Expanding Your Ecommerce Strategy Beyond Affiliate

Sovrn Commerce Team // March 3, 2022

Over the years, ecommerce has become an important source of revenue for online publishers. The COVID-19 crisis only accelerated this phenomenon, as economic shutdowns and supply chain disruptions drove consumers to online sources for more of their shopping needs. 

While this shift toward online commerce may slow as the pandemic wanes, it is unlikely to reverse altogether. In fact, several prominent studies suggest that ecommerce will continue its upward trend and remain a top revenue source for publishers in the years to come. So if you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to investigate the potential of ecommerce.

Whether you’re looking for best practices to implement an ecommerce strategy or information on the state of ecommerce, take the time to read Ecommerce in Publishing: Trends and Strategies. Sponsored by Sovrn and published by What’s New In Publishing (WNIP), this new report offers deep insights into how publishers can leverage ecommerce to deliver an exceptional online shopping experience.

3 ecommerce ideas to explore 

When it comes to ecommerce, affiliate is where most publishers start. It’s relatively easy to understand, start-up is simple, and it offers great revenue potential for almost any type of publisher. But ecommerce also offers a wealth of opportunities beyond the basics of affiliate marketing. 

If you’re ready to diversify your revenue streams, here are a few ideas for expanding your ecommerce strategy:

1. Online stores

While curated shopping isn’t a new idea, some publishers are taking their online stores in innovative directions. For example, outlets like GQ, The Economist, and The Boston Globe are now offering their own branded merchandise, including mugs, tee-shirts, and other apparel. Some large publishers are also building infrastructure to complete purchase transactions on-site, rather than sending buyers to a third party for fulfillment.

Keep in mind, however, that if product reviews are part of your online store, new guidance from Google provides best practices for keeping them useful and authentic. 

2. Product-based subscriptions

Subscription-based ecommerce is a growing trend across a wide variety of industries, including health and beauty, food and drink, books, apparel, and more. More and more publishers are also tapping into this movement as a new source of revenue — and valuable consumer data.

For example, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and NPR are just a few of the many publishers who sell curated wine club subscriptions. GQ offers a subscription-based “Best Stuff Box” containing favorite apparel, grooming products, and style accessories, while InStyle’s limited-edition beauty box is tailored to the consumer’s astrological sign. Depending on your audience and subject matter, the opportunities for subscription-based ecommerce are practically unlimited.

3. Retail partnerships

Strategic merchant partnerships can provide a valuable service for consumers while driving incremental revenue for publishers. An example of this strategy is publishing giant Meredith’s recently-announced partnership with Walmart. The relationship creates “shoppable ad experiences” across Meredith titles like Allrecipes, Eating Well, and Real Simple. This shoppable content allows consumers to purchase Walmart grocery products through direct links in recipes, meal plans, social posts, and more. 

You can download the full report for more creative ecommerce ideas, plus trends and insights to help you unlock the secrets of online commerce. 

And when you’re ready to start building out your ecommerce strategy — or expand it in new directions — Sovrn is here to help. With the addition of price and merchant comparison technology to our Commerce offering, you can now earn more revenue from every click. Diversify merchants, improve conversions, and boost revenue by building price comparison widgets into your existing commerce content.

Just email us at and our team will be happy to tell you more.

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