TV Clicks Should Cause Big-Box Retailers to Take Inventory

It seems that for as long as media has been converting to digital television, the way the nation shops has also gone through its own transformation. The big-box retailer has emerged as the dominant force in commerce. The success of the big box is a study in how consumer demand can be satisfied through supply chain logistics.

Thousands of vendors that supply a big box today coordinate shipping and inventory by integrating into the very software systems of the merchants they supply. Consumer TV click responses, with the cooperation of brand advertisers, should also be stored in these same inventory systems.

Today's inventory management systems allow a retailer to view the status of any item, whether it be located inside its supplier network, or close to the item's point of sale. These Web-based supply chain systems can also exchange information with any Web store of the retailer's choosing. Last year e-commerce sales were estimated to be $134.9 billion and growing (according to the U.S. Census Bureau) and supply chain systems -- which manage both physical store locations as well as the retailer's Web properties -- have become core.



Competition in the big-box retailer space has always been fierce; a one- or two- percent point swing can drastically change one's financial picture. Nearly all retailers are pushing their supply chains with technologies that are going further up the line to get actionable data from deep inside a vendor's operations. Where is TV in all this? Mostly focused on ratings innovation.

With the emergence of the TV Everywhere, Canoe Ventures, EBIF, and mobile DTV initiatives, the media industry will for the first time have the basic tools, and scale, needed in order to properly measure consumer interest. I also think that someday soon TV click data will be injected into the supply-chain systems of retailers direct from their own TV commercials, with some of the data also being captured from their co-op advertisers' campaigns. I believe overall that retailers will be able to better manage their inventories across all their properties by incorporating the instant consumer feedback available via TV response data.

The cable and broadcast industries have an opportunity to deliver to advertisers what they need. What I am talking about goes far beyond the current capabilities of today's direct-response television industry. I can see a future where today's highway of TV content annually deposits billions of TV clicks into the tens of thousands of supply chain systems, and Web stores, that are already in place today. I also think, with television being a walled garden, that the value of the TV click will far surpass the value of the search engine click.

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