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Walmart, Roku Launch eCommerce on CTVs

Roku Walmart
(Image credit: Roku)

BENTONVILLE, Ark. & SAN JOSE, Calif.— Walmart and Roku have announced a major partnership that hopes to make connected TVs the next big e-commerce shopping destination. 

As part of the effort, consumers will be able to purchase featured products from shoppable ads on Roku’s streaming platform and have them fulfilled by Walmart. 

To buy goods, Roku users would simply press “OK” with the remote on a shoppable ad and proceed to checkout with their payment details easily pre-populated from Roku Pay, Roku’s payments platform. 

From there, tapping “OK” on the Walmart checkout page places the order. A Walmart purchase confirmation is then emailed with shipping, return, and support information. 

While companies have long been interested in turning TV into a shopping platform, such t-commerce efforts have not successfully challenged the dominance of online retailers like Amazon, in part because it is much easier to navigate through websites on a PC or a mobile phone. 

The two companies hope that their new partnership will push TV shopping beyond QR code and change the way customers shop and interact with video content by making it easy to discover products and by providing a seamless checkout experience that enables purchases directly at the time of inspiration. 

The effort could help Roku and Walmart, which is already a major ecommerce player, get a leg up on Amazon, Google, Facebook and Pinterest (opens in new tab) in their connected TV and ecommerce offerings. 

It also poses additional competition to companies like NBCUniversal (opens in new tab) that have been expanding their own shoppable TV experiences. 

“We’re working to connect with customers where they are already spending time, shortening the distance from discovery and inspiration to purchase,” said William White, chief marketing officer, Walmart. “No one has cracked the code around video shoppability. By working with Roku, we’re the first to market retailer to bring customers a new shoppable experience and seamless checkout on the largest screen in their homes – their TV.” 

The partnership draws on Walmart’s expertise in evaluating customer behaviors and then ramping up those commerce offerings to customers where and how they want to shop, including during moments of entertainment. 

In addition, 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 companies said. 

“We’re making shopping on TV as easy as it is on social,” said Peter Hamilton, head of TV commerce, Roku. “For years, streamers have purchased new Roku devices and signed up for millions of subscriptions with their Roku remote. Streaming commerce brings that same ease and convenience to marketers and shoppers.” 

OneView, Roku’s ad-buying platform for TV streaming, will have the exclusive capability to activate and measure these shoppable ads. Additionally, marketers will be able to use Roku Brand Studio to design custom creative and branded content built for TV streaming and shopping.  

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.