Are shoppable music videos the way of the future?

Montreal-based online retailer, SSENSE, made news in the blogosphere last week when it released what it claimed was the first music video that lets you buy while you watch. Produced exclusively for SSENSE, the interactive video, ‘I Think She Ready’, stars hip-hop duo FKi, Australian rapper Iggy Azalea and Grammy-nominated producer Diplo. Employing hotspot technology, the video includes links that let you shop Iggy’s, FKi’s and Diplo’s looks.

SSENSE shoppable music video

Blending hip-hop street culture with Spring/Summer 2012 fashion trends, the 4-minute video features “S” graphics that hover near the performers.  The performers are dressed in clothing and accessories from designers such as John Galliano, Givenchy, Alexander McQueen and Phillip Lim. To get more information on an item, you simply mouse over one of the “S” hotspots and click “Shop this look”. Once you click, you can view product images from that look with links to to purchase the items.

SSENSE video shopping experience

It’s not a cinch to click an “S”; they move quickly, disappearing and reappearing as the video shifts from scene to scene. But it is easy to see how conveniently clickable an e-commerce video is. How many times have you watched a show or a video, and wondered where you could buy the clothes worn by its stars?

“People often wonder what performers are wearing, where they can purchase that item – we have bridged that gap,” SSENSE CEO Rami Atallah said in a press release. “The integration we are introducing between technology, entertainment and retail with this video not only creates a unique experience for the audience, but also has utility.”

Shoppable video déjà vu

ASOS: Contrary to SSENSE’s claims, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this marketing tactic. British online fashion retailer ASOS launched its 2011 Fall/Winter collection with a shoppable digital experience from BBH London where you could buy what you saw the dancers wearing in the videos. The campaign, housed at Urban Tour, looked at fashion trends from 7 cities: Paris, Tokyo, London, Shanghai, New York, Los Angeles and Berlin. Hugely popular, the video series has racked up a massive 6.3 million views on YouTube.

ASOS Urban Tour video

While again not so easy to click on, the shoppable London video featuring street performance artists was well executed. When you clicked on a dancer, he separated from the rest to give you an individual performance, with links to buy his outfit. You could even save an item for later on the ASOS main site and then return to the video and continue watching.

ASOS Urban Tour product page

oki-ni: Last May, menswear retailer, oki-ni, also did something similar with a shoppable video-editorial directed by Antony Crook, with help from Ridley Scott’s RSA/Black Dog production company. In the ad-cum-online catalog, male models saunter through a house, playing ping pong and looking stylish, while allowing you to click on any outfit to shop the look.

oki-ni shoppable video

Barney’s New York CO-OP: By far the best I’ve seen are the ecommerce videos Barneys New York CO-OP released last month for their women’s and men’s spring 2012 collections. The videos feature models telling funny life stories, dancing and singing, all while wearing the latest looks. Interactive product thumbnails of the items being worn appear consistently in the top left, so they are easy to click. More information on each product appears in an overlay to keep you within the video experience, and a timeline below the video lets you access individual segments.

Are these ads or online catalogs? And more importantly, would you buy clothes from this type of shoppable advertorial?

To learn more about how interactive video is changing the e-commerce shopping experience, check out this Liveclicker webinar next week: Making the Most of Interactive Video and Video Commerce Analytics