Walmart, Roku Introduce Shoppable TV Ads

Streamers will be able to purchase featured products fulfilled by Walmart directly on Roku's TV platform.
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Walmart has joined forces with Roku to make TV streaming the next e-commerce shopping destination. Streamers will be able to purchase featured products fulfilled by Walmart directly on Roku, one of America’s top streaming platforms.

This partnership moves shopping beyond QR codes on screens — which already existed as a capability via TV streaming platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire TV — and can change the way consumers interact and shop TV and video content. The new experience offers product discovery with a seamless checkout experience, enabling purchases directly at the time of inspiration.

“We’re working to connect with customers where they are already spending time, shortening the distance from discovery and inspiration to purchase,” said William White, chief marketing officer, Walmart, in a news release. “No one has cracked the code around video shoppability. 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.”

Walmart has the ability to evaluate shopper behaviors and then scale commerce offerings to shoppers where and how they want to shop, including during moments of entertainment, according to the release. Roku’s “purpose-built” advertising technology stack brings the benefits of streaming TV advertising (e.g., targeting, optimization and measurement) to the commerce partnership. This first pilot program fuses entertainment with the transactional world of commerce, providing an in-platform path to purchase for shoppers that the company says will continue to evolve.

When prompted with a shoppable ad on Roku, viewers can press “OK” using the remote to proceed to checkout with their payment details pre-populated from Roku Pay, Roku’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.

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“We’re making shopping on TV as easy as it is on social,” said Peter Hamilton, head of TV commerce, Roku, in the release. “For years, streamers have purchased new Roku devices and signed up for millions of subscriptions with their Roku remote. Streaming commerce brings that same ease and convenience to marketers and shoppers.”

OneView, Roku’s ad-buying platform for TV streaming, will have the exclusive capability to activate and measure these shoppable ads. Additionally, marketers will be able to use Roku Brand Studio to design custom creative and branded content built for TV streaming and shopping.

Future iterations of this pilot will look for opportunities to build deeper commerce experiences that meet customers where they are, per the release.

While Walmart is the first retailer to offer shoppable ads of this kind via Roku, the streaming platform previously partnered with Kroger to enable marketers running campaigns via Roku’s TV platform to use the grocery giant’s shopper data for targeting and closed-loop attribution to measure campaign performance. While ads of this kind are yet to proliferate in the grocery space, a recent report from Dunnhumby indicates that could change quite rapidly.

At the Path to Purchase Institute’s (Retail Leader's sister brand) Future Forward event back in May, Roku’s Alannah Pawlik was joined by Kimberly-Clark’s Sommer Myles to discuss the emergence of TV streaming and the evolving CPG media strategy.

“With streaming, consumers are in charge … what better opportunity to transform consumers into customers than letting them have control over what they’re consuming, watching, streaming, etc.,” Pawlik said during a Trend Talk session at the event.

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