Ever watched a home improvement show, laid eyes on the perfect couch, and thought to yourself, “Oh! Where can I find that?” Home décor retailer Wayfair and Lifetime TV have seemingly created a solution: shoppable television. Lifetime’s newest decorating show, The Way Home, exclusively uses products from Wayfair in all of its tutorials and makeovers. See something you like? Head to wayfair.com and bring that wall sconce to your own home.
The online-only retailer is trying to expand their market by competing with traditional tv shopping channels like QVC and HSN. Their unique take combines the educational and inspirational aspects of home improvement shows to influence a purchase. Compare this to traditional model, which promotes shopping as the main reason for the show (I mean, one is named Home Shopping Network!). It’s logical that Wayfair’s approach could drive long-term brand loyalty as well as conversions.
Lifetime parent company A+E has been calling it the first fully shoppable television show – but is it really?
Let’s break it down. When we discuss that something digital is fully shoppable, we are referring to an ecommerce experience that features clickable imagery, integrated quickviews, and interactive media, all of which keeps customers within the digital experience from discovery to add-to-cart. The idea is to minimize the amount of steps between that love-at-first-sight moment, and starting the purchase.
The Way Home’s first red flag is the lack of instant shoppability; you can’t buy the products until after the show is over, giving potential customers 30 minutes to forget what they had originally wanted. Citing a study from Computers in Human Behavior, NBC News notes that distractions started at just two minutes into the task for research subjects. Imagine the fall-off for Wayfair’s tv-to-online shoppers with a 30 minute delay.
If viewers do make it to the Wayfair page, there is a tricky path to purchase waiting for them.For viewers who watch the program live on television, will need to access another device to navigate themselves to the Wayfair ecommerce site and find The Way Home landing page. Next, scroll through episodes to find the exact clip that featured the item in the first place. From there, they can add to cart through a gallery below the embedded video with quickviews. The path to purchase is complicated and clunky, making for a bad customer experience.
For viewers who watch the show online after it’s aired, they’re not much better off. There is no easy way to navigate from the Lifetime website to wayfair.com without leaving the episode. The amount of clicks it takes to reach the cart could easily make would-be buyers drop off out of frustration.
How do you take this unique approach to ecommerce and remove some of the kinks? transform this into an engaging and cohesive customer journey? We think the solution lies in a streamlined digital experience, incorporating shop-the-room functionality with the video clips available on-demand via pop-out. As it is, the customer has to do way too much work to find what they want – so do the work for them.
First, make it easy for customers to find the products. Featuring The Way Home prominently on the Wayfair homepage will bring customers to the proper landing page the moment they arrive on the website. There’s no point in creating a beautiful digital experience if customers can’t find it.
Next, instead of forcing a user to dig through video clips or a product grid, offer something more shopper-friendly. Start with lifestyle shots of the rooms featured in the episode with all of the products displayed. Indicate all of the products that are shoppable with a call-to-action like a plus sign. When the user clicks on it, have the video clip pop-out along with the product quickview. Customer can easily add it to their cart or dig in for more information. It keeps the inspirational + interactive vibe by not taking the customer to a sterile product grid, but keeping the process simple. Customers can then easily purchase multiple items without having to dig through video clips. Customers can take the time to explore the room and items that were included in the show.
A digital experience like this would eliminate a several steps from their path to purchase, and allow customers to explore different products without leaving the landing page. Shoppable experiences are engaging and easy to use, guiding users down a seamless and organic path to purchase. The Way Home is a fun, engaging show, so the accompanying digital experience should be too.
So what is the final verdict? Is this truly a fully shoppable television show? As it is now, no, it’s not. The customer is forced to do way too much searching and leg work to find the items that they discover on the show. And the half-hour delay between the start of the show and when the product pages go live is long enough that customers can lose interest. But some tweaks to the digital experience and a simpler path to purchase, might give Wayfair + Lifetime a home run.