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Hearst’s Cosmopolitan and Seventeen partner with Amazon to create shoppable content

Earlier this month, Hearst unveiled a new, interactive way for Seventeen and Cosmopolitan readers to shop the pages of their favourite magazines with Amazon’s SmileCodes. Debuting in the March issues of each US magazine, readers will be able use their Amazon app to scan SmileCodes next to a particular product and with one click they’re able to purchase it directly from Amazon, according to Cosmopolitan and Seventeen’s publisher and SVP Donna Kalajian Lagani.

SmileCodes are an Amazon-branded version of QR codes that link directly to product detail pages. They’ve been piloted in Europe, but this is their debut in the US.

Ecommerce is a huge area to invest into, Lagani explained. “For our two brands, we need to be constantly reinventing and innovating,” she said. “US online retail sales reached US$400 billion last year and retail ecommerce is growing at a 16 per cent year over year rate. We recognise that our readers are doing a lot of shopping from their mobile phones.” 

By tapping into Amazon’s technology with this partnership, Seventeen and Cosmopolitan now have the ability for the consumer to go directly from the printed page to purchase. “All you do is open up the Amazon app, tap on the camera icon, choose SmileCode Scanner and aim the camera of their mobile device at the visual pattern of the SmileCode,” Lagani said. “Throughout the magazine, we have listed SmileCodes, you scan them and it takes you to the product detail page.”

Troy Young, global president of Hearst Digital Media, will be the opening keynote at DIS 2018, speaking about the Amazonification of media.

11th Digital Innovators’ Summit, Berlin, 18-20 March

Preliminary agendaSave by booking now


Lagani said the partnership takes the experience of a magazine and helps move the reader down the purchase funnel, so marketers still have all of the benefits and awareness – to make impressions, tell brand stories, beautiful imagery etc. – and brings the reader to purchase though Amazon. “We, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, and Amazon, want assurance that it's the best experience for the consumer,” she said.

The two Hearst brands have the benefit of scale and data. Lagani said they know the Seventeen and Cosmopolitan audiences are consuming their content on social platforms and also shopping on social platforms. Millennials prefer to shop online and they spend an average of six hours a week doing so, Lagani said. 

That’s why they built into this partnership an option for readers to buy directly from the magazine pages, through See, Love, Shop! virtual Amazon storefronts, or through shoppable listicle stories on and Selections of this content will also be posted on the brands’ Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.  

Advertisers partnering with Seventeen and Cosmopolitan included Olay, Neutrogena, Herbal Essences and Covergirl, among others. “As partners, they will feature shoppable native content along with brand advertising in the magazines as well as shoppable articles and stories on Cosmopolitan and Seventeen’s digital and social channels,” according to a release.

“The vision was to take our media platforms and make them shoppable in a way that consumers want them,” Lagani said. “The really cool thing is that no one has ever done this - you've never been able to shop directly from the pages of a magazine with one click to go directly to Amazon and buy.”

Lagani said she expects this ecommerce program to catch on like wildfire. “It’s still early, but at the moment we and Amazon are really happy with the early results,” she said. “We’re already working on new ideas with Amazon.”

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