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How Retail Giants Like Walmart And Fanatics Are Championing 'Shoppable Videos' as Next Big Frontier

Shoppable videos have become a priority for retailers and platforms like TikTok are pioneering it.
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Igor Miske
Cover Image Source: Unsplash | Photo by Igor Miske

On the last day of programming at Shoptalk, leaders from Walmart and Fanatics talked about a game-changing marketing tactic ‘shoppable videos’. Leaders from the two retailers spoke about why shoppable videos are a priority to them and how platforms like TikTok are pioneering it. Walmart already has a partnership with TikTok in place for its various campaigns and it is venturing into TV content as well.


Sports apparel and collectibles seller Fanatics, which ranks No. 25 in the Top 1000 Digital Commerce 360, also uses shoppable videos for marketing through its livestream shopping platform, Fanatics Live. Chris Lamontagne, president of Fanatics Live, also weighed in on the importance of the emerging tool at the conference. Lamontagne said that there’s a “near-term” opportunity to have a two-way conversation with customers through shoppable videos, in a digitalcommerce360 report.


Late last year, Walmart made headlines with its “Add to Heart,” romantic comedy series on TikTok, Roku and YouTube. The content included prompts to buy products seen during each episode integrating television commerce or t-commerce into streaming.


Walmart has also collaborated with numerous creators on TikTok for its product promotions and it stands No. 2 in the Top 1000, Digital Commerce 360’s ranking of North America’s online retailers by web sales.

“One of the things that we’re doing is partnering with NBCU on their Must Shop TV technology on Peacock,” Jill Toscano, vice president, and head of media at Walmart, said at the conference, as reported by digitalcommerce360.


As per Toscano, the new Must Shop TV leverages AI technology that identifies objects within a scene and matches them to the products available on Walmart in real time for the viewers. Thus it gives viewers the ability to “purchase it right there in the viewing experience,” Toscano explained.

She added that the exercise is labor intensive and is still in a testing phase. However, she does think that the future for e-commerce is automation where it can be more personalized than what it is today.

At the start of this year, Walmart also announced its first-to-market pilot to include all Managed Serve advertisers. Walmart had initially tested the unique partnership with TikTok and Walmart Connect to deliver in-feed ads on TikTok. However, the future of this partnership hangs in the balance as the bill proposed to ban TikTok in the US develops.

In March 2024, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which seeks to force TikTok’s Beijing-based owner ByteDance to completely divest from the platform in the U.S. or face a complete ban in the country. The bill is currently pending and the Senate will now consider its legality and applicability.


However, since President Biden has stated that he would sign the law if the Senate passes it, Americans including retailers like Walmart will lose access to the platform within six months, as per CBS. This depends on whether the legislation overcomes the hurdles in Congress and survives legal scrutiny. Even if the law were to go into effect, it faces an impending legal fight with the Constitution’s First Amendment in contention. Currently, TikTok has a user base of an estimated 170 million people in the U.S.