ECommerce + Entertainment = The New ‘It’ Marketing Strategy?

The merging of ecommerce and entertainment represents a transformation of the online marketing world. Where online games and entertainment were once the domain of websites aimed at children or young gamers, they are rapidly becoming a vital component of effective online marketing strategies.

Retailers must start thinking outside the box when it comes to entertainment. We’re not suggesting you turn your shopping experience into a game of Tetris (although that wouldn’t be so far off…)

Making Ecommerce Entertaining

While ecommerce has always focused on providing an interactive experience to the customer, uniting entertainment with ecommerce takes it one step further. By actively engaging the customer, entertainment based ecommerce makes it more likely that he or she will return to the site in addition to providing positive word of mouth advertising.

Depending on the product, entertainment based ecommerce strategies can take a variety of forms. For younger customers, an online game may be used to give them the chance to win discounts on certain products. Another technique involves allowing customers to watch music videos or films where they can pause or zoom in on items that are offered for sale. In both cases, the company provides the consumer with free entertainment that encourages purchasing your goods or services.

Some ECommerce + Entertainment Strategies

A growing number of companies have started to combine entertainment based features with their ecommerce systems. In some cases, the entertainment component is designed to promote a specific brand, while in other cases, the goal is a more general promotion of products.

Fallon Minneapolis has produced an excellent example of entertainment based ecommerce solutions, creating a modified music video for Nordstrom. This 1980s era rock video allows the viewer to change the clothing on the models in the video, purchase the clothing online, and save the remix for later use when s/he wants to email it to friends. The video combines ecommerce, entertainment and a viral advertising component.

Amazon’s decision to start offering original content exclusive to the Kindle and other Amazon devices is an entertainment/ecommerce play. By providing exclusive entertainment offerings, Amazon can improve the popularity of their devices and services over competitors who do not offer the same features.

Mobile is certainly leading the way for entertainment based retailing that hopefully leads to conversions. L’Occitaine, for instance, just launched an app that is pure entertainment and an attempt at brand building.

Today, merchants must take an active role in entertaining customers in order to benefit from long-term patronage.