4 fashion brands that are getting creative with shoppable video

Shoppable video has been around in various guises since the early 2010s. Its appeal for brands is pretty obvious: closing the gap between moments of inspiration and actually clicking “buy.”

More recently, brands have been stepping up their shoppable content as the technology has become more sophisticated and the companies behind it more moneyed. There’s even interest from platforms too. YouTube’s click-to-buy function is operational, while Facebook is rumored to be exploring shoppable video ads.

It’s not easy. Early experiments with buy buttons on Pinterest images had a rocky start with retailers. But here are the fashion brands taking the leap regardless.

Ted Baker
U.K. fashion brand Ted Baker launched a three-minute shoppable film on its website — alongside Selfridges and Nordstrom — this week.

“In the evolution of the last few seasons, it’s been clear customers are becoming happier to utilize moving content to jump off into the commerce space,” said Craig Mackinnon Smith, Ted Baker’s brand communication director.

Ted Baker is known for its quirky touch, and this film — a spy-themed affair — is no different. Titled “Mission Impeccable,” it follows a cast of characters dressed in the brand’s new collection as they race to stop villain “The Needle” in his plot to undo the fashion world.

Inside the video, viewers can click a “plus” icon on each character which saves them to a “vault” further down the page. From here, users can see the items they are wearing and add them to their bag. By choosing characters over individual items, the brand has more leeway if certain products are out of stock, as there are several more listed for each character.

Mackinnon Smith said it was important to balance plot with product in the film, making sure that one doesn’t overpower the other. “I’m not sure it’s 100 percent there, but we’ve got a nice balance with the richness of the aesthetics, the underlying tone and the shoppable functionality. It’s a good foundation,” he said.

The campaign video has amassed over 370,000 views on YouTube, despite the fact its buy buttons aren’t on there. Mackinnon Smith says the reaction has been “positive” so far.

To celebrate 30 years in Japan, this week, Diesel created a shoppable video that was shown ahead of its FW16 runway show in Tokyo.

The cinematic short, titled “Road to Tokyo,” was directed by Alexander Turvey, the man behind various acclaimed fashion films and commercials. It’s similar to a traditional fashion film in that it has no sound, only music. Instead, the action follows several Diesel models around the capital as they prepare for their catwalk appearance.

Much like Ted Baker’s spot, at certain points in the film, icons appear over the models. Once clicked, these display the different items they are wearing. Users then have the option to save them to a personal “look book” or follow a link to buy on the Diesel store right there and then.

Part of its #forsuccessfulliving campaign, the video is unusual in that it aired ahead of the catwalk — meaning users had an earlier peek into the collection to “see-now-buy-now” before the press and attendees. This is a trend that’s featured heavily in New York Fashion Week.

Welcome to Tokyo Diesel style. Click on our bio to watch the full story. #fw16

A video posted by Diesel (@diesel) on

It was also teased on Diesel’s social channels, including Instagram, where it clocked up over 17,000 views.

Matches Fashion
Rather than opting for a splashy campaign film, Matches Fashion has been creating “touchable video” for its site regularly via the platform Cinematique. It has been experimenting with several formats including so-called “digital trunk shows,” in which the brand shares exclusive collections and discusses the inspiration behind each piece. For those viewing the video, clicking each item automatically adds it into the user’s  shopping basket without having to leave the video or pause it.

“While brands and retailers, of course, want viewers to shop their products, this is most effective when the viewers are discovering products on their own terms and not disputing the experience,” Kyle Heller, co-founder of Cinematique, said. 

So far, Matches has featured designers like J.W. Anderson, Joseph Altuzarra and Emily Wickstead in the series. Besides the VIP access, the retailer also promotes the initiative on other platforms — for example, with a Twitter Q&A.

“More video, information and character story is what also helps bridge this gap to commerce and frees the viewer from feeling like they are constantly being sold to,” Heller added.

Trenchcoat-maker Burberry has been experimenting with shoppable video for a while.

Back in June 2012, the luxury brand created a four-part series with musician Roo Panes that allowed shoppers to buy outerwear and accessories from three of its collections directly from campaign videos on its site — though, like the stock they showed, they’ve long since vanished online.

This year, the brand breathed new life into the format — and took it onto an entirely new platform — by releasing a see-now-buy-now collection on its official app for Apple TV.

“Video has essentially been the same format since the 1950s, so it’s always challenging to change something that is so rigid and established,” Heller said.

Here, viewers watching the action on the runway could request a call from Burberry’s customer service team to pre-order items from the show. From this month, all Burberry collections will be available to buy immediately after its seasonal shows.