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Buzzfeed Ecommerce Platform: Just The Facts

August 10, 2020 Sarah Cavill

In an effort to manage their readers’ shopping experience from beginning to end, BuzzFeed has partnered with commerce platform Bonsai to launch an ecommerce experience that eliminates the middleman, and helps BuzzFeed drive revenue.

“What we’ve seen through the ongoing pandemic is the benefit of diversifying our commerce capabilities in the same way we’ve diversified our business model, and the power of leaning into our digital advantages as consumers increasingly shift to online shopping,” said Nilla Ali, Senior Vice President of Commerce at Buzzfeed.

How Does The BuzzFeed Ecommerce Platform Work?

Shutterstock_1095588101 KONSKIE, POLAND - MAY 18, 2018: BuzzFeed website displayed on smartphone hidden in jeans pocket

Native content in the form of articles and listicles, familiar to BuzzFeed readers, will include items from retail partners with a “Quick View” button below each featured item. The Quick View button sends items to shoppers’ carts for purchase directly from BuzzFeed immediately or when returning to their carts later. Shoppers are not directed away from BuzzFeed at any point during the transaction, allowing BuzzFeed to own the entire consumer journey and gain larger commissions  around 25%, a 15% increase over affiliate links that take shoppers to another retailer’s website.

Articles like “20 Things From e.l.f. That'll Show You Can Go Cruelty-Free On A Budget,” was written in support of e.l.f. Cosmetics, one of the first retailers partnering with BuzzFeed on the ecommerce platform. Articles that support the new ecommerce platform live on a separate product-focused site, BuzzFeed Shopping, exclusively for native content, and may indicate at the top that BuzzFeed receives a portion of compensation from any purchases.

Is BuzzFeed Eliminating Their Affiliate Business?

No. Affiliate sales will continue to be an integral part of BuzzFeed’s revenue plans, including its ongoing relationships with major retailers like Walmart and Amazon, who have been the “bedrock” of BuzzFeed’s affiliate business for years. According to Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed Founder and CEO, BuzzFeed content drove more than $425 million in attributable transactions in 2019. “This [ecommerce] strategy is intended to be an enhancement to our current affiliate business, not competitive to our existing partnerships,” said Ali. 

How Can The BuzzFeed Ecommerce Platform Help Digital Marketers?

As shoppers increasingly move their purchasing power online, especially while the pandemic continues, opportunities for brands to partner with publishers via ecommerce platforms could be an effective way to get in front of new audiences and meet consumers where they are. Innovations in ecommerce are becoming the norm and brands that can capitalize on new technologies or platforms could increase brand loyalty and revenues. “Creating our own ecommerce platform gives us the opportunity to own the entire user journey and create an even deeper, more direct relationship with our readers,” said Ali. “We know that we drive meaningful discovery for our audiences, and we’re now focused on collapsing that journey from discovery to conversion.”

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About the Author

Sarah Cavill

With more than 20 years of writing, editing and reporting experience, Sarah Cavill brings to Digital Media Solutions (DMS) a fine-tuned and diverse set of skills. Her work has been featured in notable publications including The Daily Muse, CBS Local, Techlicious and Glamour magazine. Sarah has a passion for current events and the deep-dive research that goes into the content development and brand identity of DMS Insights. In her role as Senior Marketing Communications Writer, Sarah contributes to the pitching, researching and writing of multiple stories published each week surrounding digital and performance marketing innovations in pop culture, news, social media, branding and advertising.

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