Joyus is betting that video retail will be the next big thing

Chicago— TV may well be the next hot platform for commerce, or at least for one e-commerce retailer,

Joyus is a video retailer featuring a curated selection presented in video format. Shoppers watch the video, learn about the item and can purchase directly from the page where an image is displayed alongside the video content. There's no need to go to the product page.

"Video is very early in its revolution," declared Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, founder and chairman, Joyus. "We are a retailer on our own platform."

Joyus' site design is modeled more on Netflix and Hulu than Amazon or Zappos. Video tiles are cleanly displayed and can run in full screen mode. By featuring regular presenters — experts in their subject matter, not personalities — the retailer creates a bond with shoppers, said Cassidy. It's a level of intimacy that's difficult to gain in a static format.
"On video, you are your brand voice. We live in the age of YouTube, there is an expectation of authenticity," she said.

There's a focus on discovery and emerging brands. "We are a depth platform, not breadth platform. We're about selling 1,000 of one thing, not thousands of things" she said.

Video is a great way to focus someone's attention, but it's also costly to produce. "It's a pretty risky business that requires a lot of capital," explained Cassidy. "One of the worst ways to use that capital is to be window dressing for Amazon, Macy's or Nordstrom." Most of the items featured are unique or hard to find elsewhere.

Before founding Joyus in 2011, Cassidy spent 18 years at technology and retail companies including Google, Amazon and Polyvore.

While retailers at IRCE this week heard plenty about the importance of the visual, not just as images on websites, but as a focus of social media marketing. Instagram, Pinterest and mobile-optimized sites that more prominently feature images are standard platforms for retailers.

But video offers yet unexplored benefits in what could be a growing medium. Consumers today turn to YouTube for tutorials on everything from how to tile a bathroom to using makeup. QVC and the Home Shopping Network have certainly proven the power of video sales, but much of what is currently available online can be found on YouTube.  

Retailers, marketers and brands are furiously pursuing mobile as part of omnichannel efforts, but the advent of connected TVs that stream content and display websites as channels and apps, could give rise to a new platform for commerce.

"Mobile is important," said Cassidy, "but I believe we're going to come all the way back to the TV."

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