Real Simple will let smartphone users buy products showcased in its first-ever “idea home,” an apartment located in Brooklyn, New York, according to a statement. The women’s interest magazine will release the Real Simple Home app on September 21 as its October issue hits newsstands.
Arm & Hammer, Garnier, Glade, Lutron, Minted, Mrs. Meyers and Sherwin-Williams are the idea home’s first seven sponsors that will display how their wares help people decorate, organize and make the most of their living space. Circa Lighting, Garnet Hill, Homepolish, Joss & Main, Living Spaces and the Shade Store also provided products to Real Simple.
Each room of the idea home, including the bathroom, kitchen, master bedroom and laundry room, will combine the magazine’s best ideas for form and functionality. Real Simple also partnered with Win, the biggest provider of shelter for homeless families, to raise awareness for the charity.
Real Simple’s mobile app that lets people buy products featured in its idea home and magazine pages is another example of how publishers have adapted their business strategies amid declining print circulation. The Brooklyn installation provides a physical experience that could the brand create deeper relationships with visitors. Extending that experience onto mobile through a shopping app addresses how shopping is increasingly a multichannel experience, with consumers looking for inspiration both offline and online and wanting a choice for where they complete the shopping journey.
Real Simple, which Meredith acquired as part of its $2.8 billion takeover of Time in January, has gradually expanded its readership from print into digital media. It also has licensed its imprint for home products at Bed, Bath & Beyond, stationery and paper goods at TJ Maxx, floral collections at 1-800-Flowers, among other products. In March, Real Simple licensed its first line of memory foam mattresses, per MediaPost. Meredith has a history of developing wide-raning marketing partnerships for its brands, most notably for Allrecipes.
Real Simple’s mobile commerce plans follow the introduction in July of its Real Simple Shop, an online shopping site for its branded products and other curated items. The shop has buying guides to help readers make purchase decisions among its hundreds of products. In June, Meredith introduced the Real Simple Cooking School, a multiplatform series that teaches viewers the basics of cooking along with ideas to help meal planning. Real Simple’s Facebook Live cooking videos have an average of 85,000 viewers a week, per a statement. Real Simple also has two apps to help people make to-do lists.
Real Simple is among the media companies that have sought to boost their e-commerce offerings, including the New York Times, Washington Post, BuzzFeed and The Chive. Most recently, Good Media Group, publisher of Upworthy and Good Magazine, rolled out the PSA Supply Co., a clothing brand created with Social Imprints, an ethical product manufacturing company, per Digiday. Bleacher Report last month started selling a collection of soccer jerseys in time for the FIFA World Cup final. Rappers including 21 Savage, Vince Staples and Vic Mensa helped to design the jerseys, which cost $80 apiece and sold out in three days, per a separate Digiday report.