September 30, 2016
Online retailer Mr Porter is bringing its editorialized commerce to a new channel with the launch of an Apple TV application devoted to its video content.
The brand’s Apple TV app connects to user’s mobile devices, enabling them to shop the looks seen on screen as they watch. While other luxury labels have emerged on Apple TV, this first-of-its-kind shoppable app represents a new concept in luxury retail.
"There is a trend among millennials to use multiple devices concurrently, and this strategy is a great complement to that," said Dave Rodgerson, a retail business development executive at Microsoft Canada, Toronto.
"Internet ProtocolTV likeAppleTV is just one form of the disruption that the media industry is experiencing but it’s also important in that it helps to deliver new and rich forms of content – for example shopping," he said.
Mr. Rodgerson is not affiliated with Mr Porter, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.
Mr Porter was unable to comment directly before press deadline.
Watch and shop
Mr Porter’s Apple TV app compiles videos from the past five years of the retailer’s shoppable online magazine The Journal.
The weekly magazine has crafted films that delve into sartorial tips, tour global cities or take consumers behind-the-scenes with tastemakers. Showing the breadth of topics, video titles include “Secrets of a Well-Fitting Italian Suit” to “Inside The Best Restaurant In The World: Osteria Francescana.”
The app is built exclusively for Apple’s tvOS using the tech company’s Swift 3 programming language. Leveraging tvOS’ native capabilities surrounding Multipeer connectivity, the Apple TV app can communicate with Mr Porter apps for iPhone and iPad via Bluetooth or WiFi.
Mr Porter's Apple TV app
As they are watching, consumers can swipe up to see the products featured. These appear in a gallery at the bottom of the screen.
If a garment or accessory piques the viewer’s interest, they are instructed to connect with their mobile device to shop.
Mr Porter's Apple TV app
“As our customers have always had the ease and opportunity to shop directly from the digital pages and video-series of The Journal, we’re now thrilled they’ll be able to connect their shopping experience with the viewing-pleasure of video series and short films within Apple TV’s network of innovative channels and first rate content," said Jeremy Langmead, brand and content director at Mr Porter, in a brand statement.
Recognizing content as a worthwhile investment, Mr Porter recently created an extension of The Journal. The Daily, found in the same section of the retailer’s Web site, enables Mr Porter to tell more stories, being more flexible in catering content to the present.
What was originally a primarily online medium has also extended into more portable channels.
In 2014, Mr Porter relaunched its online magazine The Journal with a mobile-first approach. When it originally launched, consumers were mostly reading the content on desktop or tablet, but now many readers are accessing it on their mobile devices (see story).
Big screen debuts
Finding an appealing audience on Apple TV, a number of luxury brands have launched on the streaming device.
British fashion label Burberry also launched an app for the Apple TV platform, the latest in a series of digital partnerships with the tech giant.
To celebrate its Apple TV debut on Jan. 10, Burberry live-streamed its menswear show via its app, becoming the first fashion brand to broadcast its runway show in that manner. Burberry is commonly known in luxury as an early adopter of digital, and the brand continues to lay claim to it tech-savvy positioning with industry-first partnerships (see story).
Apple is furthering its high-fashion push through a content channel that was available only to Apple TV users at launch.
Developed by entertainment conglomerate WME-IMG, the Made to Measure channel is the first fashion video network, and will cover the past, present and future of the fashion industry through multiple storytelling efforts. Given the importance storytelling has within the fashion industry, M2M, as the channel is referred to, will screen fresh and relevant narratives in multiple forms to keep consumers tuned in (see story).
Since its premiere, M2M has partnered with brands including Marc Jacobs and Gemfields.
"Mr. Porter has certainly figured out that a successful retailer needs to have a presence across multiple sales channels," Mr. Rodgerson said. "The business needs to drive consumer activity back and forth between their various assets to grow customer engagement, so their foray into Apple TV makes perfect sense."
"What I like is that this isn’t just an online catalog or a shopping channel like QVC," he said. "Mr. Porter uses this as a vehicle to tell stories and create content that engages their customers and create new fans."