Converting Product Discovery Into Final Sales [Future of Retail]

Converting Product Discovery Into Final Sales [Future of Retail]

A look at the digital systems turning marketing, social and entertainment content into opportunities to buy.

  • 17 november 2013

The scenario is a familiar one: you’re watching your favorite TV show and one of the actors is wearing a pair of shoes or a shirt that you’d like to see in your own closet, but you have no way of knowing the brand, the cost or where to buy it. And even if you do, you’ll likely have some serious internet sleuthing ahead of you before you can put the item in your virtual shopping cart. With every passing moment the likelihood that you’re going to complete a purchase drops significantly. Consequently, the solution to this conundrum seems to be enabling potential buyers to stay within their current media context as they shop.

In our Future of Retail report, PSFK Labs has identified the trend of Omni Point-of-Purchase, where new platforms are tapping into a shopper’s intent to buy by converting every product interaction into a purchase opportunity. These digital systems leverage technologies like image recognition and social transaction tools to convert virtually any encounter with a product into a sales opportunity, enabling impulse purchases to happen anywhere. Read on below to see examples of this trend in action.


The music-tagging mobile application Shazam is expanding its listen-to-learn technology by developing an app that will tell television viewers what a character on television is wearing. The app will listen to the broadcast and match it to a database of brands and products featured during the show. Using this ‘fingerprint spectrogram sample’, shoppers would be able to pull up content on the show such as trivia, cast bios, and, in this case, merchandise. The viewer can connect immediately with the brands they see on screen and complete a purchase within minutes.


Social payment platform Ribbon helps retailers sell products to shoppers within social media sites. Retailers can list products for sale using purchase ‘cards’ tied to conveniently shortened URL links. Shoppers can then click to purchase any links posted on a website, YouTube video, Facebook update, or Tweet. When a Ribbon link is clicked, it expands in size, and shoppers can input their payment information and billing details, and receive a receipt. With the release of an API, Ribbon plans to provide this service across all web platforms. The company secured several large retailers such as Target to use its payment process on the stores’ branded Facebook pages.


Payments company MasterCard has created the ShopThis feature to help tablet magazine readers purchase products they find in-app. Readers of Wired magazine, a Condé Nast publication, will be able to tap on images of products they see in articles to place them in an online basket. Once products are placed in their shopping cart, they can either complete the purchase by adding payment information or they can continue reading and complete the purchase after reading the magazine. is the initial retail partner that will help process and fulfill purchases made using MasterCard’s ShopThis. Publishers’ goals are to deliver the ability to purchase from Wired seamlessly as they convert content into commerce without having to put down the current issue of the magazine. Garry Lyons, Chief Innovation Officer at MasterCard, explains, “We believe any device is potentially a device of commerce, enabling the user to buy what they want from within the content without having to leave the content.”

Omni Point-of-Purchase is part of a larger theme we are calling Networked Purchase Path, where a retailer or brand can effectively employ data, connected technologies and human service to meet the shopper where they are and anticipate where they will go next, enabling better interactions at every stage of the sale.

In the fourth edition of the Future of Retail Report, PSFK Labs brings together two interconnected themes and eleven key trends that provide a foundation for the modern shopping experience. The findings are brought to life with best-in-class examples, actionable strategies and leading questions to inspire leading retailers and brands. Join us at our San Francisco conference on Nov. 21st where talks from retail innovators will bring the key themes to life.



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