When Gurps Rai founded droppTV, he wanted to create a space that allowed people to shop in-the-moment and re-shape the consumer to retail e-commerce experience. We sat down with Rai to discuss everything from the inspiration behind the venture, to the future of interactive marketing.
Grit Daily: You had your own adventures before droppTV. Share those.
Gurps Rai: I am the co-founder and CEO of droppTV, the world’s first “shopatainment” platform where viewers can tap on video content and shop right from inside their favorite shows and music videos.
My career has spanned a variety of areas but the commonality in all my successes has been the merging of those different fields into innovation. I started my career in finance as a London-based specialist broker handling foreign exchange transitions for large businesses based in the commodities market. I then shifted into crypto and the global carbon market and established myself as a prominent figure by demonstrating how these emerging technologies could become a key tool in helping migrate climate change. I continued in crypto as an initial partner/investor in the cryptocurrency, Ven, which in 2011 successfully facilitated the first commodity trade using virtual currency.
I was a key player in architecting an international offset deal with sportswear giant Nike, WinRock, and the American Carbon Registry that led to me hosting at the United Nations COP ’17 International Summit alongside Sir Richard Branson’s company Carbon War Room.
One of my passions has always been merging my experiences to help those in need. I helped lead the United Nations NGO, United Sikhs, in building a drug rehabilitation clinic in Punjab. I’m also proud to have created a pair of sneakers for the charity Soles4Souls, a non-profit that fights poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing, that the media brand the world’s most expensive trainers. Named the Fire Monkey, the shoe was encrusted with several hundred white diamonds and blue sapphires set in 18-karat gold and cost $4 million.
I am now using all my experiences to build droppTV, the world’s first shoppable video streaming platform.
It is the first platform to successfully unify commerce, content and entertainment and create the true “shopatainment” experience.
In addition to creating a streamlined shopping experience for consumers, the app has potential to become the alternative marketplace for talented musicians and video content creators, allowing them to generate sustainable income by taking control and monetization over their content.
Grit Daily: What’s behind the droppTV name?
GR: Dropp’s name references the ubiquitous “hypebeast drops” that can create a tremendous amount of desire for the community. It’s also the abbreviation for Direct Retail Opportunity. A direct retail opportunity is the ability to provide an in-the-moment shopping experience vs. creating a driver to another website, piece of content, or action. Dropp transforms every pixel on the screen into a purchasable moment.
Grit Daily: For the uninitiated, what is shoppable media?
GR: I prefer to use the term “Shopatainment” since it encompasses all aspects of the user experience. It’s the concept of watching any piece of content with entertainment value, being inspired by an item and being able to tap on that item and purchase in real-time. It’s not about advertising, pre-rolls, re-directs…it’s about a frictionless and organic user journey from desire to acquisition.
If you look at a brand/retailer, they are pushing experiences to their consumers – it’s the only way to stay alive. We’ve been seeing the evolution of “the sale” for decades from the number of products to select, in-store experience and thanks to the pandemic, commerce has moved to e-commerce and the evolution of “the sale” still applies – it’s the experience that will push the sale over the line. From Louis Vuitton to Nike to the local boutique sneaker store, they are all putting more emphasis on consumer experience.
Grit Daily: Why put this in an interactive video form?
GR: Video has proven to be the single most effective way to communicate. Think of traditional video as merely a link in the retail chain, it can now be an interactive video in itself. Our approach to interactive video is not to lead or manipulate the consumer to a sale but to be ready at all times to capture the consumer’s impulse. It is one of the most powerful human emotions – when it comes to making the decision, to buy or not to buy, it’s impulse.
Now think about how many times you watched a music video, movie, or show and wanted something you saw on the screen – now imagine at that moment, impulse, desire you could click and purchase that product instantly. Dangerous right!? That’s why interactive video is the future of e-commerce, and the world needs it!
Grit Daily: What’s one conventional wisdom about music videos that’s just plain wrong?
GR: Music videos are expensive and a loss leader for marketing!
Okay- that is two. But it is the most annoying thing about the music video industry. Technology has shrunken everything, including what it takes to shoot a professional-looking video. As an artist, you have to be strategic about money spent and include the music video budget.
I come across directors that have not evolved with the times, and I see what they charge artists for mediocre, conveyor belt videos. More than just pretty visuals, it is really about the storytelling, the edit, and how you utilize new tech to enhance and deliver that story. Along with inflated video budgets, artists wear labels that they don’t own or don’t get paid to promote.
It’s the artists’ influence that can keep those brands relevant, so clearly, something is wrong. My advice to artists is simple – build your brand, sell your brand and use the money within the culture. That’s why we built droppTV. It’s a toolbox where artists and creators can finally get direct attribution from their influence. It’s long overdue, and we look forward to seeing these artists and creators making the money they deserve while giving their fans a much better inclusive experience.