NBCUniversal’s big push into shoppable content of all sorts is getting even bigger.
During a first-time event focused on the company’s marketing technology (an event separate from its annual Upfront presentation), NBCU executives revealed it is teaming up with Instagram and its parent company Facebook to further expand the shoppable content strategy and capabilities of both companies.
Details of the partnership were limited during the presentation, but Evan Moore, NBCU’s vice president of commerce partnerships, said the back end of NBCU’s One Shopping Platform will be integrated with Instagram, giving brands and marketers a through line for shopping abilities whether goods appear on TV or Instagram. All of the transactions will go through NBCUniversal Checkout, which launched last year.
“Our viewers are hungry for new ways to buy,” Moore said. He also noted that more than 100 retailers and brands are partnered with NBC for shopping, now dubbed One Platform Commerce, growing from just a few in August. And in an effort to ensure shopping through NBC is seamless, Moore added that the company is starting to work with last-mile delivery operators, a long-standing pain point in online commerce.
Ethan Arpi, lead of product marketing for Instagram shopping, admitted the platform is “heavily invested” in shopping, which it’s been aggressively developing over the last two years or so, and that access to NBCU’s shopping and checkout capabilities will broaden its own.
“Shopping on Instagram is still in its earliest days, but we are encouraged that people can now shop anywhere on the app,” Arpi said. “If you see something, you can buy it.”
Without saying specifically what the partnership will mean for NBCU and Instagram, Arpi touched on several areas he’s generally “excited” to see developing within shopping, likely meaning they will be areas of focus for the partnership going forward.
The first is the rise of “live shopping,” which is already popular in Asian countries where platforms like Tmall and Taobao, part of Alibaba, offer the ability for brands, influencers and celebrities to hold shopping sessions. While live shopping is not yet so popular in the U.S., Arpi said Instagram “now has the ingredients to make it work for brands, viewers and creators.” It seems likely that a partnership with NBCU would mean a lot of crossover of not only talent for live shopping moments and events, but also TV content. Arpi brought up the notion of someone watching “The Real Housewives” and then hopping on Instagram where they would see a shoppable gift guide.
NBC last year hosted on its streaming service Peacock a two-hour live shopping special for its “Steals and Deals” segment from the “Today” show. The network is looking to expand such shopping efforts and will be working more with “Today” in the future, as well as other NBC networks for shopping abilities.
Arpi also noted the rising need for media and commerce “to move at the speed of culture,” citing Amanda Gorman’s moment early this year at the Presidential Inauguration and Instagram’s putting together of “shoppable collections” based on her look. This could well mean more live moments airing on NBC that start to gain cultural traction will be made instantly shoppable on Instagram.
Moore and Arpi both said there will be more initiatives rolling out in the months to come between NBC and Instagram and Facebook. He called on national and local marketers to bring their ideas to the platform, including those for shoppable commercials and content breaks, or for standalone shopping channels.
“I’m sure there are ideas we haven’t even thought of yet,” Moore said. “It’s no exaggeration to say the possibilities are endless.”
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