Despite initial reluctance, more and more retailers are weighing the benefits of interactive click-to-purchase video content. But will their change of Since its introduction some eight years ago, shoppable video has suffered from a certain stigma; despite the initial hype and flash since its inception, interactive video sales has—until recently—failed to make much headway among retailers. Even after YouTube rolled out its click-to-pay feature in 2009, response was tepid. Yet as interfaces continue to be refined and the rise of mobile and touchscreen usage soars dramatically, more and more companies are beginning to explore the benefits of shoppable video as additional e-commerce platforms.

Yet with little independent research and statistics to rely on, how can retailers ultimately gauge the ROI of shoppable video?

Both traditional video sites such as YouTube and Vimeo as well as social media platforms are increasing usability to allow users to develop a “call to action,” enabling customers already viewing the video to view more in-depth details and purchase. Research has proven that videos on social networks have a consistently higher share rate and are more likely to be viewed than on traditional video sites.

Interactive videos help foster a sense of direct engagement and relatability with potential customers, allowing for a transaction with a brand that is instantaneous. Ultimately, it’s this sense of accessibility which is the core benefit of shoppable video. Cue points in the video which serve as a focal showcase helps bring target products out to the forefront, often in a much more efficient way than traditional physical marketing methods. A transactional experience which shifts straight from advertising to checkout removes the friction of endless searches on behalf of the customer, and helps to collect a more accurate measurement of direct customer interaction. In theory, the platform of shoppable videos should have exploded upon its initial inception. So why are retailers so hesitant in adopting its usage?

Due to its hesitant adoption by retailers, the lack of published case studies makes it difficult to gauge the reliability of click-to-purchase platforms. Part of this slow adoption process was a result of ineffective interfaces during the early introduction of shoppable video. Many customers reported high user experience issues, and general frustration with the lack of product detail. Naturally, this was to be expected given available technologies during initial reception. No platform conversion is seamless, and while experimental trials with developing technologies did occur with a few companies post-roll out, the vast majority of retailers were too wary of an uncertain ROI in addition to reported technical lags to warrant its widespread embrace.

Despite this reticence, mobile commerce now represents upwards of some 46 percent of all e-commerce sales in the U.S. alone. And with this surge in mobile reliability comes a greater demand for touchscreen and reliable mobile interfaces to embrace the increased popularity.

Initial retail reluctance towards the feasibility of interactive video sales is being reexamined. Some 40+ box-chain retailers, including Sears and Kohl’s, announced the integration of shoppable videos into their e-commerce platforms within the past year, while GAP—one early adoptee—has reported 5.9 percent of viewers clicking through to a product description page as a result of their shoppable video campaign. While it may be too early to gauge the efficacy of interactive video sales in an increasingly mobile-centric marketplace, the rapidity of demand and development for changing interface content means that retailers may no longer be able to dismiss any potentially viable tactic.

The emergence of a rapidly changing and tech-savvy marketplace means the emergence not only of new platforms and strategies, but the emergence of an entirely diverse community, one driven as much by utility as they are by adaptation. Despite the cost of creating shoppable video content, consumers are now at a point in which they are driven as much by convenience and available options of purchase as they are dictating it. The uncertainty of demographic response means that no retailer can afford to overlook the viability of one tactic solely on account of insufficient data and statistics. Failing to do so may only result in a failure to innovate.