Inside Jill Martin’s Immersive Shoppable TV Platform – WWD

Jill Martin has been incredibly busy. After introducing a new business to the world, another entrepreneur may take a break to recover from all the stress and preparations. Instead, the “Today” star got married.

A little over a week since she unveiled her immersive new TV shopping platform Shop the Scenes this month, Martin tied the knot with banker Erik Brooks at the New York Public Library. The ‘Steals & Deals’ host revealed a little-known detail about the event to WWD: French haute couture designer Pierre Cadault was a key figure at their wedding – which is intriguing because he doesn’t actually exist outside of Darren Star’s Netflix series.” Emily in Paris”.

The character, played by actor Jean-Christophe Bouvet, appeared in luggage form, his face emblazoned on an army of rolling bags for guests, Martin told WWD in an exclusive interview. They were dead wrestlers for season two’s custom Rimowa suitcase, a popular item that had fans covering the internet to secure their own. They weren’t available then, but will be available through Shop the Scenes.

Emily in Paris’ Pierre Cadault’s luggage stands at attention at Jill Martin’s September wedding in New York. Photo exclusively for WWD.

Turns out these bags weren’t just wedding favors. They were a preview of a signature STS offering: The company actually makes fictional “in-show brands” like the Cadault bags, and manifests fictional products from popular TV series into actual products for sale. Other real-world branded items are sourced directly from the shows and rendered as 3D graphics that fans can purchase in virtual WebVR environments, each designed to reflect a specific show.

Think of it as a multi-faceted approach to making Shopping TV more immersive.

As for Martin, she’s been engrossed in the shows ever since she co-founded the business with her partner, entertainment company 101 Studios. She lives and breathes “Yellowstone” and “Emily in Paris” and even decorates her home with merchandise from the series. She kind of balances that out while continuing to focus on her broadcast work, including showcasing her own brands on QVC.

And of course she had a wedding to plan. So maybe some overlap was inevitable.

“I’m so grateful for all the opportunity and what we’re building in all these arenas,” she said. “The common thread that ties it all together is just passion and love for what I do… it’s part of my life, and so are the shows [were] integrated into my wedding.”

Guests even sipped champere, Emily’s abyssal champagne, now transformed into a delicious sparkling wine. The bubbly becomes part of a broad but highly curated selection of merchandise ranging from $10 to $10,000 in clothing, beauty products, furniture, jewelry, home goods and more as seen on popular television shows.

In a retail marketplace teeming with e-commerce platforms, shoppable TV endeavors, virtual worlds, and initiatives aimed at fan communities, it’s natural to wonder if there’s room for yet another, or how this one differs from the can take off mass.

But what these companies don’t have is Martin himself.

A former sports reporter and New York Times best-selling author, the Emmy-winning media personality has built a career as a fashion and lifestyle authority and e-commerce expert with a knack for driving sales. Her bio credits her with being the first pioneer of the concept of bringing shopping to unscripted television. A media report claims she grossed up to $60 million for “Today” in 2018 alone.

In other words, she has an innate understanding of what consumers want. Their partner, entertainment company 101 Studios, knows what the studios want. This mix, she said, is Shop the Scenes’ secret sauce.

“[Longtime friend and 101 cofounder David Glasser] understands, from a showrunner’s perspective, why it is so important that products are organic and available to the consumer,” she explained. “And I look at it from the perspective of the viewer and the consumer, how we’re making that environment seamless and enjoyable. And so with the merger of 101 Studios and David and I, we have covered all areas.”

Together, they wanted to rethink the old model of using storytelling in retail as a tool to increase sales, to show storytellers how the shopping platform can extend the worlds they create to the real world in real time.

“Instead of ad placements, we get there by collaborating with the showrunners, the costume designers and set designers, and that’s making the difference where it’s never been done before,” she said.

“There’s so many times you’ve seen something and love it, and you search the internet and [wondering,] ‘Where can I get it?’” she continued. “Now the behavior will just be there to know you can go to Shop the Scenes and just get it with one click. It’s an authentic and organic way to shop for your favorite shows.”

As if to underscore the point, she raised her hand. She wore Rip’s ring from Yellowstone.

It’s an ambitious game to redefine what an immersive fan experience can be, and showrunners find it quite compelling.

“I flew to Paris to meet up with Darren Star and Stephen [Joel Brown, producer], and they gave me a glimpse of the brands coming up for the upcoming season,” said Martin. “And if Emily offers that brand, you can buy that particular item in real-time.”

That’s notable as television productions are usually locked down to prevent leaks. But it speaks to the appeal of the platform.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Shop the Scenes and look forward to bringing the world of ‘Emily in Paris’ directly to fans of the show,” said Stephen Joel Brown, producing partner of Star on Emily in Paris, in a provided statement to WWD.

“Our partnership will, for the first time, make the brands and products created exclusively for the show immediately purchasable. Fans can buy everything from Champere to Pierre Cadault luggage to Chez Lavaux kitchen utensils,” he added. “Bringing the show to life in the real world has always been our goal, and our partnership with Shop the Scenes makes that possible.” Martin and Star are even working on a secret beauty product.

From a fan perspective, the experience should feel seamless. By scanning a QR code that is broadcast on-screen, visitors can enter richly detailed virtual locations befitting the show — like rooms at Yellowstone’s Dutton Ranch — and, as the platform’s name suggests, these scenes to buy. In the future, the environments could contain digital collectibles, or NFTs, Martin said. But for now, the experience is decidedly crypto-free.


Shop the QR code of the scenes


Shoppable Dutton Ranch virtual environments will be available via WebVR at Shop the Scenes.

With kind approval

Other retail and shoppable TV initiatives have used QR codes for years, such as B. NBCUniversal – Martin’s playground – and even Coinbase’s recent Super Bowl commercial. Essentially, they have trained consumers to think of them as trading portals. It is also a branding opportunity for Shop the Scenes. Its QR code resembles a bag or a production clapboard, and it was designed as an icon so viewers immediately recognize it as a gateway to the virtual environment, exclusive content, contests, and curated products.

Martin is particularly proud to support not only well-known labels but also small brands. It even partnered with a tech company to digitally scan and 3D render products, removing a barrier for small operators.

“The object is then placed and looks real on the virtual set, so you get a better sense of what it looks like up close,” she explained. “Then, on the product page, you can find out about the small business owner who might have made it.

“We’re able to have hundreds of small businesses, which is so exciting to me. With a lot of women-run businesses, where someone has to make them by hand or make 10 of them, they can’t go to retail,” she said. “But because we have a central warehouse [in Texas] and sales we are able to help these small businesses so I am really excited to be able to do that.”

Shop the Scenes opens on November 12 to coincide with Paramount Network’s “Yellowstone” Season 4 marathon, followed by the Season 5 premiere on November 13. Fans can explore select virtual environments at Dutton Ranch designed with or inspired by products from previous seasons. The company plans to offer watch party kits, gifts, contests, VIP memberships and exclusive content. For the season five premiere, key items from the show will be available for purchase.

The hum has already begun. Paramount Network aired a Labor Day marathon of past seasons of Yellowstone, with several spots introducing viewers to Shop the Scenes. According to the company, the response was overwhelming. The flood of filings looked like a proof of concept and prompted the company to keep innovating. In addition to virtual shopping via WebVR, the e-commerce site offers shoppable videos and “still images” and their exploration partnerships for remote shopping.

Dates for Emily in Paris and the Christmas pop-up shop Today will be announced at a later date.

But it won’t end there. So far, STS has brought on NBC, Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios for its first wave of shows, but talks are ongoing with other potential partners. In the coming months, the company plans to announce 25 more shows for next year.

Some might include programs with a younger demographic, so Martin formed a junior advisory board over the summer. The 10 members, aged between 10 and 25, get involved in topics such as gamification or addressing parents.

When STS launches, Martin estimates it will arrive with about 1,000 stock units — including “Yellowstone” items like John Dutton’s cowboy hat from heritage brand Burns Cowboy; the horse saddle that appeared in season four; Beth’s faux fur coat from Geneva based brand Faz Not Fur and a very limited collection for Rip’s wedding ring of which only 300 were produced.

The Emily merchandise line will feature a limited edition Pierre Cadault suitcase and the de Lalisse Champere, alongside other homeware, beauty, fashion, accessories, travel items and kitchen essentials.

Sounds like Martin, whose home is already adorned with Pierre Cardeau pillows, blankets and more, might need a bigger apartment. Inside Jill Martin’s Immersive Shoppable TV Platform – WWD

Sarah Y. Kim

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