eCommerce entertainment

eCommerce entertainment

The latest industry trend that has got everyone talking is how eCommerce and entertainment seem to be blurring their boundaries. Read on and learn why “second screening” is a term you need to be familiar with.

People don’t just surf the web anymore. People know what they want when they shop online, so how are you supposed to reach out to them when they aren’t expecting it? Learning how to engage the customer in this always-online environment can seem challenging to the average SME, so how do you get yourself noticed? You do it by taking a leaf out of some of the largest companies’ books who have cracked this market: tap into their entertainment time, time when they aren’t expecting to see products.

Entertainment and eCommerce have slowly been merging over the past few years due to three main reasons: social commerce, second screening and emotional appeasement. What all of these elements have in common is the attraction to the consumer. 

Social commerce

At this point, you might want to take a look at my previous article on why social commerce is here to stay , as it will give you an idea of the basics and why this means so much to the eCommerce industry. Up until now, the focus on marketing and advertising has been on physical adverts that pop up thanks to website cookies, trackers, personalisation and so on, but thanks to social commerce, an entirely new way of pulling in the punters has been discovered. 

Traditional eCommerce avenues rely on making your website look good and focus on usability, whereas social commerce has maybe a split second to catch the eye of someone scrolling down a newsfeed to grab their attention and pull them in. The product information may only be a line, a description, a price, but it’s all about the visual representation. For this reason, most retailers have had to think like food magazines: if it doesn’t look good enough to eat off the page, don’t put it in. In that narrow window of opportunity, far more detail has to be communicated to the buyer than previous methods, yet it has to be easier to buy it too. Up until now, this seemed like an impossible task.

It is no surprise that video has had a huge part to play in this eCommerce trend; with around one million shopping channels on YouTube all with the ability to buy in such easy grasp, it is hardly surprising this has taken off, but it is also the reason for marketing turning into entertainment. Why do people love video? Because they like to have the information given to them in the easiest way possible, and because it tells a story. People love stories – they don’t want to be sold to, they want to be told to!

A recent survey from Liveclicker in the US, suggested that 73% of American adults are more likely to purchase a product or service after watching an online video about it. This is staggering when you couple it with the fact that there are one billion video views on Facebook per day, and 2.7 million video views on YouTube each minute – think of the potential for your product. 

Second screening

If you don’t know what this term means, I guarantee that you will have committed this offence on more than one occasion. Second screening is when you are perhaps watching your favourite TV series while checking people’s furious comments about it on Twitter, or watching TV while shopping online. You‘re not alone – 80% of people with a mobile device are second screening at least once a month and 40% do it daily. What are they doing? The figures suggest that they’re mostly checking social media streams, with 79% using Facebook, while the other largest group is on Twitter.

So, when we’re not watching our favourite show, we’re seeing what others are saying about it. If we’re not doing that, there seems to be a lot of shopping going on: 27% are looking up product information on mobile devices, 22% are looking for deals, and 19% are shopping to buy the things they are seeing at that very moment on TV. Why? Because both social media and shopping are seen as joint, they are seen as leisure activities, and most importantly, they are seen as forms of entertainment.

That’s why humour plays such a big part in marketing campaigns; the user’s daily life is surrounded by a cacophony that includes endless advertisements and marketing, and they have become deafened to it all. The only way to work around it is to appeal to their personality, to make it fun, to make it something they want to participate in, and make it humorous. You will cut straight through the noise if you can accomplish a video that speaks straight to the emotions of the buyer, which brings me on to emotional appeasement.

Emotional appeasement

There has to be an emotional connection in order to make an impact and be memorable. Why? Because in order for your product to be one that sticks in the mind, the consumer wants to connect with a character. I went over this idea in a previous blog post if you would like to read more on this topic, but you need to understand the concept that the viewer of these videos and images needs to see some spark of emotion in order to connect with a brand. Last year’s Sainsbury’s Christmas advert was the best example of this.

Adverts are almost becoming like short films, with top directors vying for the right to take over the supermarket Christmas spot. This particular video which replicated the football game played on Christmas Day during the First World War, caused a lot of controversy and debate, but it did exactly what it intended to do – whether it was liked or not, it provoked feeling, it spoke to the emotions of the viewer and got their attention. No one forgot that it was Sainsbury’s who created it. That should always be your end goal – entertainment that leaves you remembering a brand.


This is an exciting time to be a part of the eCommerce industry. It may seem like things are changing at break-neck speed, but it’s only because of the advancements we’re making on a daily basis to reach the consumer and improve their experience. 

Social commerce allows us an unprecedented, personal approach to attracting customers, making them feel like we know exactly what they want before they even thought about it. Second screening has given us a larger window than ever to meet this always-online consumer in a forum that they feel trusting and comfortable with. Finally, the emotional connection that buyers feel towards such companies is crucial to the approach we take to our marketing strategies – we must listen to what this consumer wants if we want to survive in this rapidly changing world.

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