The Future of Home Shopping: An App
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.”
- Samsung partners with Marks & Spencer to become the first UK retail partner for Samsung SMART TV – Samsung
- M&S lifestyle app hints at future of shopping – The Grocer
- Ensequence brand video – Ensequence
- Samsung leading the interactive TV revolution – gigaom
- 88% Of Marketers Still To Develop Connected Tv Strategy – Adjustyourset.tv
Discussion Questions: How may internet-connected TVs transform the at-home shopping experience? What will this mean for retailers?