Rachel Tipograph is a Gap alum and the founder and CEO of MikMak, the first mobile video shopping network. We talked to her about MikMak's unique approach, the nature of ecommerce, and the power of humor.
Is there a way to truly convey the concept of MikMak in words or do you need to see it to understand it? Can you give us the rundown?
Rachel Tipograph: MikMak is the first mobile video shopping platform. People call us “QVC for the Snapchat generation.”
What kinds of products make the cut for MikMak? What’s the decision process like?
Rachel Tipograph: Our litmus test starts by saying, “does this product require video as a storytelling tool?” So many do, some may not. We very much believe that the “medium is the message” and understanding what sells best through mobile video is key.
I'd argue that the greatest emotional experiences on the web occur in environments where you lose hours of your life binge watching video after video.
Do you think the shift away from traditional advertising through things like on-demand television and adblockers has contributed to the success of MikMak? What about the current cultural environment makes it work?
Rachel Tipograph: MikMak’s origins come from a few trends in the marketplace.
First, content is the currency of the mobile social web. Second, video remains the deepest form of storytelling. And lastly, shopping is an emotional experience. It literally sends dopamine to your brain.
I’d argue that eCommerce today is often the least emotional place on the internet. All you have to do is look at the giants — they’ve made it all about lowest price and fastest shipping. I’d argue that the greatest emotional experiences on the web occur in environments where you lose hours of your life binge watching video after video.
MikMak’s DNA lies at the intersection of these trends.
MikMak is an evolution of the infomercial. If you think about it, infomercials were one of the first examples to use data to drive content and commerce.
How does the MikMak model compare with product placements and reviews on Youtube? What elements were inspired by Snapchat?
Rachel Tipograph: MikMak is an evolution of the infomercial. If you think about it, infomercials were one of the first examples to use data to drive content and commerce. We have a similar approach for all of us who grew up with the smartphone as the primary entertainment device.
Since you use improv actors extensively in creating videos, how much is planned out and how much is added on the fly on a typical video?
Rachel Tipograph: There is an art and science to our approach. We know how creative correlates to sales conversion and the magic occurs throughout the end to end minimercial production cycle.
What can you tell us about your new SaaS product? How will it integrate with existing retail sites? Does it work for anyone?
Rachel Tipograph: MikMak can now turn a brand or publisher’s mobile channel into a mobile video shopping experience. We are first rolling out our enterprise product to Fortune 500 brands and publishers.
eCommerce at a high level is about discovery and product recall. Humor can help hook you to pay attention to a product you may otherwise have skipped over.
What is it about humor that pushes us to purchase things so effectively?
Rachel Tipograph: eCommerce at a high level is about discovery and product recall. Humor can help hook you to pay attention to a product you may otherwise have skipped over, as well as create a memorable impression that allows for you to easily remember what that product was that you saw on X app or site.