The business need for commerce is clear. But as with all good things, there are trade-offs. In particular, there are likely conflicts with advertising. Not only could they compete for customers, but also for time and space: Any time and space devoted to commerce isn’t being devoted to editorial or other areas.
This can cause conflict if department goals are not strategically aligned. An advertising team will understandably become stressed if they have goals to meet, yet inventory and resources are being diverted elsewhere.
A slight aside here: Karl Oskar Teien, director of product at Schibsted, pointed out that anyone who isn’t considering an ad free experience for subscribers is wearing blinkers. He is right. Consumers frequently use content blockers, clearly demonstrating the user need. Businesses focusing purely on this are cropping up. Just look at Scroll, which was recently acquired by Twitter. It doesn’t mean all should go ad free. But it does mean we should recognise there is an issue around user experience.
So, back to commerce. Does it meet with the organisation’s core objectives? How do you test it? And how do you forecast revenue streams? All of these need to be answered to work out where it sits in terms of priorities.
There is also a deeper discussion to be had about how this works with journalism. As the ever wise Kara Chiles, vice president/consumer at Gannett, sums up: “Bringing commerce to a product sensibility: How do we include opportunities to buy in places that make sense that don’t seem like they are that are not in conflict with the journalism that we’re doing?”
Just one request from me: Please let’s not adopt the phrase “shoppertainment” that I’ve seen floating around the Internet!
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