DME14: RCS MediaGroup’s eCommerce strategy

Alceo Rapagna, Chief Digital Officer for RCS MediaGroup in Italy, made a great case for entering the full-fledged eCommerce market during his presentation at Digital Media Europe in London.

by WAN-IFRA Staff | April 7, 2014

RCS MediaGroup is an international multimedia publishing group that operates in daily newspapers, magazines and books, radio broadcasting, new media and digital and satellite TV. It is also one of the leading operators in advertising sales and distribution markets. Rapagna shared the company’s top 5 digital priorities, but used his presentation to share what the company has learned over the past couple of years systematically experimenting in the eCommerce space.

“So quite simply, this shows that we probably will not survive if we don’t get involved now,” he said.

That resulting poll among the audience about the digital and traditional media mix growth rates and why publishing is not enough was backed up by research from Global Magna that showed it would perhaps take seven years to break even on the digital side and 13 to return to actual revenues.

The second reason to get involved, quite simply, has he pointed out is there is a massive amount of money being exchanged in this sector.

The third reason: customer insights. Through shopping, and numerous other eCommerce engagements, companies and publishers can gather incredibly valuable amounts of customer data and value to help cater their offers and drive new revenues.

So why not play the eCommerce advertising game vs. being a pure player?

The performance is so poor, he says, on click rates for advertising that it is a losing affair. Also, to find or hire the right and numerous specialists to truly generate real revenue would present a daunting challenge.

Therefore, RCS launched a “three-wave” strategy:

1) Leveraging its powerbrand for extended editorial commerce;

2) Enable eCommerce, targeting its content verticals in partnership with digital specialists; and

3) Structurally pursuing all opportunities for contextual commerce.

With this strategy, Rapagna said the company calculated that it could increase its revenues 10 times over three years.

What have they learned for monetisation and metrics?

When you do contextual:

  • Traditional eCommerce KPIs go up 5-10 percent
  • Mobility 3-5 times more
  • Bundling 2-4 more
  • Real-time 2-4
  • Personalisation 2-3

And big lessons learned?

“You must define clear rules of engagement with newsrooms, exactly what you can do and trace the boundaries Don’t do it yourself – partner with eCommerce specialists, but retain consumers. Link eCom and CRM technologies, deploying the power of consumer data.”

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