In early October 2013, Google announced Shoppable Hangouts for Google+. The idea here is that they are looking to merge eCommerce with Social. In a hangout with Eric Enge yesterday, featured below, Ria Tobaccowala referred to this merger as “Social Commerce.”
This appears to be the future of online retail as it is further increasing the personalization of a shopping experience.
How does it work?
Shoppable Hangouts allow us to interact with the designer who created a product while browsing three different trends that the hangout host would like to promote. These related products will appear in the right-hand side of the screen and will link directly to the host’s eCommerce store. Users will then have the option to add items to their cart or wish list.
Websites have been experimenting with different types of engagement for a while now and have received positive feedback as result. Take for example shoemint. This website imports images from instagram that shows different people wearing shows uploaded with their hashtag. Users love this feature because they are able to see how the shoes will look with different outfits.
Google originally had the fashion industry in mind when they created this concept but have recently saw success in other areas. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earhardt Jr. recently held a shoppable hangout where they sold a lot of fan gear. Google also partnered with a charity where they saw success in fundraising for a hangout-a-thong; they used the app to get donations.
In the hangout yesterday, Ria mentions the positive results that companies have been seeing: actual sales saw a 9% increase after hangout (not from hangout itself, referral traffic), there was a 20%-30% increase in General website traffic ,social media mentions increased in mentions and more engagement during the hangout. For every view, people are clicking at least 3 times (on content).
Products are required to be connected to an eCommerce store since Google does not handle payment. Users will be able browse then checkout from the app making the buying experience easier for the user.
What’s in store for the future of Shoppable Hangouts?
The concepts are limitless. Ria mentions that someone could host a video on computer repair and sell related products during that video. A contractor could show you how to redo your bathroom and link to related products that they recommend.
I’m excited to see where this is headed over the next few years. I think this will be a huge boost for online retail. What are your thoughts related to this concept? Is there any way you would improve it?