Puma, Barbour and Marks & Spencer have all turned to Karoline Gross, founder of Smartzer, for help developing shoppable videos.
Gross founded Smartzer in 2012, which can make any new or existing video into an interactive on which people can click to learn more about products and make direct purchases. This can be done directly in the video by selecting designated “shop” buttons that temporarily pause playback, or by clicking on a drop bar on the side of the video that provides additional information on products shown in real time.
Drop bar: A Smartzer shoppable video for Space.NK apothecary
Gross recently completed a course in the New York Fashion Tech Lab (NYFTL), a 12-week incubator program that pairs promising fashion startups with corporate mentors and sponsors. At an event in New York City on Wednesday morning, Gross pitched her company to prospective investors and industry insiders.
“What we do is work with brands to help turn existing videos into online shopping windows,” Gross said during the event.
Over the past few months, fashion brands have been drawn to shoppable video offerings, including Rebecca Minkoff and John Varvatos, who launched his collection last September using the first “touchable video platform,” Cinematique. Like Smartzer, as the ads play, consumers can either click or touch items they’re interested in, and the garments appear in a separate tab with additional information.
The overlay feature allows users to click directly on featured products to learn more about them and make a purchase, said Suzanne Hader, chief marketing officer at Halston, who worked with Gross at NYFTL. Halston will release a video in partnership with Smartzer this fall.
Despite fashion’s recent fascination shoppable video, only 16 percent of brands currently offer shoppable video, according to data from L2. Though retail is a main focus for Gross, she also supports a number of other verticals, including travel, sports and charitable organizations
The biggest challenge for video, Gross said, is monetization. Pre-roll advertisements don’t always lead to sales. While she noted that companies in the space like Interlude excel at tactful storytelling methods, Smartzer aims to make pre-roll content shoppable. She shared a case study in which an unnamed participating company received 40,000 views on a Smartzer video that led to $68,000 in sales.
“We’ve brought these two concepts together and we’ve also added in very detailed data analytics to create a solution that can enhance any video, whether it’s a story or piece of content, or a product video.”