It’s online shopping with a digital twist. Dubai-based men’s lifestyle magazine alpha. (published by GN Media. which also owns Gulf News), has recently partnered with online fashion store namshi.com to give readers of its tablet version an option to directly buy products straight from the digital version and have it delivered to their homes. The ‘shop the look’ feature, now available on the free alpha. Select app, will feature the best of menswear put together by the magazine’s fashion experts. The Directory spoke to editor Nitin Nair about the new e-commerce project and why he think it will take off in a big way.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of an e-commerce element?
A: We launched alpha. Select as a brand extension of our print edition. We feature a lot of menswear products in the magazine so it was only logical our readers were given the option of buying from the tablet, allowing them to ‘shop the look’. e-commerce is a good extension of the online and tablet editions of men’s magazines. It may not have taken off here yet, but this is popular in more evolved markets. Incidentally, we launched our tie-up with namshi.com in the month that alpha turns a-year-old.
Q: How does it work?
A: The Namshi Style File features our pick of the best menswear products on the website. On the tablet, the featured products have a link that takes readers to the retailer’s website. Readers can pay cash on delivery, are not charged for shipping and have the option of 14-day returns. Hopefully, this should encourage readers who have been reticent about using their credit cards online.
Q: Does it not blur the lines between advertorial and editorial?
A: No, because we treat this purely as an advertorial. Namshi.com pays us to pick the best stuff from their website and feature them on the app and in the print edition.
Q: Why namshi.com?
A: We were looking to work with an online fashion store and namshi.com with its range of products and cash-on-delivery model seemed the ideal fit. We will review the partnership in three months to see it works for both parties.
Q: What’s special about the products featured on the alpha. Select app?
A: Like I said before, this is the alpha. Edit — our fashion team’s pick of the best menswear products on the website.
Q: Are you confident your readers will react positively to this element?
A: I don’t know of any other magazine that offers anything similar at the moment in the UAE. So we don’t really know what to expect. What we do know is that it is important that we keep innovating and testing the market. As far as the reader is concerned, it is about choice — he seems something he likes, he clicks, he buys, it gets delivered.
*alpha. Select is available to download for free for both iOS and Android devices.