Let’s take a scenario.
You are watching your favorite TV show on your smart TV. The main character is wearing a shirt that you instantly fall in love with. So what do you do? Wait for the product to hit the stores? Check online if it’s available? As you ponder the options, you see a pop-up appearing on your TV screen asking you if you would like to buy that shirt. As if in a dream, your hand automatically clicks the ‘Buy Now’ button on the screen and voila! The corresponding links are pushed to your mobile where you fill in the necessary details and before you know it, an order has been placed for the product! Yipee! No more jostling the crowds in shops! No more painful “Page cannot be found” errors!
So what was that all about?
A futuristic movie scene?
No, not at all. What happened was mobile TV commerce: the next big thing that has already taken off and is making waves, the world over.
What is Mobile TV Commerce?
In simple terms, it boils down to shopping on your mobile. Well, it’s not just shopping on your mobile where you visit various sites, browse through several products, compare prices and features and then make a decision. It is shopping for products that appear on your TV shows/commercials as and when they appear on your TV screen and capture your attention.
Television Commerce is where you get to buy stuff seen on TV, through your smart TV. Online shopping done via a mobile device is Mobile Commerce. Marry the two and you have Mobile TV Commerce, a ground-breaking technology that is now a reality thanks to major players such as Delivery Agent, Powa Technologies (TV Commerce), Sony Corp, Samsung (mobile), Overstock (retailer), etc.
Sounds good, but how does it work?
The low-level details vary from player to player. However, the basic idea is the same.
When a product that is available with a retailer appears in a TV show/commercial, ACR or Automatic Content Recognition kicks in. This is akin to an electronic fingerprint embedded within the TV shows/commercials that is “activated” when the product appears on the TV screen. This triggers the corresponding app on the TV which shows a pop-up that gives (primarily) three options – Shop via TV, Push to Mobile or Exit. The first option allows the user to shop for the product via the smart TV (using the TV remote) while the second option sends a link to the user’s mobile device from where the user can shop for the product. The third option allows the user to dismiss the pop-up.
Since a user is likely to be more at ease with the mobile device than maneuver the options on the TV screen using the TV remote, Mobile TV Commerce is steadily on the rise.
Okay, but why go for Mobile TV Commerce?
More than 40% of U.S. Internet users browse the web or apps on their smartphones while watching TV, according to a Harris Interactive poll. As a result, the mobile is the ideal method for shopping. The mobile user is already familiar with its working, has already shopped using it and it is likely to be within reach most of the times.
According to Saum Noursalehi, senior vice president of marketing at Overstock.com, “…[the smartphone] does not interfere with the TV experience, and so many people have become accustomed to using their mobile devices while watching television.”
The advantage of using mobile TV commerce is two-sided. The consumer can get a product almost as soon as it is available while the retailers can obtain valuable information regarding shopping activity. With the data generated by the smart TV and mobile interactions, the retailers would be able to know during which channels/TV shows/time of the day the mobile TV shopping peaks, thereby fine-tuning their purchase and advertising decisions.
Another study states that the average time spent per day by US adults in the year 2014 on digital media has increased radically when compared to the usage in 2010. Mobile devices top the list in digital media.Mobile TV Commerce: here to stay!
Delivery Agent chairman and CEO Mike Fitzsimmons says, “Shopping is a form of entertainment, and when done correctly, bringing the two together can be a powerful thing.”
With Mobile TV Commerce, this certainly has been achieved and has paved the path to a whole new experience!