“T-commerce” — letting consumers purchase stuff they see on TV using a remote control — has been around for decades. But it’s never really taken off.
Now Roku, in an exclusive deal with Walmart, thinks it has a shot at cracking the code on making connected TVs a significant ecommerce shopping destination.
Roku will sell shoppable ads in its streaming inventory that will let viewers purchase featured products from Walmart, using just a few clicks (if they’re already entered their credit card info in Roku). Viewers press “OK” with the remote on a shoppable ad and proceed to checkout with their payment details pre-populated from Roku Pay, the streaming platform’s payments platform. From there, tapping “OK” on the Walmart checkout page places the order. A Walmart purchase confirmation is then emailed with shipping, return and support information.
One of the reasons T-commerce hasn’t come to fruition is that it’s just easier to navigate online checkout using a mobile phone — something abundantly clear if you’ve ever had to type in a credit card number using a TV remote. It remains to be seen whether the Roku/Walmart pact will be able to move the needle on people making actual purchases triggered by TV ads.
“We’re working to connect with customers where they are already spending time, shortening the distance from discovery and inspiration to purchase,” Walmart CMO William White said. “By working with Roku, we’re the first-to-market retailer to bring customers a new shoppable experience and seamless checkout on the largest screen in their homes — their TV.”
Under the deal, Roku’s OneView connected TV ad-buying platform has the exclusive capability to activate and measure the shoppable ads linked to Walmart. “We’re making shopping on TV as easy as it is on social,” said Peter Hamilton, Roku’s head of TV commerce.
(Pictured above: A mockup of Walmart’s ecommerce pop-up on Roku)
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