The content-commerce model has been tricky to pull off. Lucky Magazine, spun off and sold to e-commerce site Beachmint, lasted just a year before it was shut down. Refinery29 also tried e-commerce and backed away from the concept.
But home decor doesn’t have the same online shopping issues as apparel, where issues like fit come into play, Coyle said. He is also bullish about how many of Domino’s readers buy on the site.
“In terms of the data that I’ve analyzed, the ability to convert a reader online to a customer is pretty compelling,” he said.
Domino has attracted 1 million registered users. Twenty thousand customers have made purchases on the site, and 30% of those have made multiple purchases.
The site also operates in the black, Coyle said. It has an ecommerce run rate of $3 million, representing 500% growth in the past two years.
Over the next year, Coyle expects to have expanded Domino’s community. A big question is whether conversion rates for its e-commerce site will remain as strong as the community expands. Domino, which wants to add video content to the site, also has the brand equity to expand into adjacent areas, such as food and entertaining, Coyle said.
With its small but strong brand, Domino is pursuing a model with multiple revenue streams. That includes not only e-commerce and advertising, but also brand licensing, such as bedding that will be available at the Container Store, and an upcoming book on interior design. More media brands will need to think about these models, Coyle said.
“For smaller, nascent or growing media businesses, relying solely on digital ad dollars is tough,” Coyle said. “Unless you have that rarefied seat at the table, like the BuzzFeeds, Vices and Refinery29s of the world, having a diversified business with multiple revenue streams is important.”