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In early 2014 Rachel Tipograph, while serving as Global Director of Digital & Social Media at Gap — under the watchful eye of then CMO Seth Farbman — was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Later that same year she founded MikMak, a platform brands use to create native commerce experiences for the social video generation.
Fast forward to just last month, when the company announced they are in beta with a product called MikMak Attach, a first-to-market shoppable video layer that brands can add to an Instagram Story or Snap Ad with a single URL. The product will fix the “swipe up” commerce experience and allows brands to turn social video views into direct sales without ever having a user leave Instagram or Snapchat.
Essentially what MikMak Attach does is keep the consumer entertained by delivering an infomercial for a given product they’re interesting in purchasing. So the consumers sees a video instead of going directly to a product page. They can then tap “Add To Cart” and the item in question gets placed onto that given brand’s e-commerce site.
And even if the viewer doesn’t complete the transaction right then and there, the brand still sees it in their cart and can then re-market it to them later.
Here’s a brief, entertaining video (naturally) on MikMak Attach:
I spoke with Rachel not all that long ago to get her take on social media and video and what she sees for the future of traditional brick-and-mortar retail locations.
Steve Olenski: Seemingly forever we’ve heard brand after brand say that while social media is nice and generates buzz and impressions, there’s no true ROI; there’s no way to measure its impact on the almighty bottom line. You, however, believe the future of shopping is rooted in social video. Why are you so certain and what can you say to marketers who still have ROI measurement concerns?
Rachel Tipograph: In the year 2019, 85% of internet traffic will come from video viewing and 50% of commerce will occur via mobile phones. Today, the majority of streaming video traffic comes from environments like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Netflix, etc. If current trends continue, internet traffic will soon be consolidated within video viewing platforms. This is why MikMak is placing a major bet that the future of commerce will be deeply rooted in distributed, social video.
As for ROI and measurement, the challenge brands face today is that attribution is a mess. At the end of the month, everyone reports “last click.” Marketers cannot decipher which video, audience and/or media partner drove the sale and why. MikMak has built software — MikMak Attach and MikMak Measure — that solves this pain point by removing the friction between engaging with social video and the end-checkout experience. There is no question how a video view turned into a purchase with us.
Olenski: To take it even a step further, you told me on the phone when we spoke that you think the future of ALL commerce, not just e-commerce, is rooted in social video. That’s a pretty powerful statement, which will surely have many cynics questioning your belief. To those cynics you would say… what?
Tipograph: When you were a child, did you think that your kids would never use a rotary phone? Or how about never hail a taxi? Video is becoming the predominant form of content consumption on the web. From SMBs to education to government to healthcare to Fortune 1000s, the main marketing conversations your teams will be having is “What is our video commerce strategy to engage and convert customers?”
Olenski: Is all of “this” – social video and its potential to drive commerce — for B2C marketers only? I can see many a B2B marketer shaking their head thinking “this is not for me.”
Tipograph: B2B video commerce is already happening. There are numerous healthcare companies that provide diagnostic services to patients via video conferencing. Colleges are streaming classes via video. Consultants are building their brands via short video clips. Even for MikMak, whose clients are big brands and retailers, all of our marketing and sales materials are rooted in video demonstrations. We get countless inquiries from B2B companies to help sell their services with video because often B2B services can’t be described in a photo or 90 characters. Video is the medium to simplify complicated products.
Olenski: One thing we haven’t touched on yet is demographics. Do you think some brands will look at “this” and believe it’s not applicable to them because of the base age of their target audience, even those in the consumer space?
Tipograph: The next great shopper is the video shopper. This isn’t a demographic, this is a behavior that anyone with a smartphone falls into. A video shopper is a person who loves to consume video (often designed for mobile, social distribution) and is comfortable receiving product information through this format and checking out within this experience. Some of MikMak’s top video shoppers are middle-aged women.
Olenski: Do you think brick-and-mortars will ever go away completely? Both the sentimentalist and the realist in me both say no; that there will always be a need for a traditional “store” where consumers can go and touch and try on a given product before purchasing. Is there a happy medium?
Tipograph: This is the most disruptive period in retail’s history. In the first quarter of 2017, we’ve seen as many retail bankruptcies as all of 2016. Part of the cause is the continued rise of eCommerce, the other cause is that consumers are shifting their dollars from buying items like apparel and electronics to buying experiences such as dining and travel. Match that with the population continuing to move to urban centers, which translates into the further decline of suburban malls, and you have to question the future of brick and mortar retail.
Physical retail experiences will not go away, but they absolutely will look different over the next decade. We’ll continue to see more retailers see their physical stores as a place for experiential entertainment, a place to pick up or try on your online orders. For me, the innovation that will transform brick-and-mortar retail is the advent of the smart, self-driving car. Once the car knows that you’re out of milk at home and there’s a grocery store on route, it will take you there. And you can bet MikMak will be bringing video commerce experiences into self-driving cars in the future.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.