Consumer Psychology for a Digital Age

2013: The Year of Shoppable Video?

What do Gucci, Juicy Couture, Neiman Marcus, Barney’sSSenseTargetASOS, HomeBase, and The Sanctuary Spa have in common?  They are all early adopters of shoppable videos, now an integrated part of YouTube functionality.  Click on an item of furniture, apparel or cosmetics in a YouTube video and an embedded hot link takes you to a product page, or puts the item in a browsing basket to look at later.

These shoppable videos are a tantalising glimpse of the future of social commerce.  Beyond social commerce, we believe shoppable video represents the future of advertising and product placement and we think we’ll see a whole lot more of shoppable video in 2013. At WPP digital agency group Syzygy, we’ve worked up the shoppable video into a concept app, codenamed GOAB (see video below).

Imagine this.  You’re watching the latest Bond movie, Skyfall; you touch (or old skool  – click) Daniel Craig’s Tom Ford suit and the suit is placed into your personal smart locker for you to view, customise and buy later. Or better still, when you see something you like in a movie, you tap your (dimmed) smartphone screen (or use gesture-control connectivity with the smartphone app) – and second screen simultaneous streaming technology captures a screenshot, with hotspots over products linking to product pages. Same goes for ads; tap or gesture to add the product to your shopping list – simple, non-invasive and useful. Checkout how movie theatres are rolling out in-theatre digital services for the hard of hearing or visually impaired.  A tweak of this technology could enable a shopping stream along with movies.

So you heard it here first: 2013 will be the year of the shoppable video in social commerce and beyond.  It won’t be perfect; mere Platonic shadows of what is to come.  We’ll have to crack the nut of intentionality for starters – people watch video for entertainment, not to shop – but we’ve been dealing with this intentionality disconnect for years with social commerce – and we have some solutions. But expect big advertising groups to be all over shoppable video like a rash.  The digital convergence of advertising begins with the shoppable video.  Watch this space.


Interested in making GOAB concept app reality? Contact Susan at Syzygy.

Comments (18):

    • Paul Marsden

      December 6, 2012 at 19:16

      Hi Rachel – thanks for the comment and heads-up on your great piece. We share some thinking, although I’m a little more bullish than you on shoppable videos… If the ad industry does it right, and doesn’t reduce itself to direct response ads, but just nudges people – I think shoppable video has a bright future… And for product placement it’s a no-brainer. Every movie download site should include shoppable credits in videos – linking to a movie shop for merchandise and products that have been placed…

    • Doc

      July 18, 2016 at 05:50

      Wow! Great to find a post knokcing my socks off!

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  1. Sarah Titterton

    December 18, 2012 at 18:43

    We’ve been using shoppable video for a little while on our publisher videos. For us it has always been a cost issue, there are loads of services out there offering clickable and shoppable videos for some expense. We’ve found Wirewax pretty awesome in the respect that we can use it time and again as a platform, rather than building up budgets for one-off campaigns ( see Gucci etc ).

    Now I see YouTube are offering their annotations tools to go outside of as well, which is great to get the audiences – but it still feels too clunky to use for our publisher clients. Keeping a keen eye on this over the next year.

  2. Stephen Ward

    March 28, 2013 at 19:49

    This is technology I invented in 1994, I showed it to google a couple of years ago. I gues they were so inspired they ripped off my idea and technology

  3. David McDougall

    April 16, 2014 at 14:13

    Hello. I think this article may have been a bit presumptive, as in 2014 what we’ve been finding at Wired-Films in London is that agencies, retailers and many other sectors have been a bit slow to catch on to the fact that this online video interactivity is going to be the next big thing in engaging viewers. We recently completed this film for Harrods in London in which every single item sold out –

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