Harvey Nichols drives sales via shoppable video in-store

Harvey Nichols is continuing its transformation via technology as well as by reshaping its physical space. Now new tech that makes the content in brand videos instantly shoppable has been introduced into its flagship store. 


Harvey Nichols/Smartzer


Its current video partner in the Knightsbridge store is Calvin Klein as part of the Holly Nichols month-long female-focused store makeover, but the first shoppable videos were launched at Harvey Nichols a month ago via a Chloé collaboration video.

The tech, made by UK company Smartzer, comprises a “shoppable skin [that] is used to deliver a deeper brand experience, engaging customers in an innovative way and driving more sales.” The company, which has customers mainly in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and the US, also said that it has “new and exciting capabilities being announced at the end of this year.”

As well as in-store, Harvey Nichols is rolling out the interactive video player through a variety of brand collaborations across its website and social channels with the video automatically adjusting to the format such as mobile or desktop.

But while the online development is important, stores really are the next frontier for this kind of tech as consumers increasingly expect online-like experiences in the physical locations they visit, as well as an element of entertainment that’s ultimately shoppable. 

Customers are able to experience the shoppable film through the full-length touch-screens simply by tapping on the products to see more information. The products can then be added to a basket for immediate checkout, or easily connected to the customer’s phone through a QR code.

That’s interesting in itself, but even more intriguing, initial results indicate an average engagement rate of 48.3% and a click-through rate of 15.7%, we’re told.

In addition to video performance metrics, the Smartzer platform also provides deeper engagement data to help brands understand the customer journey within an interactive video. Click maps can be used to understand which parts of the video drive the highest interaction, helping to optimise future videos from a creative perspective. 

And that all really matters because, while projections of market size for the UK aren’t easily available, digital video ad spend in the US is expected to increase from $15.4bn this year to almost $22.2bn by 2021.

Peter Howroyd, Head of CRM and Digital Marketing at Harvey Nichols, said: “We are always looking to bring our customers closer to our product in a unique and innovative way. Smartzer’s technology has enabled us to do just that and bring the digital experience to our customers, not only online but in our stores as well.”

And Smartzer CEO Karoline Gross said that its tech sees interaction rates of over 50%, an average of 20 times higher than that of standard video ad formats.

That success rate is presumably achieved partly because the tech can be tailored to the brands. The company said as an example that a recent Jimmy Choo shoppable video was more storytelling-focused and saw a 34.5% a view-through rate across all channels.   


Smartzer CEO Karoline Gross

The tech can be added to a video in a matter of hours and brands can link the shoppable videos directly to their Instagram Stories as well as distribute them across video ad networks as a VPAID tag. 

So far Smartzer has worked with LVMH, Adidas, Burberry, Galeries Lafayette, Bulgari, M&S, Emilio Pucci, MyTheresa, Jo Malone, John Lewis Partnership, MyTheresa, and JD Sports, among others. 

That’s an interesting selection of labels with a fairly broad spread of customers. Gross said that the company has “worked with brands that have a wide range of target audiences and the results remain relatively consistent.”

She added: “We have seen very strong results in this category for engagement, click-through and sales. For example Simply Be saw sales of over £26 driven by each Buy Now click on the shoppable video. Similarly M&S showed strong engagement at 54% and £18 sales driven by each Buy Now click in the video. “

And it looks like there will be more retailers introducing such videos in the near future. Gross said retailers are increasingly open to such tech. “There seems to have been a strong shift in adopting the concept of 'shoppable video' since the launch of Instagram Stories and being able to showcase products underneath a video post,” she explained. “We have seen a surge in in-bound requests for shoppable video which seems to start to become the expected format of showcasing video to consumers.”

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