March 30, 2010, 12:00 AM

Attention Kmart shoppers: Now you can shop inside a Facebook video

Many e-commerce companies allow visitors to their Facebook fan pages to click through to their retail sites and buy. But Kmart recently took the concept a step further, launching a shopping video on its Facebook fan page.

Many e-commerce companies allow visitors on their Facebook fan pages to click through to their retail sites and buy. Other merchants let customers buy products featured in videos on their e-commerce sites as the videos play. This month, Kmart combined the two, launching a shopping video on its Facebook page.

The video is located on Facebook.com/Kmartdesign, a fan page promoting Kmart’s fashion and home goods lines. It introduces consumers to a few of Kmart Design’s team of more than 200 apparel and home designers and allows viewers to buy items as those in-house experts discuss the merchandise. Consumers click on the ‘Shop this video’ button to purchase items ranging from linens to tableware. They complete their purchases on Kmart.com.

“One of our main goals is to focus on driving engagement closer to commerce, but we`ve realized the need to start with driving awareness and consideration,” says Mark Snyder, chief marketing officer for Kmart. And, Facebook, it seems, is a good place to start engaging consumers. Kmart Design’s Facebook page, which launched just within the last month, has more than 8,200 fans.

The shopping video launched on Facebook just this month as well, but the retailer started rolling out a line videos-many not designed for shopping-in May on YouTube, Kmartdesign.com and Twitter.com/Kmartdesign. And, Kmart has created 50 videos in the past eight months, Snyder says. Altogether, the videos have been viewed more than 1.5 million times, Kmart says.

The retailer used content creation and marketing company AboutFace for the shopping video. But it took an army of vendors to get the concept off the ground, including Brightcove, which provided the video platform, and design technology firm Allurent, whose technology lets consumers shop within the videos. Allurent specializes in shopping widgets, but this is the first time it has used such technology in videos. Digital marketing firm Hanson Dodge, which does general marketing for KmartDesign, helped tie the Facebook video to Kmart’s retail site.

Allurent delivers its technology through its Allurent On Demand platform, a software-a-service system. Allurent charges a monthly fee based on visits and the number of places a retailer is using its applications, the vendor says.

“On the spectrum from art to science I would put AboutFace more generally on the art side, Allurent on the science side and Hanson Dodge bridging the middle,” says Barry Poltermann, CEO for AboutFace.

Kmart says the goal of the video program is to help tie consumers closer to its brand.

“The Kmart Design online effort tells the story behind the people, product and process, Snyder says. “That allows us to connect with our customers in a deeper, personal way.”

And hopefully, of course, drive more sales.

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