Disney+ announced the launch of a new test that will allow subscribers to shop exclusive merchandise from brands including Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Animation Studios, and Pixar directly from the detail pages of select movies, series and shorts on the streaming service. The shop will be available to Disney+ primary profiles in the U.S. with users who have been verified to be age 18 or older, the company says. The shopping experience involves having Disney+ subscribers hold up their phone to the TV screen to scan the QR code in order to view and purchase the exclusive merchandise. Alternatively, they’ll be able to visit a special URL — shopDisney.com/DisneyPlusSpecialAccess — if they want a more traditional online shopping experience.
Total Retail's Take: Disney is seeking to pair streaming and shopping, and is testing the concept with some of its most loyal fans — Disney+ subscribers. For the time being the merchandise is available exclusively to Disney+ subscribers before it will be made available to the general public on Nov. 8. And, not surprisingly, it's resonating with Disney+ subscribers. Earlier this week, the site had sold out of products including $400 Ahsoka Tano lightsabers signed by voice actor Ashley Eckstein, $50 Ahsoka Tano special edition dolls, and a $375 lightsaber set featuring Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi hilts from “Revenge of the Sith.”
Much like Amazon.com making its Prime Day deals available only to Prime members as a tactic to drive up membership in the paid loyalty program, Disney is taking a similar approach to increase the attractiveness and value of being a Disney+ subscriber. Furthermore, the timing of this test, right before the busy holiday shopping season when Disney-themed merchandise figures to be in high demand, will be a good indicator of how interested consumers are buying merchandise from within the streaming service.