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Interactive Television, Viewing Habits, and The Promise of T-Commerce

T-commerce is an inevitable extension of e-commerce and m-commerce that could potentially give rise to the holy trinity of retail.  In the near future using your TV to buy show box sets could be as easy as channeling up or down on your remote.  What remains to be seen is how TV ecosystems as interactive platforms evolve, and more importantly how consumers habits shift (or don’t shift).  Once t-commerce arrives in a scalable and friendly way retail will never be the same again however if consumers fail to shift their habits then it is all one big pipe dream. 

Television viewing habits are a highly debated topic right now, are TV viewers passive or active?  Will they bother to engage with remotes when a more familiar and already streamlined tools like laptops, tablets, and phones sit an arms length away? The keys to the future belong to marketers who can seamlessly connect with consumers on all screens and properly harness the power of Television. T-commerce cannot stand alone and must be an integrated technology that can convert a consumer at the moment of attention.  User interfaces, transaction mechanisms, and accessibility must all be flawless when it comes to TV because viewing habits are deeply engrained.  TV has not changed for over 60 years and on this medium consumers have little tolerance for crappy experiences.  Researchers need to understand viewer tolerance for interruption.  Poor marketing executions and transaction mechanisms can kill t-commerce before it really has a chance to break into the mainstream.

I recently saw a huge banner pop up during a Family Guy live TV episode on Time Warner.  The banner wasn’t even clickable, instead it was ugly, took up half the screen, and stayed up way too long.  Not to mention it occurred in the middle of programming that I pay a hefty cable bill to enjoy!  The worst part is that this huge black banner was for one of those cheap infomercial type law firms that normally only plague daytime TV.  Seriously Time Warner, why are you giving me more reasons to cut the cord? The banner looked something like this:

Check out this article on why interactive TV isn’t meant for every advertiser.  MSO’s need to do a better job of quality control, they need to turn away certain business before they cheapen the interactive TV experience beyond repair.

The promise of Interactive TV is tremendous and while the space rapidly evolves it is far from standardized.  Every player from MSO’s, to Smart TV manufacturers, to app creators want a piece of the pie and it is the consumer who is left to wade through all the crap.  The true path of t-commerce cannot be known until interactive television in general comes into its own.  Will interactivity occur through apps on connected TV’s or will technology embedded in set-top-boxes enable consumers to engage directly with :30s spots?  Clunky in-programming advertisements can actually have the opposite effect of good advertising and cheapen otherwise decent promotions.

So you’re freaking out because you think the government is spying on you?  Well, guess what, they are… and so is pretty much everyone else.

Go ahead try disconnecting for a couple days.  You will lose your shit sooner than later and come crawling back to mama.  Unless you’re this guy. Or, this person.

Anyway, you are being spied on main because people want to sell you stuff.  They want to sell you the right stuff just when you need it most.  Buried under that veil somewhere is also the fact that data will make your life more coherent without you even noticing.

Many large retailers are becoming so good at this stuff that they can predict if you’re pregnant with only a few subtle changes in your shopping behavior.  This is data science people and it’s here to stay: Trust me my friends, READ THE WHOLE NY TIMES JAM!!!  Here’s an excerpt:

"Almost every major retailer, from grocery chains to investment banks to the U.S. Postal Service, has a “predictive analytics” department devoted to understanding not just consumers’ shopping habits but also their personal habits, so as to more efficiently market to them. “But Target has always been one of the smartest at this,” says Eric Siegel, a consultant and the chairman of a conference called Predictive Analytics World. “We’re living through a golden age of behavioral research. It’s amazing how much we can figure out about how people think now.”"