Using HbbTV for an Online Shop

The television will quickly move out of its niche among the devices and conquer the market.

A post from Webtrekk's Director of Consulting

Marcel Martschausky


It is taken for granted that the advance of smartphones is unstoppable, and that every e-commerce company has to optimise its offerings for mobile users in order to keep pace.

Meanwhile, the next new user device – the television – is standing relatively unnoticed in everyone’s living room, rapidly entering the maturity phase and requiring e-commerce companies to consider how to optimise for something that is decidedly not mobile.

Through Hybrid Broadcasting Broadband TV (HbbTV) and derivatives such as Smart TV, it is now possible to use a browser on a television to access the “normal” internet or to view offers from various providers using an app. Just like a huge smartphone.

However, instead of focusing solely on the development of their own apps, shop operators should optimise for TV across the board. Display, navigation, behaviour – opportunities for optimisation abound. And just as it is now unthinkable for an e-commerce shop not to have a mobile presence, it will soon be unthinkable not to have a TV presence.

Some manufacturers are counting on their own specialised browsers, such as Samsung with Samsung Maple and LG with the NetCast browser. But as traffic increases, the optimisation for non-standard browsers could become a challenge.

Examining the relevance of television for the shop

Two main obstacles still need to be overcome in the market to make HbbTV attractive for all users. There are already approaches for both, and great pains are being taken to make the TV as convenient as a handheld device.

For one thing, the user experience was impaired for a long time because remote controls had to be used for input in the browser or on web pages. Predictably, this made for an obnoxious, cumbersome experience, so users reverted to notebooks or tablets.

Nowadays, manufacturers are wisely creating keyboards specifically designed for their TVs. In addition, more and more manufacturers are offering the possibility to use tablets as a keyboard in the form of a second screen.

The second obstacle is the lack of a secure payment offering via TV, which means it is currently not very attractive from the end customer perspective. Providers such as PayPal are increasingly coming forward to fill this void. The problem is on its way to being solved.

Once these obstacles are overcome, the television will quickly move out of its niche among the devices and conquer the market.

Analytically speaking

In order to measure TV usage, it is sufficient to observe visits to your online shop via a TV. This functionality is usually built in to your web analytics system: Internet content on television can be tracked with the same JavaScript pixels that record activity from other devices.

To quickly see whether the user experience on TV is adequate, we recommend analysing bounce rate and conversion rate. In addition to usability and user experience, the conversion rate could simultaneously indicate if there are problems with your payment platform.

Additional indicators such as page impressions per visit and new vs. previous visitors could also shed light on your ability to lure visitors to your site via TV, as well as your site’s ability to retain them once they are there.

And rest assured: If they are not getting to your site and apps via TV yet, they will be soon.

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