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Shoppable Entertainment Is The Latest Evolution Of Ecommerce

August 11, 2020 Sarah Cavill

Shoppable entertainment, the merging of commerce and creative streaming and video content, is gaining momentum, particularly as consumers get increasingly comfortable with ecommerce solutions. Brands that are open to new ecommerce innovations like shoppable entertainment can reach new users by offering seamless buying opportunities that appeal to younger, dialed-in consumers increasingly looking for ways to engage with content.

By providing a holistic experience where the lines between engaging in content and initiating transactions are blended, brands can offer a more complete experience and get to know their consumers better. VentureBeat explains, “These shoppable video experiences meet the viewers where they are, have the potential to unlock valuable user data, and empower brands to connect with consumers through more meaningful interactions.” 

Shoppable Video Campaigns Allow Consumers To Buy Directly And Digital Marketers To Leverage Data For Personalization

Shoppable entertainment isn’t a new concept. Brands and consumers alike have been talking about how to buy their favorite whatever from their favorite TV shows since the eighties and earlier, and many of those consumer desires evolved into infomercials and home shopping channels. The rise of the internet, online shopping and the growing popularity of creative video content are now converging to make a more refined, seamless and integrated version of those earlier shoppable entertainment experiences.

Shutterstock_1453316822 Young beautiful Indian woman using her mobile phone while sitting in the armchair at home

Shoppable videos, which can include 360-degree showrooms, product galleries and video streamed fashion shows, are all becoming increasingly common with fashion designers. According to The Drum, Ted Baker, All Saints and ASOS have all run shoppable video campaigns, noting, the “first week of Ted Baker’s shoppable video units being live on its site, it tracked $70,000 worth of clothing sales through the video.” And, other kinds of merchants have also found success, with some seeing an increase of 30% in conversion rates from shoppable video search results.

Video campaigns can also be served as ads, particularly on social media platforms, with users clicking to see tagged products and making purchases directly from the ad or being directed to a website. (When Instagram rolled out their Shopping channel in 2018, the social media juggernaut revealed that 90 million users tap on shopping posts to see the product tags every month.)

By understanding consumer preferences and gathering first party data through clicks, fill forms and purchases, brands can also offer hyper personalization of video campaigns. And, increasingly specific targeting and creative campaigns can change in real time based on user choices and profiles. The Drum notes, “Data-driven, dynamic video can enable advertisers to present only relevant products to consumers and optimize the shopping experience to the natural behaviours of whatever screen they are on.”

Aligning Storytelling And Shoppable Entertainment Can Offer Authentic Connections

Today’s streamers are savvy, and have high expectations of brands and the experiences they provide. Connection, authenticity, transparency and creativity tend to resonate more with the modern consumer, which Amazon hoped to achieve with its interactive reality series Making the Cut. Amazon tapped the very popular, original hosts of Project Runway, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, to host their new shoppable reality series. Like Project Runway, designers competed in various fashion challenges with Klum and Gunn’s guidance, and this time some of the designs could be purchased. Viewers grew attached to certain designers and the storytelling that accompanies the experience, which likely drove their purchasing decisions.

The shoppable entertainment experience wasn’t without its hiccups, but the items sold out immediately and it’s likely this is just the beginning for similar programming from Amazon and other retailers. 

Offering Shoppable Entertainment Through Tiered Subscription Streaming Services Taps Into Current Consumer Behaviors

The Spirits Network is a digital streaming subscription service for premium spirits connoisseurs. Interested consumers can subscribe to different levels of streaming programming packages, and enjoy programming that features experts and celebrities talking about everything from the best whiskeys to the best techniques for making cocktails. The shopping starts when a specific bottle is mentioned during a show, a “buy-bar” pop-up appears, viewers can select it and be taken to the purchasing page for a seamless, one-click transaction. Viewers can also choose certain shows that match their interests, creating a profile that can be used for future recommendations or programming options. Depending on locations, bottles may be delivered within hours or a couple days, and some markets also offer monthly “curated spirits boxes and artisanal accessories.”

Shutterstock_1250604211 Friends toasting with glasses of whiskey indoors, closeup

Although the Spirits Network has been around since 2019, the idea may be even more appealing to consumers now that Americans have adapted their alcohol purchasing to include delivery. Ecommerce sales of alcohol rose five-fold in the early weeks of April compared to last year, and Drizly is one of the big winners of the new consumer behaviors, with sales increasing 300%. 

For digital marketers, the increase in ecommerce options has created new opportunities for advertising and targeting. In the case of the Spirits Network, their streaming model offers an additional outlet for sponsored content and affiliate sales for featured brands, while the Spirits Network brand itself has created a platform to sell their products that’s creative, innovative and easy to use. From VentureBeat, “As brands and creators continue to blur the line between shopping and entertainment — and, in turn, commerce and content — those who create the most seamless experiences will be able to stay ahead of the competition and drive real impact.” Shoppable entertainment brings streaming audiences closer to a brand’s messaging and keeps them in the content they elected to consume.

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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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