NBCUniversal (NBCU) recently announced it was moving up the launch of its Checkout platform. Checkout allows consumers to make purchases from NBCU partners without leaving the NBCU world, whether it’s via branded content, shoppable videos or editorial.
“This is a really unique opportunity for a native shopping experience embedded in content,” said Josh Feldman, EVP of Marketing and Advertising Creative at NBCUniversal.
How Will NBCU’s Checkout Work For Consumers?
Although shoppable content has been around in a variety of ways previously, including from NBCU which deployed QR-code based shopping experiences last fall, the difference Checkout offers is shopping entirely within the NBCU experience. In whatever way users are interacting with NBCU content -- reading, watching, streaming -- there may be opportunities to select featured items from NBCU retail partners, place them in Checkout and buy them all at once.
The manner in which the available items are highlighted will depend on whether it’s branded content, video or editorial. For example, “When someone watches the video, there'll be interactive hotspots where they can learn more about the product while the video's paused and put that product into checkout. If we featured products from multiple retailers, [the shopper] could purchase from those different retailers in one checkout so they only have to put their credit card information in once,” explains Feldman.
What Brand Opportunities Will There Be With NBCU’s Checkout?
Checkout is set to launch in June, so retail partnership conversations are ongoing and not being publicly released yet. However, Checkout is part of the NBCU One Platform advertising suite NBCU announced in February, which emphasizes advertiser and partner relationships across linear and digital channels. “One Platform represents the transformation of our business and our roadmap for the future of advertising,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising and Partnerships at NBCUniversal. “We’re combining storytelling with scale, technology with trust, and innovation with insight — all in service of our viewers and our partners.”
Why Is NBCU Launching Checkout Early?
The Checkout product is being pushed out earlier than previously planned to help struggling retailers shuttered during coronavirus. NBCU is waiving its percentage of cart fees and technology fees charged to retailers for products bought using the Checkout platform, with the hope that Checkout will help brands who need a boost now and encourage them to come on board as long-term retail partners.
“That means a ton of smaller retailers or direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands might want to come in and, instead of doing national TV commercials, [retailers] might want to create a piece of branded content and turn that into a shoppable experience,” said Feldman. The massive loss of revenue from canceled sports is likely another reason NBCU is eager to ramp up additional cash flow, especially with so many people staying at home soaking up content.
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