Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Video Shopping Startup Joyus Raises $11.5M in Second Round, Focuses on ROI of Online Retail

Joyus, the video shopping platform startup led by former top Google exec Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, said it had raised $11.5 million in a second round of funding, led by InterWest Partners and Time Warner Investments. Existing investors Accel Partners and Harrison Metal also participated.

In related news, Joyus said that Ido Leffler, co-founder of natural beauty brand Yes To, would join its board.

The San Francisco-based Joyus has now raised total capital of $19 million to push its efforts to combine video with retailing online. Along with the funding news, the company underscored the efficacy of its approach in a study it also released that it says shows “fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands can directly monetize video through direct response product sales.”

Using premium video content to flack its wares, Joyus said that it converts at 5.15 times the rate of visitors who only browse product listings on the site and that its viewers buy 4.9 times more than those who don’t watch the product videos.

“Every time someone watches a video, Joyus can measure the resulting sales revenue, creating the first ever metrics for return on investment (ROI) using online video to drive product sales,” said Joyus, which noted that on a half-dozen product areas that the average revenue per video (RPV) view ranges from 47 cents to 93 cents, meaning every thousand views of video on Joyus produces between $470 and $930 in direct sales revenue. Joyus shares a cut of the sales on its site with its merchants and provides the purchasing tools.

While others might dispute this performance and many online retailers have added video to their sales processes, Joyus CEO and founder Cassidy said in an interview that online retail has to shift from a focus on engagement statistics and monetization via brand advertising to direct product sales results.

“The data on video shopping needs to be aimed at a return on the investment rather than on just brand recognition,” she said. “We think by providing an informative and entertaining experience, where you can make purchases right away, consumers buy and that this is the direction online commerce is moving.”

As I noted in a previous post about Joyus when it launched in mid-2011: “If you think about a link-laden infomercial, you’ll get a general idea of what is being created by Joyus.”

While Cassidy did note that a comparison could be made to television shopping networks like HSN, which shows elaborate demos of its products, Joyus has its own tech stack and video platform that allows shoppers to watch in a non-linear way that is preferable online and also on mobile.

“We are aimed at those customers who are bred and born on digital, so the merchandising formula is different,” said Cassidy. “This is a shopper from 30 to 50 who wants entertainment and commerce together in a format that is convenient.”

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of Pets.com would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of BoxOfficeGuru.com comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”