Sears Canada has introduced a new pre-roll unit on YouTube that allows viewers to shop for specific items featured in a 30-second ad, including patio furniture, home accessories and a barbecue.
Adil Qawi, divisional vice-president of marketing for Sears in Toronto, said the idea stems from a separate marketing fund called the “innovation fund” that the retailer established earlier this year.
The fund is earmarked for what Qawi described as “new, innovative, fun stuff” that has not traditionally been incorporated in Sears’ marketing. The retailer has encouraged agency partners, including Vizeum Canada, to use the fund for non-traditional tactics such as this.
As one of the largest online retailers in the country, Qawi called the shoppable ad concept a “no-brainer” for Sears, particularly as it strives to harmonize the customer experience across multiple consumer touch points.
“The more we can make it a single language and message for consumers and make it easier for them, the better it is,” said Qawi. “Historically our TV advertising has supported our bricks-and-mortar stores, but we don’t want people thinking we don’t also support online.”
The 30-second spot from Bimm, which is also running on TV, features a group of people enjoying a backyard patio and barbecue, only to have to scramble to their own home when the real homeowners return. The shoppable ad is also running on Sears Canada’s Facebook page, which has an estimated 400,000 followers.
As the online ad (pictured above) progresses, a tab at the side urges people to “shop now” for four featured products: a barbeque, patio furniture, cushions and a girl’s dress. “You can only feature a few items at a time because the ad still has to work as an ad,” said Qawi.
Sears has traditionally carved out between 10% to 13% of its TV budget for online pre-roll, since it has emerged as an important means of engaging consumers. The shoppable component required only a small additional fee of between $5,000 and $10,000, said Qawi.
The shoppable YouTube ad has been seen an estimated 45,000 times since it debuted Tuesday. The true litmus test, said Qawi, will be the sell-through of specific products featured in the ad.
Qawi said the innovation fund has been used to underwrite a concerted multicultural marketing effort focusing on Southeast Asian and Chinese consumers that launched in conjunction with Chinese New Year, as well as additional cross-platform programs debuting later this year.