ITV launches shoppable TV service

David Murphy

ITV has launched a shoppable TV service on LG smart TVs, enabling viewers to discover and shop items from its programmes directly on screen. Viewers can initiate the shopping interface at any time by using their LG remote but must actively opt-in to receive the notifications and use the service.

The service launched during Love Island on ITV2 with Boots UK as the first confirmed launch partner. ITV said it is in discussions with other partners, and that it plans to roll-out the service on other programmes across different genres throughout the rest of 2021.

The interactive system uses AI technology from The Take, a contextual product discovery company. The Take’s technology is built directly into LG TV sets in the UK and is being used for the first time in this country by ITV. The service identifies and tags featured products during programmes and notifies viewers that products on-screen are available. If a viewer is interested, they can select to view more info with their remote and buy via the vendor’s site or a link sent to their phone.

Using the on-screen shopping interface, viewers can scroll through products, which will refresh when different products and characters are shown during a programme. Additionally, users can also choose to view all products available from the episode of the show that they’re watching. All 2021 LG TVs have the technology integrated as standard and it can be added via software update to 2019 and 2020 models.  The Take technology is also live in the US on LG TVs made from 2019 onwards.

“This is a unique commercial opportunity and the next natural step in what we can offer to brands,” said Bhavit Chandrani, ITV’s Director of Digital and Creative Partnerships. “Love Island has been a fantastic platform for innovation in how we work with commercial partners over the past few years and is the perfect show to introduce shoppable TV before we roll it out across other programmes.”

For Boots, CMO Pete Markey said: “We are very excited to be partnering with ITV and TheTake on this new and innovative opportunity. Launching shoppable TV as part of our wider partnership with Love Island is a great way to help customers easily shop the products they spot in the villa and recreate iconic islander looks from the show. It will simplify the customer journey and bring the Boots brand even closer to the Love Island audience.”

Anthony Macro, Head of Display, Video & Social at Croud, said that ITV and anyone else thinking of getting into the shoppable ads game could learn a lot from the US.

“Recent research has found US consumers are currently unenthusiastic about making purchases via shoppable TV ads, suggesting there is still a way to go in terms of creating a seamless, engaging, and – importantly – enjoyable experience for audiences,” he said. “While shoppable ads' appeal may lie in their apparent frictionless nature, this is something that is not easily achieved in reality, with even social formats only just beginning to enable full end-to-end purchase solutions. Instead, while the shoppable TV technology is still in its infancy, its real strength may lie in its contextual relevance and discoverability, in helping enhance the mobile shopping experience. Amazon Prime Video's X-Ray feature is a great example of discoverability in action, in identifying 'who is that actor from that thing'. If ITV and LG can enable that for apparel, cosmetics and furniture, they could be on to a winner.”