Fashion magazines have always been a kind of armchair shopping, but now the country's largest publisher of consumer magazines wants to bring its readers a step closer to the checkout.
Transcontinental Inc. is experimenting with shoppable video – moving fashion spreads that people can click on to find out information about the clothing they see, and even buy directly from a retailer – in its magazine Elle Canada.
Hudson's Bay Co. is the first advertiser to be part of the experiment with Transcontinental's publishing division, TC Media.
Elle Canada shot five videos featuring clothing, shoes and accessories for sale at the retailer. The September issue features the fall fashions from Hudson's Bay merchandise in its pages as part of a "branded content" deal with the magazine; in the online and tablet editions, this spread will also include the videos. They have their own page on the magazine's website.
In the print version, Elle Canada will include a small label on the images encouraging readers to download an application on their mobile devices, called viewa. It will allow them to see the videos when they hover their phone or tablet over the image.
The videos show a model in different looks, with dots appearing that viewers can click on for price and brand information, and to buy on the Bay site.
The glossy pages of magazines have traditionally been seen by advertisers as a lush forum to reach consumers. But as digital media have divided those consumers' attention spans, marketers are seeking out new ways to reach them.
TC Media, which publishes other titles such as Canadian Living and Style at Home, is considering using the technology in campaigns for other advertisers in future.
"Developing smart and measurable branded content advertising opportunities for our clients is critical," Jacqueline Loch, vice president and group publisher for TC Media said in a statement.
Google Inc. has already been offering shoppable videos to convince marketers to spend more money advertising on YouTube, the online video site that Google owns.
Canadian retailer SportChek, as well as brands such as Dyson vacuum cleaners and Juicy Couture, have worked with YouTube on shoppable video campaigns.
Hudson's Bay has been experimenting with more digital technologies, including real-time mobile ads delivered to shoppers in its stores. The company is spending $40-million this year to catch up to other retailers in the e-commerce space.
"Ensuring a positive shopping experience, whether in-store or online, is a top priority for Hudson's Bay," executive vice president and chief marketing officer Michael Crotty said in a statement.
TC Media says this is the first time a Canadian publisher is using shoppable videos to make its print ads more interactive.