Elle Magazine’s Location Celebration: ShopNow Effort Drove Half-Million In-Store Visits

Swirl’s beacons drove an average 12 percent engagement rate across Barnes & Nobles, Levi’s, Guess, and Vince Camuto outlets.

Elle Magazine is claiming a success for its big experiment with location targeting and indoor proximity marketing in honor of its 30th anniversary September issue.

Elle's 30th Anniversary issue, with actress Keira Knightley on the September cover, will promote the mag's Shop Now! program.
Elle’s 30th Anniversary issue, with actress Keira Knightley on the September cover, will promote the mag’s Shop Now! program.

The magazine’s executives are hailing its extensive partnership that included Swirl Networks on beacons, coupon marketplace RetailMeNot and ShopAdvisor on mobile app deals, and proximity specialist Gimbal, which handled some geofencing in certain cases.

The effort, dubbed Shop Now!, coincided nicely with the fall fashion previews that Hearst-owned Elle and other women’s clothing-centric magazines unveil starting in late August. Over the course of September and October, the ShopNow! Program delivered 500,000 in-store visits and more than 12 percent content engagement rate for participating retailers Barnes & Nobles, Levi’s, Guess, and Vince Camuto across the country. Over 700 physical stores took part in the promotion.

“The in-market success of our Shop Now! program exceeded our expectations, and also achieved one of our major goals — to activate an initiative that would be a retail traffic-driver for our brand partners,” said Kevin O’Malley, SVP/Publisher of Elle, in a statement. “This unique first-to-market opportunity to merge Elle’s fashion authority with location-based mobile technology to inspire and inform the consumer when in market is a great example of the growing intersection between fashion/retail/tech and its consumer impact.”

Push notifications were delivered to shoppers in and around the 700 outlets represented by Elle’s retail brand partners. The notifications included specially tailored messages, offers, and shopping suggestions from Elle style editors directed at consumers while they were shopping in-store.

The target audience included over 25 million users of the RetailMeNot and ShopAdvisor mobile apps. The Hearst magazine plans to expand the Shop Now! program into next year.

Swirl's Hilmi Ozguc
Swirl’s Hilmi Ozguc

“The success of this program further demonstrates the power of beacon marketing to drive meaningful business results for retailers, brands and publishers,” said Hilmi Ozguc, Swirl’s founder and CEO. “By combining trusted editorial content with highly relevant offers, and delivering them directly to consumers while they were shopping, Elle was able to create a win-win for consumers and brand advertisers. In 2016, we expect to see more publishers, advertisers, and retailers utilizing beacon technology to connect the physical and digital worlds for shoppers. Congratulations to Elle for being the first major publisher to recognize this tremendous opportunity.”

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.