Innovative Retail Technologies

SEP-OCT 2016

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Page 26 of 39

Launch event in San Francisco, where he met Savalas Colbert, an e-commerce- centric software engineer who would soon become his business partner. "We spent two years discussing how to merge our skillsets," says Jacobs. "We knew we wanted to work together, but on what?" The culmination of that self- exploration landed the pair on video commerce. "We decided to address an opportunity that we both believe in, and one that would leverage our combined experiences and knowledge. We sought to create something that would allow consumers to buy the things they see on television — from the apparel worn by actors to the products in their on-screen kitchens — right then and there." Of course, Jacobs knew the concept wasn't entirely novel — it's been broached before, but it's never been successful. Still, he was convinced that previous attempts at video commerce were simply victims of ideas ahead of their time. " Today, we have all these smart devices, so we took a deep dive into why video commerce hasn't come to fruition." The duo took the concept to the 2015 Money20/20 Hackathon and won the grand prize. That's when they really realized the concept's potential. "In the Hackathon, you have 24 hours to make something happen. To win, it's got to be fully functional and impressive. We spent those 24 hours doing just that, and Replay, which would become tapReplay, was born." After the event, Money20/20 Hackathon director Rob Wells approached Jacobs and Colbert with an offer to help them move tapReplay forward. Wells' network of executives, built through his work producing Money20/20 and Shoptalk events, exposed tapReplay to MasterCard and Wells Fargo, both of which have taken on advisory roles with the startup. With its technology in place and in beta, tapReplay is now busy lining up content and retail partners. How Video Commerce 2.0 Works To date, attempts at enabling video commerce have been narrow in scope and frustratingly disjointed for the consumer. Some enterprising video commerce providers have been working with individual brands, particularly in fashion, to place individual products in what they believe are critical moments in a program, for instance. "From what we've seen, users just link out of the content and go to an external site to check out. That's an overly complex process that doesn't achieve anything significant and fails to execute for all stakeholders involved, across the board," says Jacobs. " The user experience is fragmented and complex, content creators lose engagement, and merchants have to hope they don't lose people on the way to checkout. It's incremental innovation at best." TapReplay's video commerce platform, on the other hand, lets viewers seamlessly discover, shop, and buy products and services featured in the programming that most inspires them. "What we're building is a solution for retailers and merchants to compete with Amazon through video commerce, and a platform that will completely disrupt the product placement and branded content space," says Jacobs. "It's not just putting a link to a product at a certain time in a video and linking it to a web store. This is an entirely new and scalable platform that will turn every moment of video content into a medium for commerce." The maturation of the technology ecosystem that drives the platform, says Jacobs, is the differentiator between tapReplay and earlier attempts that were limited in scope and scalability. "We're at a point in the development of video commerce where a massive infrastructure build out is no longer necessary. The marriage of existing technologies like smart TVs from Apple, streaming video from Roku, and Amazon's Fire TV Stick is what's different today." By combining these advances, tapReplay is creating a seamless buying experience with fewer clicks and steps. Jacobs eschews the Sept -Oct 2016 24 idea that video commerce can succeed through deep links, several site visits and page views, and multiple screens. A Ripe Market For Video Commerce While Jacobs acknowledges that shoppable video isn't a new idea, he's confident that its failure to this point has been due to technical incapability, a lack of consumer trust and readiness, and retailer loyalty to outdated business models. "We are undoubtedly on the other side of what we see as a fundamental transformation in all those areas. We've seen mass adoption of next-gen commerce and payments apps amongst millennials. We're seeing the emergence of tech-smart TVs and open- access video platforms. And many retailers that are suffering their worst performance U.S. consumers spend an average of 4 hours per night watching television on their couches, and our research indicates that 60 percent of them would like to buy from those couches. Messiah Jacobs co-founder, tapReplay Continued from page 14

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