Video is an increasingly indispensable tool for retailers looking to connect with consumers and add value to their brick-and-mortar and online offerings.

If that video can also be turned into a revenue stream, all the better.

Video commerce pioneer Firework hopes to do just that, and more, for retail chain The Fresh Market. Powered by Firework’s platform, The Fresh Market has launched the US’s first-ever Shoppable Video-Live Commerce (SVLC) retail media network (RMN).

Brands will now be able to run sponsored video ads across The Fresh Market’s ongoing livestream series, which features engaging content like holiday meal prep tutorials and chef-developed recipes. Unlike the majority of RMNs which rely on static display and search, The Fresh Market will use Firework’s platform to enable a novel, video-driven experience.

The enhanced offering builds on the success The Fresh Market has already seen by utilizing shoppable videos on its website. The combined viewership of its first four Firework-powered livestreams exceeded 2 million views, and conversion rates of the special occasion meals featured in the shoppable videos were over 300% greater than through traditional digital advertising results.

The Fresh Market/Firework partnership comes during a period of unprecedented growth for RMNs, according to Firework.

Having realized the untapped revenue potential of their owned digital channels (e.g. websites, apps), more and more retailers are launching RMNs. And thanks to the many advantages RMNs give advertisers — superior ad targeting, increased brand safety, and heightened visibility where and when shoppers are most likely to transact — brands have been quick to redirect their ad dollars toward these novel marketplaces.

“The most important distinction between Firework and the rest of the “social commerce” sphere is that Firework enables brands to bring video commerce capabilities, i.e. livestream shopping and shoppable videos, directly on their own digital properties,” said Jason Holland, Firework’s president and chief business officer. “We’ve seen a great deal of effort expended by the major social media platforms to make video commerce and livestream shopping part of their ‘walled garden’ ecosystems. However, many of these initiatives are now proving to be unsuccessful . That’s because American consumers simply aren’t in the mindset to transact while using social media.”

Firework also stands out, Holland said, in that the company is the only video commerce partner that offers a true end to end solution, with deep technological capabilities and premium services.

Taking instore online 

Firework empowers The Fresh Market to enhance its digital e-commerce offerings in a variety of ways, Holland said.

Most important, being able to livestream allows the retailer to bring the instore experience online.

“The Fresh Market customers want to be able to explore products in a more immersive way and have authentic experiences and inspirations from their local store associates,” Holland said. “They want to know what’s fresh today from the butcher or in the produce department, and what kinds of wonderful dishes they can serve up utilizing The Fresh Market’s products.”

Before FW technology, the online customer experience was limited to typical – and, Holland said, boring - ecommerce offerings.

Now, local chefs are bringing products and recipes to life in a whole new way — and that drives engagement, creates meaningful connections, and improves the customer experience dramatically.

The Firework technology also allows The Fresh Market to scale up its livestreams and create short-shoppable videos across all of their owned digital channels — including their website, emails, and app.

Firework enables an omnichannel experience in different ways, Holland said.

“Video commerce is all about breaking down the traditional barriers between in-store and online customer experiences, and we are always exploring new, creative ways to cultivate that holistic experience.”

That can lead to a significant return on investment, Holland said. The Fresh Market’s Firework-enabled video commerce initiative has, to-date, delivered a 113% increase in conversion rates and 115% increase in session time for its website (compared to sitewide averages); and approximately a 49% increase in click volume and a 23% increase in click-through rates for Firework-enabled emails (compared to pre-launch).

Also, with the Firework-powered retail media network, we’re unlocking a new revenue stream and with it greater potential for ROI impact.

 “Overall, the combined viewership of our first four Firework-powered livestreams exceeded 2 million views and we saw conversion rates of the special occasion meals featured in the shoppable videos to be over 300% greater than our traditional digital advertising results,” said Kevin Miller, The Fresh Market’s chief marketing officer at The Fresh Market. “Having proven the power of Firework’s video commerce content in 2022, we’re excited to offer our partners an innovative and differentiated means of storytelling in an entertaining new way. We call it Shoppertainment.”

The Fresh Market and other Firework customers are routinely surprised by how dramatic and immediate a difference the Firework platform can make for their ecommerce businesses, Holland said.

“Our customers routinely see huge upticks in key performance metrics like average session time, click-through rates, conversion rates and customer engagement, due to both the effect of video commerce itself as a differentiator in the customer experience, as well as Firework’s uniquely streamlined, easy-to-use platform. Thanks to our intuitive product design and our comprehensive creative services offerings, a company can come to Firework with zero experience in video commerce and still be up and running - and realize meaningful returns - with next to no lead time or onboarding.”