Show and sell

How do I increase my sales? That’s the fundamental challenge most retailers face. And so they are finding new ways to woo shoppers through in-store promotions, e-mailers and messages showering them with discounts and offers. Tech-savvy retailers even use social media to entice shoppers to buy new products.

Shoppable Media is a new way to make people shop. Though still in its nascent stage, retailers are exploring its potential, especially in developed markets like the US and the UK. Even China is warming up to this concept with several tests being carried out.

What is it?
Shoppable Media enables shoppers to buy online the products being featured in a video. This gives them a depiction of how the product looks or functions. It leads to a higher involvement with a product, resulting in an increased chance of it being purchased either on-line or through a physical store. The video can be featured either on a company website, YouTube or on social media websites.

Currently, the front-runners in this trend are fashion brands like Gucci, Levi’s, Only and Juicy Couture. Non-fashion retailers such as Target (in the US), Home Base and Sanctuary Spa too are experimenting with shoppable media.

The scope
The medium can be used by various products and services such as apparel, fashion accessories and jewelry, footwear, home décor, cosmetics, watches, kitchen appliances, consumer durables, spas, travel and tour and even hotels. For example, in fashion, shoppable media can help the viewer shop the ‘entire look’ of the characters being featured in the video.

In India, the concept is yet to be tested. But with the number of internet users increasing, there is definitely a scope for using this technology. Since visuals have a higher impact, merging visuals with internet shopping could be the next evolution.

India potential
Manoj Kulkarni, Director, Consumer Insights, Nielsen is of the view that with an increase in bandwidth and connectivity, more and more video content would be viewed on the net. With smartphone adoption, content viewing on devices could add to the spontaneity of the purchases as well as richness in real-time decision making.

RAI CEO Kumar Rajagopalan feels that the Indian customers adopt global trends in shopping quickly if given a chance; especially if it is technology-based or a new method of shopping experience. Shoppable media is going through its avatars and various people across the world are experimenting with it. Customers are happier to use their own devices to do shopping. They are willing to use phones and hand-held devices. It is a race for retailers to get share of time of consumers. Hence things like shoppable devices help engage better with customers.

Sridhar Hari, Global Retail Executive, IBM, feels shoppable media has potential in India. Brands that are already using video as a medium to encourage shopping, can take it to the next level by making the video shoppable. “The real challenge is in execution and scaling it up. Back-end operations and processes related to payments, fulfilment and related services must be flawless and needs to be aligned well with customer expectations,” he says.

The Indian shopper is still evolving. When interviewed, a few shoppers said they were more likely to purchase a product if they see it in a video; however, they would rather go to a brick-and-mortar store to make the actual purchase.

Although it may take a few years for India to totally adopt this technology, retailers should gear up to test it. It will be interesting to see which retailer will go for the first mover advantage.

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Simran Ahuja

Simran Ahuja

Simran Ahuja has over seven years of rich experience in market research with Nielsen in the FMCG and retail domain. She holds a Masters degree in Business Administration in operations and marketing and a Bachelors degree in Technology.
Simran Ahuja

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