Back in May I posted about a new interactive shopping widget that 1-800-Flowers was using for a Mother's Day campaign. The shopping widget appeared on various websites as an expandable ad unit with a fully functioning storefront -- meaning customers could browse and check-out without leaving the website they are on. 1-800-Flowers recently released some results of the Mother's Day campaign (pre-Facebook shoplet), citing a 41% higher sales per impression and 10.5x lift in interaction rates compared to standard banner advertising with A/B split testing.
1-800-Flowers has since embedded its widget into its Facebook Fan Page, and goes down in history by claiming the first retail transaction within Facebook. At 11:50 am EST on July 8, 2009, it sold a "Slice of Life" for $34.99:
As I mentioned in the original post, shopping widgets with full transaction capability will soon appear in mobile applications, Internet enabled television, gaming consoles and other electronic devices that access the Internet -- Multichannel 2.0. It also gives retailers opportunity to open up shop on any website including shopping portals, affiliate sites, blogs and social networks.
18F's "shoplet" is provided by Alvenda and works on a revenue share pricing model which "can be configured to deliver a return on advertising spend equivalent to, or better than, search advertising." Alvenda handles front end design and integration with order systems and can get up and running in as little as 4 weeks.
A quicker/cheaper shopping widget option for smaller e-tailers is Cartfly. (Thanks to Jesse from 137 Clothing for sharing in the comments). Cartfly is free to use (other 3% commission on sales) and can be embedded in blogs and social networks, redirecting the shopper to your site when he/she's ready to check out. A caveat is an Amazon Payments account is required, as Amazon is the default payment solution. Something you may want to avoid.
Expect more e-tailers to experiment with interactive, portable storefronts in the future, evolving to become more personalized based on context (product assortment tailored based on content of website the ad is being viewed, for example). We can also expect these storefronts to extend to mobile channels and interactive TV very soon.