Caps, necklaces, sweatshirts and collectibles from series such as Yasuke and Eden are on sale from the official Netflix online store, Netflix.shop, available, for now, only in the US. It is the incursion of the giant of streaming in electronic commerce, in a nod to the millions of fans of its series willing to buy items with exclusive designs for the platform.
Netflix has launched the online store with the technology company Shopify, according to The New York Times newspaper. In its first weeks, only products related to the animation series Eden and Yasuke are offered, but at the end of the month the French series Lupine will be added, in collaboration with the Louvre Museum in Paris. In addition, the streaming platform announces other “exclusive” products from cult series such as The Witcher and Stranger Things, as well as new garments with the Netflix logo from the Japanese fashion company Beams.
The items for sale have been designed by collaborators such as artist Nathalie Nguyen, Jordan Bentley (founder of Hypland) or jewelry designer Kristopher Kites. “As in our series and movies, we are also excited to work with new voices in this space,” says Josh Simon, vice president of consumer products in a post published by the company.
For example, a watch from the Yasuke series designed by Nathalie Nguyen and depicting the character Haruto costs $ 135 (111 euros). At the same price there are necklaces from Kristopher Kites. A hoodie from the same series, in collaboration with the Hypland brand, is worth $ 82. And a Beams brand Eden t-shirt can be purchased for $ 55.
The shopping website gives Netflix a new revenue stream after a quarter in which strong growth during the pandemic showed signs of a slowdown. Experts raise the ability of companies to keep pace in the increasingly contested world of streaming entertainment, where it now also competes with a rival of the stature of Disney +, very experienced in the world of merchandising.
“We are always looking for ways to expand the world of our fan stories, from clothing and toys to immersive events and games,” adds Simon. “And that’s why we launched Netflix.shop.”
Although for now purchases can only be made in the US, Netflix announces that more countries will join “in the coming months.” The company already had agreements with distributors and for example Yasuke products can be found at Target.
“We are thrilled to offer fans a new way to connect with their favorite stories and introduce them to the new wave of artists and designers who are adding to the power of storytelling in all its forms,” continues Simon, who joined Netflix in 2020 after working at Nike.
For Ana Jiménez Zarco, professor of Economics and Business at the UOC, Netflix’s new strategy is a success. “They are closing the circle like Disney, which has a very powerful merchandising division, of products based on their own movies.” In the opinion of this e-commerce expert, the company will strengthen the bond it creates with the viewer. Netflix has many series, with several seasons, that hook the viewer and even create a community on social networks, which ensures that all the sale of these products is guaranteed ”.
Jiménez Zarco points out that, unlike what happens with Disney and many of the products they sell for a child audience, here the life cycle of the items will be much shorter. “It is a different starting point, but with the products that are starting, linked to youth series, they already generate an expectation. Only the manga audience, for example, is a very defined consumer segment ”.
One of the keys to the success of the Netflix online store, in the opinion of the UOC professor, will be that the company knows how to choose well the series from which it will launch products.
- Subscribers. Netflix has insisted that it has no plans to introduce advertising on its service, but is betting on other avenues such as the online store to diversify its income and reduce its dependence on subscriptions. He wants to exploit the potential of having 207 million subscribers in the world.
- Cycle. The company will need to compress the product development cycle to take advantage of the titles it releases from its massive content machine, and quickly capitalize on its customers’ appetites for some of its series and movies.
- Team. Tech companies, not just Netflix, are entering the consumer sector in search of new sources of income and ways to reach users, offering them more and more services. Google recently announced plans to open a store in New York, and Instagram has beefed up its shopping features. Netflix’s consumer products team has grown from 20 to 60 people since Josh Simon arrived.
- Agreements. Netflix has agreements with Walmart, Sephora, Amazon and Target to sell clothes, toys, beauty kits and other items related to its series and movies. He has spawned a clothing and accessories line at H&M linked to his movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, and dolls at Mattel linked to Over the Moon.