On October 1st 2012 Target.com launched a new blend of entertainment and shopping. A 3 part series short film that simultaneously merchandises the complete outfit each actor is wearing. The user interface features the main target.com menu, a video player screen, merchansided product list on the right side of the video and shopping cart favorites at the bottome of the video:
Video has been a trend in fashion with brands like Topshop and Burberry, but those brands have yet to deliver sitcom type entertainment and retail merchandising. Typically the video has been product focused and less entertainment value. For example, this is a screenshot from Topshop:
Here we see a similar user interface, but very different content approach. There may be many factors at play here but the most interesting is the role of video content on what is widely known as an effective selling experience.
Video content inherently has a segmenting effect on your audience. Taking the step of adding entertainment value for your shoppers amplifies the user’s desires from the product to what they choose to do on a Friday night. This does not mean entertainment in e-commerce selling is a bad thing, it just needs to be done with an understanding of how that entertainment is segmenting your customer base.
Segmentation is a good thing, especially when talking about fashion. Clearly Target knows it’s customer and has thought through the characters they created in their short film series. Each character maps directly to a user persona that shops at target. The films are not only entertaining but they elicit the metaphors of the Target customer’s desire for romance and self confidence.
Finally, the campaign ended with a live event from NYC. This live video experience capstones what I think was target’s main goal with introducing such entertainment into the traditional product video: BUZZ. Not many brands have tried this approach and the e-commerce results likely would not be known going in, so marketing had to be the key driver of the campaign. As we see in this screenshot and in the final interview with Target’s VP, he explains the campaign was really about having fun, building buzz and engaging the Target customer.
In this screenshot, we don’t see any e-commerce features or much product merchandising at all. This event was all about the live buzz and celebrity entertainment. Brands have been doing this for a while, Crock-Pot(R) launched a new product called “Create-a-Crock” last year using a similar live experience:
Video is a powerful tool with so many applications for brands to experiment, communicate and wow their customers with a different experience.