Will T-Commerce Redefine TV Advertising?

Jan 07, 2014

It was back in 1988 when I had my very first conversation about technology that would allow consumers to watch a television show or commercial and directly order products displayed on the tube with a click of button. That conversation was part of a larger discussion at the time about the coming age of the "smart home" where virtually every aspect of modern home living would be automated in some way.

I was reminded of the discussion after coming across reports about H&M’s plans to air a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl to promote David Beckham’s Bodywear line as part of a t- (for television) commerce campaign. Owners of certain Samsung smart TVs will be able to use their remote controls to "engage" with the spot and make purchases.

The H&M campaign will include the launch of a t-commerce boutique available 24/7 through Delivery Agent’s ShopTV app. Consumers will also be able to shop for the items using their PCs, mobile phones and tablet devices in addition to the television.

"With the upcoming launch of the t-commerce-enabled H&M Super Bowl XLVII ad, we are collectively redefining the power and effectiveness of television advertising," said Mike Fitzsimmons, CEO of Delivery Agent, in a statement. "Years ago, the world talked about the potential associated with buying Jennifer Aniston’s sweater. H&M, in an industry first, will now realize that potential by making their Super Bowl XLVII ad actionable and directly measurable."

"This is a prelude of things to come," Penny Gillespie, Gartner’s research director for digital commerce, told MediaPost’s Marketing Daily. "As we get deeper into the internet of things, TV may be one more channel consumers use to shop."

"This is a brand that appeals to a young, Gen Y audience, and if nothing else, the spot sets the stage for them being perceived as a very innovative brand," Ms. Gillespie added.

Do you see H&M’s commercial as “a prelude of things to come” or simply a publicity stunt? What do you think of the potential of t-commerce?

Join the Discussion!

18 Comments on "Will T-Commerce Redefine TV Advertising?"

Notify of

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Frank Riso

It is the future. The DVR is a computer and as easy as it is to order a pay-per-view movie we should be able to order products from a live or recorded show. It is the beginning of new revenue for retailers as well as the cable companies. All we need do now is register our sizes and style preferences, and shopping from the couch is reality.

Ken Lonyai

No, this is not a publicity stunt and yes it’s a prelude to the changing TV experience that finally, after all the hype, will include more interactivity, even in ads. However, this isn’t new. Microsoft’s NUads (Xbox) became official in June 2012 after a year of testing. According to MS and partners like Toyota they are “very effective.”

It’s really going to take an upswing in smart TV sales which according to the CES 2014 hype is the focus of the TV industry this year. So the benefits/effectiveness is probably still 3-4 years away, IF smart TV sales do take off soon.

Eric Chester
Eric Chester
3 years 9 months ago

This is definitely the sign of things to come. The only surprise is that this hasn’t happened sooner.

Millennials crave involvement to the point where they will disengage with any media that does not invite their active participation. H&M (already wildly popular with Millennials) will undoubtedly gain publicity for this bold move, but moreover, they will be celebrated and remembered as the first to usher in interactive television advertising.

Bill Davis

Prelude of things to come. While 2014 is just the start, this will become more prominent over the next several years as more TV manufacturers natively support this.

Max Goldberg

It’s a bit of both. Running a spot with these capabilities during the Super Bowl will grab PR and attention. I do, however, question how many consumers will take the time to interrupt their viewing to research an item and make a purchase.

Paula Rosenblum

I’ve been predicting this for several years (my partner Nikki will tell you that!). Glad it’s finally coming true. Why NOT buy through TV? They are getting smarter, and it really is just a click away.

Project Runway already has something of a proxy for this, where you log into your iPad while you’re watching and synch up to what you’re seeing. But it seems to me that t-commerce is a natural.

Ed Rosenbaum

I am in agreement with the comments made. This is going to be a prelude of the future of advertising on television.

Ben Sprecher
Ben Sprecher
3 years 9 months ago

This vision of the interactive, shopable TV ad or TV show has been around forever. But I think that consumers’ current multi-screen behavior – 77% of the times viewers watch TV, it’s with another device in hand – points to a more likely evolutionary direction for “T-Commerce.”

Specifically, I think that we’ll see much more intelligent “hand-offs” between TV content and mobile/tablet engagement. Think of your tablet having live-updated “shopable annotations” to the TV show you are watching, so you can see available colors of the shirt that the star of the show is wearing. Imagine that when Jon Stewart interviews an author about her new book, the book’s details show on your smartphone, and you can buy the book right there and then.

Traditional commercials detract from the entertainment experience, and making them more interactive doesn’t fix that. Commerce should enhance, not interrupt, entertainment.

Shep Hyken

Kudos to H&M for taking the bold step that will garner them publicity and give us a peek at “things to come.”

T-commerce is another channel for retailers to communicate and sell on. While H&M may may not experience a big spike in sales from this, the publicity outside of the actual commercial will be worth far more than the cost of the commercial.

James Tenser

The H&M ad is mostly PR for the moment, but the ascendance of so-called “smart TV” might bring the app into the family room in a provocative way.

Seems to me there may be other ways to accomplish this than the mechanism that vendor Delivery Agent is constructing. I anticipate a lively competition over the next several years, before 1-3 leaders emerge.

Robert DiPietro

This is absolutely the future. It will be interesting to see how easy the interface is. I’m not sure it will as easy as ordering Despicable Me 2 for the kids ,but serviceable enough that average consumers can do it.

I think it will also translate to an instant read on the marketing spend. It’s basically a direct response TV ad, but instead of going to the web or calling an 800 number you can order it right there while viewing the ad.

Doug Garnett

I’ve been following the T-commerce mythology for 20 years. It’s been tried and tried and tried…and never driven anything significant. Why? The difficulty of picking up the phone or going to a website simply isn’t enough of a problem for consumers.

As a practitioner of direct response television (one of the first places you would think it would work), these lessons seem pretty strong and long term. And they aren’t technology dependent – they’re about consumer behavior.

That doesn’t mean efforts like this can’t be good PR for the company. But significant as a long-term medium? No.

Kenneth Leung

For me, the limiting factor for T-Commerce is on the remote control side. If I am watching the show on a tablet or have a tablet app that is synced to the TV content, I can see doing commerce or at dropping an item into a shopping cart. If I am in front of a big screen and sitting on a sofa with a remote control (unless the remote control is the size of a tablet) I just don’t see how the transaction would be smooth. Another question is, how many people watch a big screen TV with their wallet and credit card handy?

The more interesting part for me is integrating the TV viewing experience with a mobile app on a tablet and you link content that way. Shoppers can then browse during or after the show for items as needed.

Liz Crawford

The TV channel is the next retail channel. Retailers and brands will use ecommerce-type metrics like click-through, sharing and purchase to measure success.

Phil Rubin
3 years 9 months ago

This has been a long time coming and what’s most interesting is how this is bypassing the cable/direct broadcast satellite companies, who should have been doing it years ago. Definitely not just PR, but rather a really smart (albeit expensive) test that has the potential to kickstart t-commerce. The publicity won’t hurt (the ROI) either.

Cathy Hotka

Retailers need to go where the customers are, not vice versa. Millennials, who’ve been raised with frictionless commerce, are going to insist on it.

Lee Kent

Yes, I do see interactive TV in our not so distant future but for it to really take off, I’m thinking that we will have to figure out how to do this during regular programming and not in the commercials.

Do we really think Millennials, who do everything in their power to avoid being sold to, are going to start watching commercials now?

Not a chance! IMHO.

Jerry Gelsomino

Publicity stunt? Yes! Clever marketing? Yes, Yes! Expect more to come.


Take Our Instant Poll

How likely is it that t-commerce spots, similar to H&M’s commercial to promote the David Beckham Bodywear line, will become commonplace over the next decade?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...