Digital Commerce Part of the Omnichannel Market

Subscribe To Download This Insight

3Q 2021 | IN-6246

Live commerce is another step towards a fully digital and real-time shopping experience.

Registered users can unlock up to five pieces of premium content each month.

Log in or register to unlock this Insight.


Twitter Launches a US e-Commerce "Shop Module" Pilot


On July 28th, 2021, Twitter launched a small pilot (roughly a dozen companies/brands) in the US to test its “Shop Module” which allows brands, retailers, and businesses to display and viewers to purchase (opening up the business’s website within the Twitter app) products in the company’s Professional Profile (this type of profile is currently a requirement). Professional Profiles, which started testing in April, allows companies display content and information about their business at the top their profile (similar to a Facebook Page) and, with the addition of the Shop Module, a carousel of products where users can learn more about and purchase goods directly from these pages (using an in-app browser).

The initial pilot includes GameStop, ArdenCove, and a reported 10 other brands across lifestyle, retail, gaming, media and entertainment, tech, and telecom industries. This isn’t the first time Twitter explored ecommerce in their app—in 2015, Twitter trialed a “Buy Now” button within product pages but pivoted away from this feature, until this announcement with the Shop Module. The trial is also limited to iOS devices, so this announcement only brings the market one smally step closer to a future where shopping is “everywhere”—especially since mobile devices are already used heavily to buy goods and services. This news, however, is another indicator that the market is, perhaps, ready for these types of experiences.

When the World is Your Store


The shift from physical stores to the Internet and mobile devices has created a new shopping environment that is now amenable to new types of commerce. “Shoppable TV (or video)” has been talked about for some time, predating the rise of online video, but it gained some very early momentum when YouTube first started making headlines. Jump forward to 2014 and TheTake launched an app that attempted to do for online video (including shopping) what Shazam had done for digital music. Users could identify the movie/TV show they were viewing with the app and, if the content (and merchandise) was supported, see and purchase items within that scene (e.g., fashion, glasses, handbags, etc.) along with similar goods, including less expensive alternatives. While that app reached roughly 500,000 monthly unique users, it failed to reach a critical mass to change viewer and shopping behavior. TheTake has now shifted to a B2B model and in 2020 launched with LG to bring its AI-based Shoppable TV to their smart TVs.

There is still quite a bit of coordination involved with content owners, brands, and retailers, but cases such as shoppable TV point to the same future and direction the content and advertising markets are moving. Advertising has become an omnichannel market, especially with the rapid growth of connected TV (CTV) over the past couple of years and due to privacy concerns and regulations, the audiences and advertising targets are starting to look more similar than not (groups/cohorts versus household and individual). AI/ML is enabling new opportunities in automation, targeting, data analysis, and, with the eventual rise in consumer smart glasses, new shoppable experiences.

Twitter dipping its toes into commerce, Facebook focusing on the metaverse, the aforementioned changes to the advertising market, and video solutions providers shifting resources to better serve ad-based services are all coming together to break down preexisting barriers and to create a more cohesive market opportunity. 

Target More Markets


While today’s digital markets can still be categorized into segments like social, streaming video, digital advertising, ecommerce, news/information, and gaming, the lines of demarcation will continue to blur. Social networks already play pivotal roles in video, advertising, news/information, gaming, and increasingly commerce – Netflix recently announced it will do more in the gaming market. DSPs and SSPs, once focusing on mobile, have quickly ramped up to support and push CTV. While the video platform and solutions market is prioritizing advertising, it is still too video/DTC/OTT focused. The core competencies and existing client bases support this current strategy, but longer-term these companies will need to expand their target markets and take a more holistic approach to digital content and services. Live commerce is a prime example where video solutions providers can have an immediate impact in digital commerce – live commerce already has a strong presence in Asia-Pacific and is gaining momentum in other regions as well.

Further out on the timeline, metaverse in some form will arrive, after developing incrementally, and with it a more seamless and cohesive digital marketplace. Smart glasses will become a critical transformative technology that brings these foundational pieces to new heights and market opportunities. Tweets and Instagram shares (or Tik Toks) about a great meal will provide offers to try the same dish (for those who like that type of food) or place an order for take-out if they are within a certain defined geo location. Simple compliments like “I love your shoes” will initiate a computer vision inference event and the smart glasses will identify the shoes along with several options to buy it and similar designs. External factors like weather or environmental conditions will also trigger advertisements to appropriate individuals with offers that are both user and store specific. Ad tech companies like Clinch are already running campaigns that are both contextually/environmentally aware and sensitive to local store inventories to provide very targeted ads – Clinch for example has worked with Walgreens to offer allergy medicine to individuals within a geo location that is triggered by high pollen counts. Further, 5G and MEC will allow these types of applications to function in real-time while offloading some of the computational requirements to the cloud/edge, helping to accelerate devices to market that are more consumer friendly while remaining power efficient and offering high levels of quality of experience (QoE). In many cases, the technology is ready and available, it is a matter of making the pieces fit and work together (along with standardizations). 



Companies Mentioned