By NOPHAKHUN LIMSAMARNPHUN
The Thai partner has six magazines under its umbrella: two Thai titles, Image and IN, and four international titles – Her World, Maxim, Madame Figaro and Attitude – said Niamh Byrne, chief operating officer of IQNECT.
She said the new technology served as a bridge to bring offline media to the online world, allowing magazine readers to have instant shopping and other experiences using their mobile devices.
By downloading the IQNECT app, readers can access videos, claim coupons and other offers, and purchase goods by snapping printed magazines with their phones.
Byrne said IQNECT, a start-up business founded in Singapore in April last year, had tapped into the Singaporean, Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian markets, where there are high penetration rates of mobile devices and fast Internet connections.
In Thailand, the six magazine titles have a combined circulation of around 700,000 copies, according to an industry source.
Byrne said the visual-search and mobile-commerce technology delivered via the application meant companies could take advantage of a data-driven approach to marketing and sales, as well as real-time management of their brand assets linked to online ads.
In addition to magazines, the technology allows brand interaction on other media, such as television.
While the readership of print magazines has declined in recent years, there are still audiences preferring the feel and touch of print editions to the online versions, especially among readers of lifestyle magazines, she said.
From the consumers’ point of view, she added, those in the “millennial” generation – that is, people born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s – have a preference for an instant shopping experience that is easy, frictionless and seamless, while marketers need real-time data for brand management.
“We challenge the belief that print is a dying medium. Visual search acts as a bridge between the sumptuous tactility of print media and instant responsiveness of mobile commerce. The technology enhances readers’ magazine experience by connecting them with content and mobile-commerce options related to what they are reading.
“For publishers and brands, this means the point of inspiration and point of sale can now be virtually indistinguishable, thus lowering drop-off rates and raising the return on creative campaigns,” she explained.
For example, Her World Thailand, the first of Bangkok-based C True’s magazines to have the IQNECT app, will allow readers to see videos and product offers by taking photos of the magazine’s cover, features and selected advertisements.
Later on, in November, readers will be able to make purchases of the exact or similar products found in the magazine’s pages. All these purchases will be processed without the readers leaving the app to deliver the seamless buying experience, said the chief operating officer.
Laikram Lerdvitayapasit, managing director of C True, said: “Magazine readers and consumers are generally accustomed to photographing and sharing print media, so the new platform allows publishers to monetise this behaviour in a clearly quantifiable way that boosts reader engagement with content in a fast and intuitive platform for more creative latitude in ad and marketing campaigns.”