This week, Target launched a shoppable virtual reality series on YouTube called “The House on Hallow Hill.” Promoted through social media, this Halloween campaign follows a “choose your own adventure” theme and includes six shoppable videos that viewers can explore. What makes this latest effort from Target noteworthy is the integration of 360 degree video with click-to-buy functionality. Basically a user can tour several rooms within a virtual haunted house and then shop items that are part of a room’s theme.

As detailed in Mintel Trend Experience is All, retailers’ over-emphasis on convenience and price has led consumers to crave experience more than ever. Target takes this trend to heart by seizing the opportunity to build genuine brand loyalty and give its customers a unique online shopping experience.

25% of US moms find YouTube to be an informative source of parenting information.

By creating a story through interactive video, Target is entertaining consumers while helping them research products. This strategy is on-point with Mintel research. According to Mintel’s Marketing to Moms 2015 report, US moms strongly associate YouTube videos with entertainment. Video marketing can be especially effective when marketing to moms as they may be more receptive to products and services advertised in a nontraditional way.

A recent study by Google also confirms Target is heading in the right direction. Google’s Moms Audience Study revealed 58% of YouTube-watching moms are likely to search for videos about a certain product before making a purchase. The study also found that 83% of moms search for answers to their questions online, and of those, three in five turn to online video in particular.

Shoppable video is starting to gain momentum as evidenced by Google’s announcement on September 29, that its own “shoppable” video format was being tested and will be available for advertisers site-wide via Google’s Adwords in the coming months. The push towards this medium is certainly warranted. Shoppable video is contextually relevant, engages the viewer directly, and can breathe life into the story of a company’s brand – all with seamless click-to-buy technology. But to be effective it needs something else. It needs to be an experience that entertains as it helps a customer in their buying journey.

While the success of Target’s Halloween campaign has yet to be determined, the retailer has no doubt started a new conversation with its customers. Target has chosen to put the customer at the center of its omnichannel experience and use emerging technology to do so. Look for advertisers to follow Target’s lead and find entertaining ways for consumers to interact with their brand and make every experience a shoppable one.

Brian Voss is the Director of Insights, Digital for Mintel Comperemedia. Brian specializes in the digital industry, researching and presenting on the latest industry trends, competitive intelligence insights and newsworthy developments.

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