has often been that A works better for some consumers, while B works better for others.
Adapting the e-commerce approach to these findings helps News Corp deliver not only a better result commercially, but also in relation to the customer experience and how they value the product.
“We are in a continual cycle of testing and learning,” says King. “As we get better at understanding our consumers, we will continue to be able to provide better products and services. Over the past three years, we have seen this approach mature and achieve an effective operating rhythm.”