Apple and the Future of Home Shopping

Pull up your Siri Remote and Open the Omnichannel

Apple TV Becoming a Shopper's Paradise
Get all the fun of shopping anywhere on your Apple TV. Getty

If the future of television is apps, then it’s reasonable to imagine that shopping will also be part of the future of TV. It seems highly probable Apple is thinking that way too, and if you explore the apps available on the App Store you will find a few hints at the future of TV home shopping.

Shop on Your Apple TV

GILT is a great example of how apps can transform the way you shop at home. The critically acclaimed app comes from a NY fashion brand and lets you explore what clothes it has available and make purchases, all through your Apple TV.

You can search for clothes by category, and explore 3D views of the items you are interested in from multiple different positions.

The Sotheby’s app provides another interesting example of an interesting shopping related solution for Apple’s platform.  This app focuses on art, providing an extensive video library and HD streams of auctions from Sotheby's locations around the world. The app doesn’t let you take part in auctions, but does give you a window into how they work.

GILT and Sotheby’s are far from being the only home shopping apps you’ll find: Macys, Trove, Mango, Elanium – even the venerable Home Shopping Network has introduced its own Apple TV app. If you’re familiar with how HSN works then one of the app's most useful features is that it breaks users out of the linear programming trap, search for the feeds you want to watch.

O ne of the first home shopping channels to reach television, QVC also offers its own app.

This combines live and archive shows and product discovery.

The Personalized Connection

Why this works is that home shopping apps like these provide all the versatility and personalization you can expect from a mobile device, but through a medium the size of your TV screen.

There are some limitations: Apple’s commitment to privacy seems to limit the potential some retailers may want to explore of aiming product promotions at people who happen to meet certain demographic requirements, “50-year old females in Connecticut”, for example.

 

This isn’t such a new thing: UK chain Marks & Spencer created its own app for a Samsung smart TV back in 2012, but the interactive opportunity of such front room tech has become more refined. Meanwhile, viewing habits are changing.

These shopping apps match the increasingly multiscreen model of TV consumption: 80 percent of us already use our smartphones while watching television.  The number of Internet users doubled to reach 3.2 billion globally in 2016. This is driving significant change in how consumers browse, buy and communicate.

Closing the Gap

It’s in that context that enabling virtual shopping experiences through voice control and the Siri Remote using apps on Apple TV makes sense. “The power of the Apple TV is that it becomes another touch-point in the company-consumer relationship,” Albert Lai, Chief Technology Officer, Media at online video platform, Brightcove has said.

Retailers are also exploring the potential of the platform to improve their connection with customers. Many big brands are developing How To and product explanation guides for Apple TV.

The social nature of communication is also transforming shopping through Apple TV, as evidenced by Fancy, which relies on its own community to help recommend new products.

Huge Potential

This accumulated momentum underlines the potential of Apple TV as a shopping channel, and as Apple introduces new features and melds Apple Pay support into the experience, the way we shop may also change. In future, it’s not too hard to imagine shoppers being able to explore 3D virtual retail outlets to fulfill their weekly groceries shop. All without leaving the home.