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 likelihood of buying stuff.
Roku makes much of its money through advertisements in apps on Roku players, and advertisers can already pick from a few different ad formats. The company is now testing “shoppable ads,” which are advertisements with a button to order a certain item directly 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 reaching for your phone or computer required.
Roku is pitching this as an alternative to QR codes and other method of sending potential customers to a checkout page. It’s also the same direction that YouTube and Instagram have been moving towards, where videos with certain products have a prominent button that takes you to a store page. At least for now, the ads will be limited to products available from Walmart.
Roku players already have plenty of advertisements, from the buttons on physical remotes to banners on the home screen. That’s the main reason Roku devices and TVs are so cheap — the Roku Express 4K+ is regularly on sale for $30, to name one example. One-click purchase buttons on your TV are just the next step in the never-ending quest for more profitable advertisements. Hopefully that won’t lead to drinking verification cans of Mountain Dew.