Finding the holy grail of ecommerce

Tal Chalozin Photo: David Pexton
Tal Chalozin Photo: David Pexton

Innovid's CTO Tal Chalozin explains how shoppable video will work, allowing viewers to buy clothes worn by the stars, at the push of a button.

The dream of being able to buy a product directly from a TV show dates back to the beginning of the new millennium. At industry conferences around the world, executives spoke longingly of a future in which viewers of the then-popular sitcom Friends could see star actress Jennifer Aniston wearing a fashionable sweater, and then, with the push of a button, purchase that very sweater for themselves.

But despite the many technological breakthroughs over the past 15 years, this holy grail of ecommerce is not yet a reality for the vast majority of consumers.

One of the main reasons shoppable video has yet to become a widespread phenomenon is user behavior. While there are certainly instances where people are so excited by a new product that they are ready to buy it right away, most video viewers want to continue watching their content without interruption. If youre about to see the resolution of an epic cliffhanger on Scandal or a laugh-out-loud funny video from your favorite YouTuber, purchasing a new pair of shoes may just have to wait a few minutes.

For shoppable video to reach its true potential, marketers and technologists must enable a slightly delayed purchase response.

Next-generation bookmarking is the missing piece

Even if someone isnt in the shopping state of mind while theyre watching a particular piece of content, theres great value in creating awareness, excitement, and the opportunity for them to make an informed purchase decision at some point down the road.

Crucial to this philosophy is the development of an idea I like to call next-generation bookmarking, or the capability for consumers to see a product in a video and revisit it after theyve finished watching their content. Already, weve seen how platforms like Pinterest have helped consumers move from browsing to purchase consideration by giving them a place to store product pages and other content containing goods they might like to buy. The reason these platforms have caught on is that they allow people to bookmark their desired products seamlessly, and without interrupting their browsing and content consumption behaviors. They also provide a choice environment for people to compare the pros and cons of the various items theyve earmarked.

Still, theres a big opportunity to take these bookmarking platforms to the next level by linking them directly to the point of purchase and making it easier to single out individual products from the video content people are consuming. While its nice that someone can save a video containing a pair of sunglasses to their Pinterest page, a truly next-generation bookmarking tool would allow the consumer to save the product itself to a shopping cart where they could purchase it directly -- all without leaving the video they were watching.

Many companies would love to be the preferred bookmarking tool for shopping. From aggregators like Pinterest and Lyst, to browser extensions like Amazon Assistant and Wikibuy, and the retailers themselves, its clear theres a true need for a seamless integration between the content viewing platform and the keeper of precious finds to help streamline the digital shopping experience.

Universal shopping carts, prepare for video

Once these next-generation bookmarking tools are in place, the sky is the limit for shoppable video. Due to its unique combination of sight, sound and motion, video allows brands to connect with people on an emotional level that simply isnt available with display ads and other mediums. And with global retail ecommerce sales set to top $2 trillion this year, web users have never been more comfortable making purchases online.

As you read this, companies like Shoppable and ShopStyle are hard at work building universal shopping carts capable of allowing users to store products from a variety of retailers in a single location one click away from checkout. In the not-too-distant future, consumers will be able to use a single shopping cart for all of their ecommerce activity. All thats missing is the link between the video content people love and the shopping cart that holds the products they want to buy next.

Indeed, the future of shoppable video is well within our reach. With a slight reimagination of how we consider the format and a few pieces of instrumental technology, marketers will have an unprecedented opportunity to inspire demand, collapse the marketing funnel, and move buyers further along the path to purchase. One day soon, consumers will be able to identify and purchase their favorite actresss sweater without hassle or delay -- whenever they feel comfortable doing so.

Tal Chalozin is cofounder and CTO of video marketing platform Innovid. He previously cofounded Israel-based GarageGeeks, a non-profit hacker space and innovation hub. He also served as an officer in an elite computer unit in the Israeli Air Force. He presently serves as a board member for the IABs Digital Video Center of Excellence, and for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, one of the Best Young European Entrepreneurs by Businessweek, and was recently inducted into Multichannel News 40 Under 40 Class of 2016. He owns several global patents for interactive TV, advertising delivery technology, and advanced measurement tools. You can follow him on Twitter: @Chalozin.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on September 12, 2016

Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2016

Tal Chalozin Photo: David Pexton
Tal Chalozin Photo: David Pexton
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