Walmart and Roku are partnering to introduce what they call “shoppable ads,” which will let you buy something directly from an ad on your TV. It seems like the new ad format is intended to streamline the shopping experience so you don’t have to switch to your phone or computer if you see an ad for something you might actually want to buy.
Here’s how it works, according to a press release:
Viewers 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.
Below is a preview of what part of the experience looks like, and you can see the checkout screen in the image at the top of this post.
While I personally have little interest in doing e-commerce on my television, Roku has been vocal for years about its advertising ambitions, so this new type of ad seems to fit right in with the company’s goals. And shoppable streaming ads have been on Walmart’s mind for some time. In 2019, the company introduced the concept to Vudu, the streaming service it sold to Fandango in 2020.
Roku and Walmart are describing the ads as a “first pilot,” which likely means that only a limited number of people will have access to it initially. But the companies seem committed to taking the concept further, as they noted (vaguely) that “future iterations of this pilot will look for opportunities to build deeper commerce experiences that meet customers where they are.” This could mean expanding shoppable ads beyond Walmart and its products, as Roku spokesperson Sarah Saul told The Verge that the company plans to start testing ads from “brands that sell through Walmart before the end of the year.”