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What is T-Commerce? How to Make the Next Generation of TV Advertising Work for Your Brand

We’ve all bought something from an infomercial at one time or another—or at least thought about it.  How can you resist My Pillow, the Miracle Socks, or the Forearm Forklifts for the low-low price of $19.95?  These ads are the precursor to the point-and-click model of television commerce (T-commerce). With T-commerce, all you have to do is point and click your remote to receive a product, schedule a test drive, or get a few coupons delivered to your inbox.  Hulu has already used T-commerce to promote its content and Connekt has formed a partnership with Sony Electronics to allow the use of Connekt’s T-commerce platform on their Smart TVs and Blu-ray disc players, according to Retail Dive.

For the uninitiated, T-commerce as defined as television-based commerce; buying and selling products and services using a smart/interactive television.  It is part of electronic business and e-commerce, which themselves are the more prominent parts of u-commerce.

Hulu research says viewers spend twice as much time engaging with a brand when the advertisement is interactive, with purchase intent increasing by 160% compared to standards ads.  Combine this with Conneckt’s research stating that over 75% of shoppers would purchase items directly from the TV if given the chance, and 70% were interested in buying products by voice through the television, and it’s clear there are a lot of brand channel opportunities.

T-commerce may be new but it’s growing fast, so it’s best to take it step by step:

Take your consumers from awareness to purchase:

According to eMarketer, there are currently 93 million U.S. homes active on a smart TV or over-the-top (OTT) device, and these connected devices are opening an entirely new channel for brands to enable personalized and shoppable experiences.

TV is still the biggest and most-watched screen in most homes, and technologies are making it possible for consumers to buy directly from brands in real time using their remote. You may already be investing in linear TV ads, but chances are it’s limited to building brand awareness. In 2019, evaluate opportunities to enhance the technologies and strategies you have in place to make TV an end-to-end path to purchase.

1. Fit your e-commerce experience to the big screen: Connected TV ads bring another screen to a brand’s omni-platform sales presence, yet many have to meet their high-impact, visual potential. As part of your new or existing T-commerce strategy, enlist a team to test that your product pages display optimally on the big screen. Test on a variety of connected TVs to ensure every viewer is experiencing the same product imagery and video. When your e-commerce content is fully optimized to reap the size and impact of the TV, consumers will spend that much more time interacting with your brand-based content.

2. Keep an open line to mobile: While consumers are getting more and more comfortable making purchases through their TVs, they still have a much higher comfort level and sense of security buying through their mobile devices. After all, it’s something most have done for years and TV is a new commerce world for them. Don’t lose someone at the point-of-purchase on TV because they’re not ready to transact there yet—instead, send an offer or deal to their mobile device and encourage a purchase there. It can serve as a transitional step as you migrate them toward pure T-commerce.

3. Bookend your efforts in data: Whether on the front or back end, an internet connection allows marketers today to attach entirely new sets of data to the delivery of a linear TV asset. As a best practice, apply your brand’s digital targeting layers on the front end and push the envelope by harvesting real-time viewership and engagement data that you can apply on the back end. Hold your linear TV investment more accountable by leveraging its ability to be connected.

T-commerce is another way to connect with consumers and provide value.  It provides a valuable multi-sensory touchpoint, one that increasingly captures imaginations.  When creating brand strategies, it’s never one thing – it’s the mix of time and space that drives engagement and it all comes back to data.  As Vicki Brakl, VP of Integrated Marketing, MNI Targeted Media Inc. discusses in a recent Q&A with adotas, “data empowers messaging to be targeted and meaningful; it informs the consumer journey and provides insights that inform attribution”.

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