Brands should be readying themselves for ‘couch commerce’ season as Strictly returns to TV

Marketers should be readying themselves for ‘couch commerce’ season and aligning their strategies to the surge in traffic sparked by the return of Strictly Come Dancing to screens this weekend.

According to eBay, Caroline Flack’s performance in the Strictly final last year sparked a 163 per cent leap in online searches for ‘ballroom shoes’, proving just how powerful a marketing strategy tailored to TV's peak moments can be.

It has been dubbed 'couch commerce’ and is particularly prevalent during shows like The Great British Bake Off, X-Factor and Strictly.

Analysing the shopping habits of the 12.3 million viewers who tuned in to the Great British Bake Off final last year, eBay found that searches for high-end appliance ‘Kitchen Aid’, which featured heavily in the 2014 series, rose by 36 per cent.

“[It] represents a huge opportunity for savvy brands at this time of year, but brands also face stiff competition. The real differentiator for retailers at this time of year is the ability to react in real-time to events on the small screen,” said Phuong Nguyen, director, eBay Advertising UK.

“For example, a focus on a specific style in an episode of X Factor can lead to shifts in consumer interest that, although often hugely significant, can be brief. Brands that can’t react in time risk missing out on this significant share of wallet.”

Online fashion retailer Very.co.uk has invested heavily in making sure its presence its felt on and offline during the X-Factor. The Shop Direct brand, the official fashion partner of The X Factor 2015, is eyeing a £20m upsurge in sales during the series which is expects to predominantly come through mobile.

As such, it is focusing efforts on attracting the second-screeners with a mobile content strategy and real-time ‘create the look’ features to leverage the fashion klout of hosts Rita Ora and Cheryl Cole.

Brands such as Neff – the maker of the GBBO ovens – has seen searches for its ‘disappearing doors’ oven surge by more than a quarter during the baking series. It created a dedicated ‘@_BakeitYourself’ Twitter feed which has amassed over 40,000 followers (by comparison, @NeffAppliances has little over 1,000), although it has failed to fully harness the conversations online with relatively few of its tweets using the hugely popular #GBBO hashtag.

TV shows that start in late summer and early autumn come hand in hand with shorter days, also triggering the start of ‘hibernation shopping’. On the day that the clocks went back in 2014, eBay found searches in both ‘Video Games & Consoles’ and ‘Sound & Vision’ categories rose by a fifth overnight, while searches for furniture and home accessories rose by a quarter during the same period.

Pauline Robson, director of MediaCom Real World Insight, strongly advised “using dynamic insight to understand shoppers’ previous search behavior.”

“It is vital to inspiring them when they do decide to invest in items such as TVs, games consoles and new furniture, as thoughts turn to shorter days and longer nights spent indoors," she said.

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