As NBC's ratings attest, the network is bringing home the gold in terms of total viewership. So with all those eyeballs, how are first and second screen companion apps doing in terms of monetizing t-commerce? Well some never even entered the competition, others are in training and a select few are bringing home the medals. Here's how I score the field.
Watch with eBay Wins Bronze
I'll say from the start that your judge is not a big eBay shopper so I was overwhelmed with the eclectic (that's being kind) mix of 10,736 items offered once I went shopping. To eBay's credit, Shop the Games was prominently featured. But even after working to refine the assortment, I still faced 1,466 Men's Clothing choices. Let's call in a Nordstrom coach as their site allows shoppers to sort based on a multitude of item attributes. eBay has upped the penetration of Buy it Now items so at least they leverage the impulsive nature of sports shopping. It's Bronze by default.
IntoNow from Yahoo! Wins Silver
After easily syncing to the Olympics, I had to do a bit of hunting to find the t-commerce opportunity but there it was on the first page, albeit below the fold (at least on my iPad). Labeled "Shop" with a price tag graphic, one click brings viewers to Team USA's Olympic online shop where you can peruse a raft of items. The site is OK but not great in terms of organization. But to get people there in the first place, you need a solid call to action and that's where IntoNow loses valuable points.
You can also head to iTunes via IntoNow's music sync but it was difficult to return. One last side note, IntoNow and other apps suffered from NBC's tape delay as I frequently saw news feed final results of events I hadn't yet finished watching.
ConnecTV Wins Gold
After selecting Olympics as my show, I saw gold in the relatively prominent, lower-left box 90% dedicated to t-commerce. Michael Phelps headphones! 2012 Olympic Game Highlights (pre-order)! London Baseball Caps! The featured product rotated as did some great calls to action: "Gear Up!" "Want More?" All links sent you to Amazon - the trusted commerce site with a huge customer base (no worries about setting up new payment accunt here).
ConnecTV and/or Amazon had clearly done some thinking about which items to feature. That's important given the impulsive nature of sports fan gear shopping. I want that athlete's shirt right after she wins the gold. Once done shopping, I found it easy to get back to ConnecTV. Still, there is room for improvement. I'd like to see more items rotated and quick links to the wider Amazon assortment of Olympic product. But add up the points and ConnecTV clearly clinches the gold!
Have you done any Olympic t-commerce shopping? I hear you run faster in an authentic Olympic tee!
Will Keller, President, Interactive TV Commerce, is the go-to expert for t-commerce sales strategy and execution. For more iTV insights, subscribe to Inside the Screen or follow him @iTVcommerce.