Rodale today debuted its online shopping destination Rodale’s. The site is a standalone e-commerce operation that curates and sells what it calls "eco-luxury" goods—apparel, accessories and beauty items in the kitchen, garden, fitness and bed and bath categories. The site’s e-commerce strategy diverges from what the media industry may be used to in a notable way—there’s almost no branding of the company’s magazines, nor is there any direct product tie-ins from magazine advertisers.
Instead, there’s a concerted effort to tap into "conscious consumerism" by offering products that adhere to sustainable production standards. Products, says the company, are certified according to USDA Organic, NATRUE, Natural Products Association, Fair Trade and other guidelines.
Rodale chairman and CEO Maria Rodale had championed the idea of an e-commerce site for a number of years, but the site’s planning and production actually began early last year.
"It’s time for an online store to offer one place to discover stylish, sophisticated products that also provide peace of mind," says Rodale in a statement. "In a world crowded with so many choices—and often misleading information—we no longer have to compromise our health and environmental values, and that’s truly wonderful."
Fulfillment and inventory is handled by Innotrac, says Anthony Astarita, senior vice president/general manager. Rodale’s also works directly with vendors to develop exclusive products.
At launch, the site features more than 140 vendors, 750 styles and 2,300 SKUs, adds Astarita.
While the site skirts direct cross-branding opportunities with Rodale’s magazines, the "Discover" section of the site does feature related article content from Women’s Health and Prevention, but without any links back to the sites.
"Rodale’s is an extension of our business that provides a new layer to the Rodale lifestyle that our brands have espoused since inception, but the site is an independent brand under the Rodale Inc. umbrella," says Astarita. "The company is in a strong position; we’ve just had a record revenue-generating first half, so the timing is right to further diversify into e-commerce and seek out new ways to engage with our audiences."
Marketing will be centered within Rodale Inc.’s magazine brands and digital properties. "Our marketing push for launch includes social channels, digital ads, newsletters and in-book ads across the portfolio of Rodale brands," says Astarita.