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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since the financial crisis are now being forced to adapt," he says. As merchants and brands struggle, they're certainly opening up to new APIs (application program interfaces) and platforms that extend their commerce reach, and video commerce providers are poised to benefit. "Commerce has evolved. Though the market doesn't even exist yet, video commerce is inevitable and we're going to make it," says Jacobs. He cites Q1 '16 U.S. retail e-commerce sales of $92 billion and product placement revenues of more than $6 billion as proof positive that video commerce is a nascent trend. "We'll grab a share of e-commerce, completely disrupt product placement, and completely redefine that market." Consumer habits, he says, also play into the positive outlook. "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." Jacobs is quick to renounce the idea that the future of retail is omni-channel. While the e-commerce explosion admittedly caught many retailers with their proverbial pants down, playing omni-channel catch- up, he says, is not going to save them. " They might not catch up with Amazon. That shift was too monumental, and for most, the e-commerce opportunity ship has sailed. We don't believe that our platform is omni-channel. Video commerce represents a bigger shift than that, one that will help brands get back to consumers and reestablish themselves." The key, he says, is that reestablishment will take place in the consumer's home, while they're having an inspirational moment and buying not just products, but experiences. Guys watching an episode of Mad Men will want the tie worn by their favorite character. Women watching Sex in the City will want the shoes Carrie is wearing. " There's joy in that micro moment when the consumer is reached where they are and able to enhance the experience by accessing what they want, when they want it without disruption," says Jacobs. The Business Proposition Of Content Commerce Good startups don't just focus on building their products; they focus on the audiences they're building those products for. At tapReplay, those audiences are shoppers, content creators, and brands. "We sell a product to retail brands and content creators. We offer a service to consumers. And we see a significant revenue opportunity in the model." Imagine, he says, that a video content producer uploads its latest episode of a travel series created on Apple T V and viewers could seamlessly book the Paris Airbnb featured in the episode, order a bottle of wine from Drizly, or buy a photo of the Eiffel Tower. "Content creators have a more effective platform for monetization through our network of merchants. Those merchants can instantly convert viewers to shoppers at the 'moment of inspiration,' simplifying the steps between discovery to purchase. And those viewers have the ability to effortlessly curate a lifestyle inspired by their favorite content." Arguably, retailers stand to gain the most. They've missed the e-commerce train. They've been trying through traditional means like advertising and, more recently, product placement to get into the consumer's living room. " Those approaches are based on hope, and they're long-cycle at best," says Jacobs. "With video, in real time, the brand is there. Now they have the distribution mechanism in place to get the product to the consumer, and that's a big win." Fashion, Home Goods, Lifestyle Merchants To Benefit Most Jacobs says that most merchants are surprisingly oblivious to the video commerce concept, often because they're so focused on not getting devoured by Amazon; they're playing catch-up instead of looking ahead. "When it comes to the current deep link video solution on the market, we most often see major fashion brands in the mix," he says. "While we consider that a big market opportunity, we're looking at things like home goods, travel, and food and drink as well." Those segments present opportunities, he says, because they give content creators and retail brands an opportunity to immerse the user into an experience, bring the content to life, and deliver the goods. Jacobs advises those merchants who are interested in video commerce to analyze their product lines and build incrementally, beginning with items that don't require a lot of input on the consumer's part. A New Era Of Commerce The syncopation of several technical and environmental factors that tapReplay is leveraging opens up a new commerce vehicle, and Jacobs says it reaches far beyond a mere addition to the omni-channel strategy. "If merchants view this as simply another channel, they're going to get left behind, just like they did when the introduction of the internet enabled e-commerce. That was more than a channel. It required an utter evolution of strategy, and it's becoming more and more apparent that only a handful of companies realized that. Eventually, the ones that didn't will no longer exist." Video commerce, he says, will breathe life into those who react quickly and will be the final dagger to those who drag their feet. "When this becomes a reality in the near term, it's going to blur the lines of who does what in retail and e-commerce. Everyone will need to rethink their role in this ecosystem as their success becomes inherently tied to content creators, distributors, and creatives." Reflecting on the opportunity before him, Jacobs notes that all big ideas start out small, and from those small ideas entire industries are born. " These small ideas, they are the precursors to big industry shifts. Retail has been doing business a certain way for a long time. It's a new day for retail to become more adaptive and to serve customers in a new environment where everyone is a creator, a consumer, and everyone wants a unique experience in their consumption of goods." That's a prophetic statement, particularly so considering that it comes from a guy who was creating award-winning long- form web series that predated Netflix and Hulu, back when sharing cat videos online was all the rage. 25 Sept-Oct 2016 They might not catch up with Amazon. That shift was too monumental, and for most, the e-commerce opportunity ship has sailed. Messiah Jacobs co-founder, tapReplay

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