Shoppable Marketing This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year once again, when retailers rub their hands with glee at the increasingly frantic Christmas shoppers darting in and out of stores and loading their online shopping baskets ready for next day delivery. But what if you could sit watching your favourite winter drama, complete with blanket and a cup of tea, and do your shopping directly from the adverts you see on the TV? What if that gadget you saw from your favourite brand was one click away on YouTube? Didn’t anyone tell you about shoppable marketing? Well, this week OTB has a treat for you…

What Is It?

Shoppable marketing is, quite literally, what it says on the tin. Say Monica appears with a tin in a Friends episode as you’re watching re-runs on YouTube. Low and behold, you click the tin and are transported to a parallel supermarket universe, where you can buy said tin. Beans. Tomatoes. You name it, with shoppable marketing the opportunity is there at your fingertips.

Such a simple concept is actually far more exciting than stocking up your cupboards for the winter months. In marketing terms, the potential of shoppable marketing to drive digital marketing into a new arena and open up new avenues for experiential, lifestyle-driven campaigns which engage the consumer instantly and directly with the brand is staggering.

Who started it?

While shoppable marketing has had potential for some time, it was a while before major brands began to tap into this opportunity and experiment with it as a key marketing tool.

A good example of an early mover is ASOS, as back in summer 2014 they launched their campaign #asseenonme. Hailed as the ‘precursor of a change in how retail perceives advertising’ by The Guardian, the campaign encouraged shoppers to share photos of themselves wearing ASOS clothing on social media. Anybody then searching the hashtag #asseenonme could buy the item, with ASOS ensuring every image was linked to the relevant product page. By ‘cleverly ma[king] this customer-generated social content shoppable,’ ASOS was able to create a seamless shopping experience which utilised multiple channels and harnessed the power of social media fashion trends and sharing habits.

What does this mean for the holiday season?

If ever there was a time to test the potential demand for shoppable marketing, the time is now. With such demand for a faster, more efficient, pain free Christmas shopping experience, many big names have joined the shoppable marketing bandwagon and begun to test the boundaries of clickable content.

Take audio and technology company Beats for example, who just last week released their Christmas advertisement featuring shoppable content on its YouTube version. Featuring US comedian Tracy Morgan (of Saturday Night Live fame), complete with Christmas onesie, talking about his year-round generosity in the hope of getting a pair of Beats headphones for Christmas, the advert encourages viewers to click through to the Beats store and purchase the product they’ve just seen. Marketing Magazine commented, ‘this appears to be the first shoppable YouTube ad by Apple-owned Beats, and marks an e-commerce push during the all-important holiday period.’

Other recent examples of holiday season shoppable marketing include House of Fraser, who amid the Black Friday retail rush offered shoppable windows to its customers. Using augmented reality technology users were able to scan a shape in the glass and receive information about House of Fraser’s Black Friday deals, allowing them to avoid the shopping process completely and collect their item in store once it was ready.

According to a recent article by Marketing Week, House of Fraser commented ‘We want to bring a whole new dimension to the term window shopping. I see this as something that will be permanent across all of our stores as it means the offline world is always open and can start to join up, but also compete, with the online side of our business.’

What does this mean for marketing?

The popularity of shoppable marketing this holiday season demonstrates a long term trend in marketing towards an experiential, content rich marketing experience which aims to create a long term relationship and continuous dialogue with consumers. According to Adobe’s digital marketing blog ‘the trend is clear: Online shopping experiences are becoming less commerce-centric and more content-driven.’ Adobe highlights that with an ever-increasing demand for mobile-optimised content and a seamless, cross-channel experience, shoppable marketing could be the answer to many a campaign success.

Econsultancy has likewise hailed shoppable marketing as the ‘missing piece of your marketing strategy’, claiming that while shoppable video has not yet become a mainstream marketing tool, it could (and should) be readily integrated into marketing strategies and become the next big thing for many a brand. Econsultancy argues that ‘just this year alone over more than 100 million hours of how-to videos were watched and one in three millennials have made a purchase as a result of watching a tutorial.’ They emphasise that ‘shoppable video has great potential as products and services are linked elegantly to those featured in a video as part of an overall marketing campaign.’

With several more weeks of holiday season marketing and retail frenzy awaiting us, here at OTB we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for the next big name to follow this latest marketing buzz and buy into the huge potential of shoppable marketing. Beans, anyone?

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