Roku and Walmart have had a close relationship over the years, with Roku selling some limited-time products only at Walmart stores. The two companies are teaming up again, this time to increase your chance of buying stuff.
Roku makes much of its money through in-app ads on Roku players, and advertisers already have a few different ad formats to choose from. The company is now testing “shoppable ads,” which are ads with a button to order a certain item right on your TV. When you click the on-screen button (by pressing ‘OK’ on the remote), a Walmart listing appears with an option to complete the checkout process. No need to reach for your phone or computer.
Roku is introducing this as an alternative to QR codes and other methods of sending leads to a checkout page. It’s also the same direction YouTube and Instagram have been moving, where videos featuring certain products have a featured button that takes you to a store page. For now at least, the ads will be limited to products available at Walmart.
Roku gamers already have plenty of ads, from buttons on physical remotes to banners on the home screen. That’s the main reason Roku sticks and TVs are so cheap: the Roku Express 4K+ is regularly on sale for $30, to name one example. One-click buy buttons on your TV are just the next step in the endless search for more profitable ads. Hopefully that doesn’t lead to drinking check cans of Mountain Dew.