The Future of Home Shopping: An App

Discussion
Feb 09, 2012

The future, with all its wonders, continues inching closer. Many a year has passed since shopping channels launched, but the ability to make purchases directly through our television sets has been long in coming.

In early February, however, Marks & Spencer became the first retailer to create an app for Samsung’s internet-connected Smart television. A report in The Grocer said the app “offers information on food, fashion, lifestyle and technology trends, as well as recipes, wine and beauty tips.” While consumers cannot buy M&S products through TV sets, Guy Kinnell, Samsung’s UK marketing director, said in a statement that the app offers “a snapshot of how consumers will be able to shop in the future.”

The interactive TV company, Ensequence, claims that interactive television (iTV) increases ratings and revenue, “directly impacting clients’ bottom line” as viewers “want to interact with content and control their entertainment experience on every device capable of delivering video — including the television screen.” Ensequence says its “interactive television connects content to audience, bringing web-like functionality … directly to televisions.” This means “advertising is transformed from a passive branding exercise to an active direct response medium.” Working with the U.S. cable industry, “one of the largest interactive platforms available — Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF)” had allegedly “reached critical mass” with some 25 million households “EBIF ready” in 2010 and a target of 40 million by the end of 2011.

Whether Ensequence achieved their target remains to be seen. But broad skepticism comes from the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) whose survey of 200 members showed “a staggering amount of uncertainty when it comes to internet-connected TVs,” according to Adjust Your Set (which developed the M&S app). An IAB spokesman is quoted as saying they are “waiting for the customer to leap first.”

As for the hardware, Geoffrey Goetz of gigaom.com raved about Samsung’s entry to the interactive television market in 2010, writing “the era of set-top boxes is about to come to an abrupt end.”

Discussion Questions: How may internet-connected TVs transform the at-home shopping experience? What will this mean for retailers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

10 Comments on "The Future of Home Shopping: An App"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Dr. Stephen Needel
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

If you can’t buy from it, not at all. How is this not just another channel?

Tony Orlando
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

It will be just like the internet, only on a larger screen. People will sit around in the pajamas, buying things they don’t need just like QVC. I don’t think it will make shopping at home any greater, just maybe a different way to buy versus your PC.

Max Goldberg
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

For years, the idea of linking televisions to the Internet has been debated and anticipated. The interconnectivity would provide consumers with more options to gather information, make purchases and be entertained. Samsung is the one of the first companies to offer a “smart” television. Look for Apple to do the same. Smart TVs are coming. Will consumers buy them and how will they use them?

Cathy Hotka
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

I saw a television that responded to voice commands like “buy it” at least a dozen years ago at the IBM labs. Perhaps the reason we all don’t own one is that there just isn’t a market for it….

Roger Saunders
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

Speed and access. TV home shopping, while popular with many, still requires viewers to largely focus on “talking heads.” The consumer can’t control the space and time-element.

In an era of the consumer being in charge, the Internet-connected TV leverages the area of growth. In the January Monthly Survey from BIGinsight, 20.4% of the 9,000+ adults surveyed said that they planned to spend MORE on Internet shopping in the next 90 Days. Only 7.0% of respondents said they would be spending MORE on TV home shopping. Nearly one in two (47.4% of adults said they would be spending LESS on TV home shopping.

Retailers will be expanding their customer counts and basket size by the shifting digital opportunity.

Paula Rosenblum
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

Okay, so I was off by 3 months. I predicted TV would become the next selling channel in 2011 (Not like HSN or QVC, more like a cross between this and Project Runway plus when they show you the accessory, you can click to buy. TV and movies are mostly big product placement commercials anyway…why not click to buy?

James Tenser
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

Sounds like pretty soon product placement links will be embedded within every newly produced program and movie, rendering traditional commercials as quaint relics. If you like the talk show guest’s neck-tie, just gesture at your Wii or MS Kinect and Macys.com will send one.

Eerie.

At least when Seinfeld offered, “Snapple?” it was played as a running joke.

But wait! There’s more:

Retailers and brands will learn to watch us watchers from the other side of the screens. (Wear pants!) The feedback could influence local merchandising in stores as well as targeted frequent shopper offers.

My retail tech lizard brain thinks this is all pretty neato, but it leaves my higher-order shopper cerebellum with a yucky feeling — like the boundaries are going all fuzzy. At some point, won’t shoppers tire of being tirelessly influenced?

Matthew Keylock
Guest
Matthew Keylock
10 years 3 months ago

The ability to create a greater interaction is a positive step. I know this is not limited to internet TV, but I think iTV will help accelerate the process. It has the potential to allow users to manage the content and programming they want to see and this also includes the commercials. When you wrap in social, then you could share too, and go straight to “buy.”

I hope this would help me reduce the ridiculous number of channels I can access as well as filter ads, provide feedback, share and even “find out more” or “buy” options.

I hope.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
10 years 3 months ago

My 24-yr-old is already there. Has a TV with PS3 and no cable service provider. Gets everything via the web.

Retailers and CPGers need to team with device makers (Microsoft, Sony, etc.) to integrate on-screen menus, etc. and provide compelling content for the viewer to leverage during the shopping process.

Tim Callan
Guest
Tim Callan
10 years 3 months ago
I’m sorry to be a curmudgeon, but I don’t see the e-commerce enabled TV as a huge player. The reason for that is that the solutions for instant, high quality shopping experiences at home already are robust, usable, proven, understood, and ubiquitous. Start with a little thing called the home computer. Remember that? Well, it turns out that it’s a great home shopping tool that has been so widely adopted by the general populace that now nearly 10% of purchasing is online. Then you have your tablets and smart phones, which probably outnumber the TVs (or at least the high end TVs) in the house. These, it turns out, and pretty darn good online shopping devices as well, and they’re certainly every bit as convenient as shopping on your TV. It’s a widely and consistently measured trend that younger people are turning away from their televisions in greater numbers in favor of the entertainment and communication they can get from these other devices. And the old fogies who are too backward to get an iPad… Read more »
wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

Will American consumers leap at the opportunity to shop by interacting with their televisions?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...