Television is now your favorite shop

SpotShop (SpotShop) is a research project (MiX-ICON). Funded by IWT, it ran from 30.04.2015 until 30.07.2016.

Project information

  • Program Manager: Elise Descamps
  • Partner: Medialaan
  • Partner: Appiness
  • Project Lead: Jonas De Cooman
  • Partner: imec - MICT - UGent
  • Partner: BBDO
  • Partner: imec.livinglabs
  • Partner: Proximus
  • Partner: VRT
  • Partner: imec - IDLab


Project Overview

SpotShop was an initiative of the Belgian start-up Appiness, supported by iMinds Living Labs (now imec.livinglabs). The mobile application under the commercial name Spott was launched on the market by the company on April 20th, 2016 and is currently available for iOS and Android.

Spott is a second screen application providing TV viewers with information and the possibility to buy the products displayed in their favorite shows – including clothing, fashion accessories, gadgets or furniture, among other items. It enables live interaction between the brand and the consumer, allowing the advertiser to have customized offers (such as alternative or complementary products) based on user preferences.

The added value of the Living Labs approach

The imec.livinglabs team supported the project from ideation until the application’s commercial launch, including the definition of a suitable business model, co-creation sessions and testing of the product. Using a Living Labs approach allowed potential users to be leading actors in each stage of development, a crucial part in the success of the app.

The first step the consortium took was defining the problem and the right approach to tackle it, taking into account the markets’ needs and gaps, the target audiences and the goals of each partner, in order to explore the related opportunities and solutions. Secondly, a concrete business model was designed, for which the imec.livinglabs team organized specific workshops to discuss, debunk and adapt initial (market) assumptions.

The resulting concept was then presented to a small panel, who then provided feedback and ideas on the functionalities and design of the app. Three TV programs – the Flemish cooking show De Keuken Van Sofie, the American comedy show The Big Bang Theory and the Flemish soap opera Familie – were selected for the initial (closed) field trial of the app, which took place in November/December 2015 to a group of 300 people. During three weeks (one per show), users could test and comment on the features and user experience of the platform. Real purchasing of the displayed items was still not a possibility.

Based on the feedback from the trials, the application was fine-tuned and commercially launched in April 2016. Immediately after, the imec.livinglabs team conducted a final (open) field trial with user panels from all partners in the project (around 2.000 people), as a final validation step of the product. People were asked to download the app and provide feedback, at a time where all functionalities (including the option to buy) were already available. Around 500 surveys were collected, which helped further improve the application to better suit the users’ needs and requests.

Project outcomes

  • By the end of 2016, Spott reached more than 115.000 downloads in Belgium, with over 25.000 products bought through the app
  • The app is available on all Flemish television channels
  • Appiness was named best media start-up in Europe at Media Honeypot (February 9th/10th in Helsinki)
  • Appiness partnered with the Brazilian communication agency FSB Comunicação to launch operations in Brazil