NBCUniversal Plans to More Than Double Ecommerce Retail Partners by Next Year

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On Monday, NBCUniversal and PayPal lifted the curtain on a monthslong partnership to capitalize on holiday shopping—but it’s just the beginning of NBCUniveral’s broader ecommerce ambitions.

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A holiday shopping push, in which shoppable gift guides are being rolled out across six NBCUniversal brands, features products from more than 60 brands, all of which are part of the inaugural group of retail partners on NBCUniversal’s commerce platform, Checkout. The company is already aiming to at least double the number of retail partners in the coming months, according to Josh Feldman, NBCUniversal’s evp, head of marketing and advertising creative.

“By the end of 2021, we’ll be in the hundreds, for sure,” Feldman told nitronet TV editor Jason Lynch during nitronet’s virtual Commerce Week on Tuesday. “This is something we’ll triple, quadruple for sure.”

As part of the deal, NBCUniversal and PayPal are releasing 11 holiday gift guides and four linear show integrations across six NBCUniversal brands that encourage viewers and readers to shop products through NBCUniversal’s retail marketplace, Checkout, and select PayPal as their payment method.

Despite the wide-ranging nature of the partnership, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. The guides that appear across NBCUniversal brands Bravo, E!, NBC Sports, Syfy, Telemundo and Today will be specialized for those brands and audiences, Feldman said. On Bravo, for example, cast members of the reality juggernaut Real Housewives have curated their own gift guides based on their personal tastes, whereas Today show gift guides will center on several different consumer segments, including pet owners and self-described fashionistas.

The key to making those integrations work? “There are different consumers [across the six brands], but they are all really, really passionate, and they believe and trust in our brands,” Feldman said.

The initiative marks another ecommerce push from the media giant as it looks to find new ways to engage marketers and brands that may not have a traditional television advertising presence. Of the 60 retailers involved in the marketplace, 95% are not currently advertisers on NBCUniversal, and almost none had previously advertised on television. To court potential new business, NBCUniversal’s ad sales division has a dedicated direct-to-consumer ad sales team that speaks to retailers on a regular basis to pitch them on NBCUniversal’s reach and flexibility, and get them interested in working with the company, Feldman said.

For PayPal, the partnership with NBCUniversal offers the payments platform a front-row seat to the company’s audience, which Feldman said reaches 93% of the country in any given month. That audience is crucial to the payments platform’s efforts to engage more consumers, many of whom are establishing new ecommerce shopping habits.

“We’re excited about the reach, the diversity of audiences, and having the ability to get out to all of the amazing different consumers who embrace and choose PayPal on a daily basis,” Jill Cress, PayPal’s vo, consumer marketing, said.

As the holiday season passes, NBCUniversal is already plotting how to expand the offering to other brands that haven’t yet tested out the shoppable features that link to NBCUniversal Checkout. The company also hopes this holiday season will prove that the strategy is a winning one.

“More importantly, it’s about proving out this business model, and really finding success,” Feldman said. “We have phenomenal partners already in the portfolio. We have phenomenal partners in retailers and with partners like PayPal. We’re really excited, and you are going to see some big announcements from us as we head into 2021.”

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