Why Shoppable Video is the Future of Online Retail

shoppable video

What if you could instantly purchase one of your favorite TV characters’ outfits? With shoppable video, that dream may soon be a reality. The concept of shoppable video has been in the eCommerce consciousness for nearly two decades. Entrepreneur Seth Godin famously explained the reason for its popularity—“people do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

So What Is Shoppable Video?

What is shoppable video?

Shoppable video is just one form of shoppable content; other forms include articles and images. Shoppable video allows a viewer to purchase clothing or other items in a video directly from that video. The idea hinges on our desire to immediately purchase something we like but don’t know where to buy. British department store, Marks and Spencer, created shoppable video content for their new denim collection, which allows the viewer to pause and shop at any point throughout the video.

Juicy Couture offers something similar in their full length advertisement below. Model Candice Swanepoel rocks the purchasable outfits alongside a rendition of “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” The video captures the moments and magic Godin refers to while simultaneously selling the collection, one item at a time. It sure beats scrolling through a catalog.

These videos may be effective, but the nuances of user behavior are blocking shoppable video from becoming a widespread phenomenon. One big reason shoppable video is not universally available is because marketers don’t expect viewers to pause in the middle of a video they’re enjoying to shop. But experts may have found a solution.

The Bookmarking Phenomenon

To work around the issue of how to instantly purchase an item while watching a video, the concept of next-generation social bookmarking allows anyone to bookmark an item of choice for later without stopping a video. We’ve seen this sort of feature in online retailers already. Think Amazon’s “save for later” feature.

shoppable video idea on Amazon

Shoppable and ShopStyle are currently working to build universal shopping carts. This way, users can store products from multiple retailers in one cart. If achieved, the trend is sure to please the modern, millennial consumer, who prefers easy and instant shopping.

The Missing Link

The next step in the process is creating the link between the content viewed and the cart. The final goal of shoppable video is to develop a way to buy products from videos without a cart at all.

According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, mobile devices account for 40% of the time we spend online. It is also the preferred method for browsing the web. Most online shopping is still done from the desktop, but if the shoppable video trend is perfected, mobile shopping could replace that.

Martin Williams, Creative Director at Tony Lintner theorizes, “Once people perfect that experience in terms of clicking on things in a video, I think that’s going to be the golden nugget.”

For now we can simply enjoy the trend in the limited videos that do use it and anticipate a time when the stylish get-ups of Barney Stinson or Olivia Pope can instantly become ours.