Walmart and Roku team up on ‘shopping ads’ for your TV

Walmart and Roku are teaming up to introduce what they call “shopable ads,” which let you buy something straight from an ad on your TV. It appears that the new ad format is intended to streamline the shopping experience so that you don’t have to switch to your phone or computer when you see an ad for something you might want to buy.

Here’s how it works, according to a press release:

Viewers simply press “OK” with the remote on a shopable ad and proceed to the checkout with their payment details simply pre-populated through Roku Pay, Roku’s payment platform. From there, tap “OK” on the Walmart checkout page to place the order. A Walmart purchase confirmation is then emailed with shipping, returns, and support information.

Below is an example of what part of the experience looks like, and you can see the checkout screen in the image at the top of this post.

Seems like a good deal for this cooler.
Image: Roku

While I personally have little interest in e-commerce on my television, Roku has been outspoken about its advertising ambitions for years, so this new type of ad seems to be a perfect fit for the company’s goals. And shoppable streaming ads have been keeping Walmart busy for a while. In 2019, the company introduced the concept to Vudu, the streaming service that it sold to Fandango in 2020.

Roku and Walmart describe the ads as a “first pilot,” which likely means that only a limited number of people will have access to them initially. But the companies seem determined to take the concept further, as they noted (vaguely) that “future iterations of this pilot will look for opportunities to build deeper trading experiences that meet customers where they are.” This could mean expanding storeable advertising outside of Walmart and its products, as Roku spokesperson Sarah Saul told The edge that the company plans to begin testing ads from “brands that sell through Walmart” before the end of the year.

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