Will Interactive Ad Storefronts Take Off?

1800flowers recently launched an interactive shopping widget with a product developed by Alvenda. The widget allows a fully functioning storefront to appear in ad units on other websites. Shoppers can browse and purchase through the unit without leaving the web page they’re looking at. You can play around with the demo here.

At first blush, I didn’t think browsing within the smaller window would be usable. Wouldn’t a larger screen make the shopping experience more pleasant? Why does everyone think customers would rather jump off a cliff than click an extra button?

But as I played around with the widget, its AJAX-y goodness actually felt more usable than a traditional site. I didn’t have to scroll up and down the page to view products or click to load another page. I could scroll within the widget, hover over thumbnails to see more information, and see a quick view without a new page load (saves time). I started to dig it.

The size also had the feel of a mobile application – something designed specifically for a smaller viewing area.

Shopping widgets have a lot of potential for mobile applications, Internet enabled television, gaming consoles and other electronic devices that access the ‘Net. Pushing your storefront anywhere there’s a screen is the next step in multichannel retailing.

Stay tuned for the recap of today’s Webinar Multichannel 2.0: Are you ready for the next generation of commerce channels? hitting your Inbox or RSS reader Friday.

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18 Responses to “Will Interactive Ad Storefronts Take Off?”

  1. PetsRight says:

    This looks and functions really great but has anyone successful deployed ANY shopping widget? Meaning, are people actually making purchases through widgets?

  2. Regardless of where the transaction completes (in the unit or on the site), this unit does perform better than standard ad units.

  3. This is great info for everyone. Glad you posted this. I am subscribing to this blog. Mason

  4. PetsRight says:

    @Jason,
    Do you currently use this type of widget?

  5. Nope. But I know who does and the results.

  6. Jesse says:

    I use a widget called Cartfly that I sell products in. The widget is used for browsing but redirects at checkout. It works for me.

    http://www.cartfly.com/stores/137clothing

  7. PetsRight says:

    @Jason,
    That good huh?

    @Jesse,
    So this is working a lot better than regular advertising for you?

  8. PetsRight says:

    You both have convinced me to give it a shot.
    @Jesse,
    thanks for the link. I’m going to set something up with them.

  9. @PetsRight
    Drop me an email (Jason@FlipRetail.com). I will give you 15 minutes of my time and guarantee it will improve your ecommerce sales. I found a major sales blocker that is easily remedied on your site.

  10. PetsRight says:

    @Jason Billingsley,
    Done!

  11. jJudaica says:

    It seems like a great feature, yet i noticed that there is no “lock” for data security except in the credit card form screen. Wont it be better to inert the “security” badge throughout the whole procedure?

  12. @jJulaica

    Yes, I believe the widget’s design needs a security assurance and it should also have links to customer service information, in my opinion. I’d like to see a “visit regular site” escape door that takes you to the full site if that’s something the customer is more familiar with.

  13. Interesting widget. It will take some time for it to evolve and consumers to get comfortable with it. I just don’t really see myself making an instant decision to add an item to a shopping cart from what is basically an on-line advertisement. But who knows, it might make sense for some in certain context.

  14. Anna says:

    I think this is great, people will find themselves browing stores they would have otherwise not searched for. It opens up a store to a whole new group of buyers. Ill be interested to see how successful they are.

  15. It’s an innovative idea but the buying experience can be more secure as pointed out by others. Not sure if people would view it more as an Ad gimmick rather than an online store. However in the morphing landscape of online media, one may never know, it may just take off.

  16. [...] for the customer or a way for the manufacturer to solicit a direct response. Perhaps Shopatron and Alvenda should [...]

  17. Very interesting widget.

    I’m visiting the site for the first time and wondering why the conversation (such interesting) stopped all the sudden already two months ago?

    I’d like to read more of your experiences about it.

    Thanks for the tip, anyway!

  18. Great post Linda….Love the application and business model. Seems natural for retailers to find engaging ways to incentivize peer to peer transactions! Excited to see what other technology Companies develop to support multi-channel retailing. E-commerce is dependent on new business models to drive customer acquisition + sales.

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