Disney+ expands into e-commerce with exclusive merchandise store for subscribers • TechCrunch
Confirming earlier reports that Disney+ will soon expand to e-commerce, the streamer today announced the launch of a new test that will allow Disney+ subscribers to shop exclusive merchandise from brands including Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Animation Studios and Pixar directly from the details pages with selected films, series and short films on the streaming service. Starting today, this store will be available to Disney+ primary profiles in the US with users who have been verified to be 18 or older, the company says.
News of Disney’s plans to merge streaming and shopping was first reported in September by The Wall Street Journal, which noted that the feature would rely on QR codes that redirected viewers to Disney’s online store.
That turns out to be true, as Disney explained today that the intended experience will involve Disney+ subscribers holding their phone up to their TV screen to scan the QR code to view and purchase the exclusive merchandise. Alternatively, they will be able to visit a special URL – shopDisney.com/DisneyPlusSpecialAccess – if they want a more traditional online shopping experience.
In either case, users must authenticate using their Disney+ credentials to check out and purchase. This means that the items will currently only be exclusive to Disney+ subscribers.
The curated collection will be tied to a number of top series and titles, Disney says, including “Star Wars,” “Black Panther,” “Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness,” “Frozen 2” and “Lightyear.”
Through the new feature, customers will get early access to products including the DarkSaber Legacy Set from “The Mandalorian”, Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi Battle of the Heroes Legacy Lightsaber Set, Ahsoka Tano Legacy Lightsaber Hilts (which will be signed by Ashley Eckstein, the voice of Ahsoka in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars Rebels”), an Ahsoka Tano Special Edition Doll (also signed by Eckstein), Doctor Strange’s Cloak, Scarlet Witch’s Ear Headband, Captain Carter’s Vibranium Shield, a ” Black Panther” collectible mask, a “Black Panther” Wakanda Forever Artist Series jacket and a World of Wakanda Artist Series Puzzle.
In addition, shoppers will be able to get exclusive access to custom merchandise, including t-shirt and sweatshirt designs from “Frozen 2” and “Lightyear.”
“Special access to this curated collection of merchandise for the upcoming holiday season is the latest example of the many ways we’re experimenting with how to improve the user experience on Disney+, which includes enhancing the benefits of being a subscriber,” said Alisa Bowen, president of Disney+. , in a statement. “We’re excited to partner with shopDisney to explore how we can potentially better serve audiences by expanding the ways they get to interact with the stories and characters they love on Disney+.”
While the merchandise store is going live, Disney has yet to provide further details on its larger plan to launch an Amazon Prime-like membership for consumers. The company had previously confirmed to Deadline that it was exploring the idea of a membership program that would provide a range of benefits to subscribers, including early access to products – which it is introducing today – along with discounts or special access to theme parks, resorts and more. However, Disney has yet to share pricing or a time frame for such a program.
Still, by tying a shopping experience to the streaming service, Disney+ could uncover another revenue stream beyond the potential boost from its soon-to-be-launched ad-supported plan that will drop the subscription cost to $7.99 per month, instead of $10.99 for the commercial. – free service. Disney fans are also often collectors, and early access to merchandise can increase the draw ahead of the holiday season. Additionally, being promoted alongside series and movies is one of the best places to list these products for sale. The only question is whether streaming viewers will actually be fiddling with their phone while relaxing watching TV.
It will be a wonder if Netflix doesn’t copy this model, given its own expansion into merchandise in recent years. Today, Netflix merchandise is already featured in Target stores, and this month the company partnered with Walmart to expand the “Netflix Hub” concept with the merchandise to all 2,400 Walmart stores as well.
Comcast’s NBCU has invested in an e-commerce platform that connects TV viewers with products via QR codes across networks including NBC, NBC Sports, Bravo, E!, USA and others. It has also made purchasable products available to Peacock viewers on select shows, such as “Love Island USA” in recent months.
Update, 11/1/2022, 2:50 PM ET: Correction, National Geographic merchandise will not be available in the debut collection.