Shoppable video content: Unlocking the gateway to more revenue than ever speaks to stakeholders to figure out the scope of shoppable video content in India. They explain things one should consider while taking this route and discuss formats that can be used to create shoppable video content to keep the consumer engaged

Akansha Srivastava
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This is the right time for marketers to experiment with shoppable video content as Covid-19 has forced people to remain inside their homes, leading to an increase in video consumption and online shopping.

With this, marketers can unlock the gateways of additional revenue by trying hands on video content that delivers commerce directly or at least helps generate intent to make purchases from the videos.

Shoppable video is not new, but during the Covid crisis, it has shown tremendous potential to grow. Brands such as Myntra and Flipkart are creating shoppable video content experiences for consumers. Companies such as Trell, Toch, Kiko TV, LBB, Charmboard and many others are also upping their game on the video content to commerce front for other brands to take advantage of shoppable video content features. Earlier this year, Google launched its video shopping platform Shoploop.

Lalitha Ramani

Lalitha Ramani, Chief Product Officer, Myntra, said, “We have witnessed video content to have good engagement rates, not just in metros, but also in tier 2 and 3 cities and towns, as it is a great source of inspiration for consumers, especially in emerging markets. Shoppable videos published by influencers on Myntra Studio and those put up by our brand partners, are extremely popular owing to factors, including the Indian audiences' inclination towards short videos, which intensified during the course of the pandemic. The ability of videos in conveying a certain fashion item’s features is far more effective and aids in a more informed purchase.”

"The Indian shoppable video content has arrived, and Indian markets are preparing themselves. Since the Indian audience has given such an overwhelming response to the world of video content, there is obviously a lot of scope for shoppable content from influencers, brands, etc., that they are loyal to," said Alok Chawla, Chief Marketing Officer, Kiko TV, which is a short-format, live video e-commerce platform.

Kumar Deb Sinha

Kumar Deb Sinha, Country Head, Dentsu StoryLab, seconded, "I believe shoppable video will play a larger role as we advance. The Holy Grail for any marketing campaign is driving sales. Shoppable video ticks two important boxes, engagement and sales. Shoppable video is a natural progression for content marketers in India."

Pulkit Agrawal

According to Pulkit Agrawal, Co-Founder, Trell, the most significant advantage here is that the experience is almost similar to that of buying these products from the local store, where they can experience the look and feel of the product and understand its use cases. He said building online communities is a massive step towards making shoppable video content more approachable. "Demonstration through trusted sources of information such as KOLs (key opinion leaders) plays a key role in enabling these transactions from offline to online. As the internet continues to become bigger and more inclusive of the cultural needs of the country, shoppable video content will continue to grow."

Suchita Salwan

Suchita Salwan, Co-Founder and CEO, Little Black Book, believes shoppable content is not a new phenomenon. Still, it has picked up more now because the infrastructure around videos and commerce has become much easier to create and execute.

Saket Dandotia

Saket Dandotia, Co-Founder at Toch, short-form video content platform, crunched some numbers to suffice the scope of growth in shoppable video content. He said, "The enjoyment of video increases purchase intent by 97%. Shoppable video makes passive video active and helps turn an ‘ad’ into an experience. Custom interactive shoppable videos drive nearly 39% more awareness than standard pre-roll. What's even more fascinating is that 56% of people from India in a recent study said they would use shoppable video to make a purchase directly."

The hurdles and means to overcome them

While shoppable video content has enormous potential for the marketers, there are several challenges and one must find ways and means to overcome them.

StoryLab's Sinha said that many times such content formats disrupt the consumers' content consumption experience and hence finds resistance. "Viewers watch content for entertainment. They are not in the shopping frame of mind. Shoppable videos mean they have to stop watching the content, spot something exciting and complete the purchase. As a viewer and a shopper, there is disconnect in the user experience."

Therefore, LBB's Salwan said that one couldn't beat around the bush in shoppable content. The integration of the brand needs to be much more direct. "Shoppable content works well when a customer is looking for a type of product or a certain category. It works when the customer already wants to buy product X, and then the brand is demonstrating how X feels and looks on a person."

She believes it's very immature for marketers to look at shoppable video content as a sales generation tool. She said, "The marketers should look at it as a means to create more intent for the customers versus actually to drive transactions. It should be used to climb up to the consideration set of the customers. Any research shows that people don't buy the first thing they see. One needs to build intent over a period of time. Doing one shoppable video won't fetch you sales. You have to hit the customer at multiple touchpoints, and shoppable video is one of them. Content to commerce doesn't happen in one go or through a single video."

Another challenge associated with shoppable video content format is how do you attribute affiliate marketing for the sales generated? Sinha said this would be a bigger challenge in future when you marry shoppable experience with big-ticket entertainment to drive sales. "From the platform, to the production house, to the talent; each has played a role in the sales journey and needs to be remunerated for the completion of the sale. However, the roles are blurred and very difficult to segregate and monetise."

Kiko TV's Chawla thinks that maintaining the quality of video content should be the utmost priority. "Overviewing the quality of content that is being watched by your users has got to be acceptable and phenomenal at the same time. There is no room for mistakes with so much competition going around since the situation has left businesses to opt for an online shift. Be it a creator or the brands we work with, the priority for us is quality content that the consumers can rely on," he said.

Chawla said not many brands are used to creating shoppable video content and there will be a learning curve where they understand the aspects of the product that needs to be covered in the video while keeping the video short and interesting to keep the buyers engaged.

For Dandotia of Toch, hybrid cross-platform integration support is the biggest challenge. He explained, "When television commercials were introduced, if each channel had its own approach, toolkit, regulation, distinct experiential technique and provided no transference (e.g. your shoppable YouTube video needs to be rebuilt for Facebook and rebuilt again for say, Twitter), the barrier to adoption may have been too big a burden to navigate. Further still, the true success of mobile shoppable video is contingent on viewer adoption and experience. Introducing interactive and shoppable elements to video is a leap, and evolving viewer behaviour should be a slow and delicate process to record. If viewers are forced to re-learn shoppable video on each platform they cross, they are likely to ignore them all and which can be the biggest challenge."

He said artificial intelligence technology should be accurate while tagging the products on these videos so that it should have relevance for users to click and buy.

Trell's Agrawal mentioned a critical point that one must keep in consideration: the cultural diversity in India. He said that the demand for video content is on the rise and in a country like India that has so many cultural facets. He said, "It is imperative to be able to create a supply chain of content that can equally cater to all these demands and create an impact. Content on the internet has been westernised for a very long time, and we need to prioritise the supply of native language and relevant contextual content that more people can relate to."

Shoppable video content ideas that hold consumer attention

In a competitive environment, it's important for content to be good enough to keep the consumer engrossed in it. Even while trying hands on shoppable video content, brands must try different content formats.

According to Sinha, some fascinating formats used by brands are catalogue format, short-format videos and association with popular entertainment IPs. "For example, Flipkart tied up with " target="_blank" rel="noopener">Girl In The City (popular IP created by Disney) and created a Girl In The City Store on Flipkart. So the looks created by the central protagonist (she was a fashion designer in the show) as well as the clothes and looks of all characters can be bought from the Girl In The City store in Flipkart. As a viewer, you had the option of selecting a look from the video series and completing the purchase. It drove massive footfalls to the customised store in Flipkart."

Salwan suggests doing influencers-led product videos. "But make it clear that the influencer is in the video to review the product. Please don't make it around random things. And only once the consumers like the product, he/she can shop the product from the video," she said.

Another exciting format that she suggested is to show a comparison between different products or one can even show the same product on three-four different body types.

Sinha of StoryLab ended, "Shoppable videos will emerge as a key driver of commerce in future. And will play the most important role in purchase decisions in certain categories and audiences. We have barely scratched the surface of shoppable videos."

Indian marketers shoppable video content