Overlay.TV in Interactive Video Commerce Deployment with Online Retailer, Zappos.com

Overlay.TV--an Ottawa, Canada-based start-up which has developed technology that, among other things, allows users to add a layer of custom-designed, clickable content over broadband videos, and which recently announced (see the article published on itvt.com, September 28th) that it would focus its efforts on Overlay.TV for Retail, the interactive video commerce platform that it launched in June (see the article published on itvt.com, June 16th)--announced last week that Zappos.com, an online retailer specializing in apparel and footwear, has deployed Overlay.TV for Retail to add an interactive video element to its Web site.

According to Overlay.TV, the clickable videos that the platform enables are fully integrated with Zappos.com's ecommerce backend, and dynamically reflect "inventory events" such as items becoming discontinued or out-of-stock, as well as promotions and special offers. Visitors to the site can not only shop directly through the videos, Overlay.TV says, but can share them via their blogs and social networking profiles. "The ability to see a product in action, to click on it for more information, to share it on Facebook, and add it to your cart without even leaving the page is a major change for this industry," Overlay.TV co-founder and CEO, Rob Lane, said in a prepared statement. "Our approach is 100% about improving the customer experience, and giving them the tools to share that experience with their networks, which makes what we're doing a perfect fit for Zappos."

Zappos.com is rolling out Overlay.TV for Retail in two phases: the first phase sees the launch of "engagement pages" featuring specific brands, such as Nike; while the second phase will see the platform implemented on all the company's product pages. According to Overlay.TV, as part of the roll-out, users will be able to access premium content provided by Zappos.com and its partner brands, and record video testimonials and product reviews to enhance the site's community recommendations. "User reviews are extremely powerful, and putting a face to those reviews makes them even more valuable to the consumer," Lane continued. "It's the difference in credibility between a recommendation given to you by a friend and one scrawled on the bathroom wall." Added Zappos.com's director of user experience and Web strategy, Brian Kalma: "Overlay.TV for Retail made a lot of sense to us. It enables us to stay focused on content, experience an overall better service, without the need to invest heavily in video production and delivery, or go through huge efforts to modify our media every time we want to offer our customers a better promotion. The brand pages are also exciting, as they bring our user community closer and more intimate with our partners."

According to Overlay.TV, Overlay.TV for Retail's scalability was a significant factor in Zappos.com's selection of the platform.

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