Roku is teaming up with Walmart to launch what it calls “shoppable ads”. These ads will allow Roku users to buy something directly from their TV using just the remote. They work similarly to ads on social media apps like Facebook. If you see an ad for an interesting product, you can purchase it with a few clicks on your Roku remote. You don’t need to look for it on your phone or computer.
Whenever a shoppable ad appears on the screen, Roku users can press the “OK” button on their remote to get started. It will open up the checkout page with more details about the product. If you find it worth buying, another “OK” will place the order. Walmart will automatically populate the payment details from the linked Roku Pay account. You will then receive a Walmart purchase confirmation with shipping, return, and support information in your email.
Of course, these ads are tailored to your interests based on your online activities across various platforms. Roku says its ad-buying platform OneView will activate and measure these shoppable ads.
“Roku’s purpose-built advertising tech stack will bring all the benefits of streaming TV advertising – targeting, optimization, and measurement – to the commerce partnership,” the company said in a press release. “This unique partnership evolves shopping beyond the QR code and will change the way customers interact and shop TV and video content.”
Roku hasn’t specified if the shoppable ads from Walmart are now live on its platform or if they have yet to start showing up. It’s also unclear whether the ads will show up while streaming content or somewhere else and if they will appear on all of its devices. We might hear more on this in the coming months.
Roku may soon bombard you with invasive ads on your TV
Shoppable ads on TVs are not an entirely new concept. In 2019, Walmart introduced the idea to streaming service Vudu, which it owned back then. But the retail giant sold Vudu to Fandango Media in 2020 and that essentially killed the concept. Walmart has now found a partner in Roku to have another shot at it.
The two companies are describing this partnership as a “first pilot,” suggesting that it may be initially limited to a select group of users. All products appear to be sold and shipped by Walmart during this trial, with no third-party sellers involved.
However, if the pilot program turns out successful, this “first-of-its-kind” partnership may expand to include other sellers that already sell on Walmart. Perhaps Roku may get more retail partners on board. This could mark the beginning of a new era in TV ads. An era not many would probably love, though. Most people may not want their TVs to show such invasive ads, which already occupy their online spaces.
Of course, shoppable ads would make shopping easier. But TVs may not be the best place for them. The typical ads that streaming services show in between or within programs are fine. But bombarding people with tailored shoppable ads, that too on a streaming service they pay a monthly rental for, may not amaze someone who just wants some entertainment and not go shopping on their TV.