A/X Armani, a brand of Italian designer Giorgio Armani that targets Generation Y buyers in their 20’s and 30’s with chic apparel styles, wants to reach them where many of them like to be: viewing online video.
“Shopping online and offline is still very much a ‘social experience,’ so giving our customers a chance to see new trends, get style tips from industry experts, and share this with their friends is an easy and natural extension of their online behavior,” says Patrick Doddy, senior vice president and brand director of A/X Armani. “It’s important to us to evolve our site to meet the expectations of our demographic.”
Videos that A/X has deployed on ArmaniExchange.com, which are hosted by online video technology and services provider Overlay.tv, show Armani style experts explaining apparel trends and the attributes of designs worn by models in the video. Viewers can click buttons at the bottom of the video screen to share links to the videos via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail. They also can click a button to copy the video player’s software code to paste it on their own blog or social network web pages to run the same A/X videos.
But those sharing options are secondary to a primary feature of A/X’s Overlay.tv videos, which Armani presents on its MarketLive e-commerce platform. As viewers click to start a video, they’ll notice small, yellow circles, or “hotspots,” that appear on some of the garments featured. Clicking on any of those circles brings the viewer to a product detail window with a direct link to a buy page for the featured garment.
Viewers also have the option of linking to a product detail window and buy page by clicking still thumbnail images of the same garments directly underneath the video.
Clicking either within the video or on an adjacent thumbnail image displays a pop-up window that provides product details such as type of fabric, available sizes, and characteristics such as how many pockets a product has and how and where it’s commonly worn by consumers. The pop-up window also features a “Get It” button that customers can click to make a purchase.
To connect the videos to product data and buy pages, MarketLive provided the Overlay.tv platform with software code to connect the videos to Armani’s back-end product catalog. The system is designed so that, once clickable products featured in videos are no longer available in inventory, clicking on them will not show a Get It button, says Ralf VonSosen, vice president of product management and marketing for MarketLive.
In addition to hosting video content, Ottawa-based Overlay.tv provides retailers with an online administrative tool, which it hosts in a software-as-a-service environment, for managing the clickable links in their videos. For example, a retailer decides at what points within a 30-second video that it wants the clickable circles to appear on particular garments, then uses a computer mouse to move a circle, or any other hotspot image it wants to create, to the chosen product. “It’s all drag and drop,” says Overlay.tv founder and CEO Robert Lane.
Retailers can also choose to make products clickable without showing a hotspot icon on them, he adds.
Armani declined to comment on the effect its clickable videos are having on customer activity, having only recently gone live with it.
Specific costs figures for deploying the Overlay.tv technology were not available from Armani, MarketLive or Overlay.tv, but Lane says the technology is designed to be used by small retailers of $1 million or less in annual sales as well as by large merchants. Fees are based on the number of videos deployed with the Overlay.tv technology and the extent that a retailer client employs features such as hotspots.
The Overlay.tv system also comes with an analytics dashboard that shows data such as number of clicks on videos, the length of time visitors viewed a video, and the conversion rate for purchases. In addition, MarketLive also makes available its own site-wide analytics, which show data such as how much time visitors spend with Overlay.tv videos compared to other content.
Other retailers are also deploying similar clickable video strategies, including MarketLive client Intermix, which sells designer apparel. Overlay.tv has also worked with other e-commerce platforms, and some of its other retailer clients include J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Zappos.com, and apparel fashion designer Tory Burch, Lane says. J.C. Penney is No. 16 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide; Zappos is a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc., No. 1 in the Top 500 Guide.