ViSenze Blog

What’s next for video commerce in 2016?

Posted by ViSenze 24-February-2016

Video commerce, the practice of allowing consumers to shop products they spot in a video via clickable links whilst watching, has been around for a few years already. Embraced mainly by brands so far, time has come for e-commerce businesses with larger and faster moving inventories to rip the benefits of shoppable videos too, in a more cost-effective and scalable way.

2016 seems to be the year when we’ll see content to commerce happening at scale: e-commerce will be able to tap into the existing content out there and place their products in relevant contexts, and content publishers will be able to monetise their assets. Read on to see why and how. 

Shoppable videos playing around

Shopping in the digital realm is not all about product listings and details, but about inspiration, emotions, and context as well. Motivated by the technological possibilities of creating interactive videos that allow consumers to easily shop the featured products while watching, brands embraced shoppable videos ever since 2012.

Here are a few examples:

puma shoppable video

Wayfair shoppable video
Ted Baker shoppable videoAs you can notice, shooting such videos requires quite a lot of investment and the product tagging is done manually - which might be the reasons why mostly brands ventured themselves on this path, as their collections feature a limited number of SKUs for certain time periods.

But for e-commerce businesses with much bigger inventories and higher rotation, this investment is not really feasible. The only e-commerce platform that took the challenge of creating video content to sell products is JoyUs - an etailer that enables women to discover, learn about and shop for beauty, fashion and lifestyle products via videos. Founded in 2011, the company raised so far USD 43.4M funding and claims their videos convert at 5.15 times the rate of visitors who only browse product listings on the site.

Challenges for Video Commerce to overcome in 2016

1. How to tap into the existing video content out there?

Professional video content is cool, but genuine user generated content videos are cooler as they provide credibility. And there are plenty of such videos on the web featuring all sorts of products.
Also with the rise of TV series and movies on streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu and HBO, consumers get inspired by what their favorite characters are wearing and using. For example, Alibaba seems to be up to something. The well known e-commerce group has recently launched its own Netflix-like video streaming platform and also acquired the “youtube of China”, so it’s perhaps preparing ways to use all that video content to enhance their e-commerce sales.

For e-commerce to be able to fully tap into the existing video content out there, not only content publishers and commerce businesses would have to mingle, but the current way of manually tagging products in videos would not be an option anymore. There are millions of hours of videos out there, featuring millions of products. Read on to discover what’s the solution to this.

2. How to continue using the videos when products go out of stock?

Take for example the Juicy Couture shoppable video published in 2012, that gathered almost 1 million views to date on Youtube. If you click now on the featured products you will get directed to a page with the following message: “The page you requested does not exist or is no longer available.”

Such a wasted sale opportunity.

juicy couture shoppable videojuicy couture shoppable video out of stock


Now wouldn’t it be great if shoppable videos can substitute the exact product match when it goes out of stock with its most visually similar alternative that is in stock? This again means that manually tagging products in videos is not the option moving forward. The linkage has to be dynamic, balancing content and inventory at any point automatically. But let’s not spoil the nirvana moment you’ll have reading on.

Video commerce meets machine intelligence

The latest advancements in computer vision and machine learning come now to the rescue for e-commerce businesses that want to tap into the opportunities of video commerce. This technology can remove the need to manually tag products in videos and it can automatically offer visually similar alternatives to featured products going out of stock.

As ViSenze has already helped e-commerce businesses like Flipkart, Lazada, Zalora, Caratlane, Comb and more to increase engagement and conversion rates on their own platforms with the use of visual technology, now we are set to venture ourselves in bridging together the worlds of content and commerce. In 2016 we’ll give e-commerce businesses the opportunity to automatically tag millions of hours of videos published on various content platforms with their own products whenever they fit the context or they visually match or resemble the featured products in the video.

Like this, the whole visual web can be a product referral. When consumers discover something they like in a TV series or user generated video, they can buy it right away. And successful sales will ensure some money on the table for the content publishers too, making content monetisation a long-waited reality.

We’ve already started working on proof of concept projects with both video content publishers and e-commerce affiliates. If you would like to explore the opportunity with us, simply contact us.

Why does video commerce matter?

Video consumption is taking over the internet. By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco. In Jan 2016 Facebook stated that it gets 100M hours of video watched per day, and Youtube claims that people watch hundreds of millions of Youtube videos every day. Advertisers are also embracing video at an accelerated rate: online video has emerged as the fastest growing segment within the digital advertising landscape, according to a Forbes article.

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