This App Turns Mobile Shopping Into Clever Infomercials

'Minimercials' sell anything that costs $100 or less

Could shoppable, funny infomercials be the key to nailing mobile commerce? That's the proposition behind MikMak, a new app that puts a twist on gimmicky television commercials.

Brooklyn-based MikMak has seven full-time staffers who work with stand-up comedians to churn out shoppable videos posted to the app in a news feed-style format every night at 9 p.m. ET. So far, the team has produced 500 videos with 25 hosts.

"There are psychological and data-driven elements to infomercials that are ripe for reinvention for all of us who grew up on the iPhone," explained founder and CEO Rachel Tipograph.

Each 30-second clip shows a picture of the product followed by a pithy sales sketch. For example, a video for Sol Republic's Jax-In Ear headphones shows them being used to watch HBO on a tablet using "someone else's account." In another video for a bracelet designed by jewelry designer Eleanor Kalle called North West, the clip plays off of Kim Kardashian's daughter—also named North West—by encouraging shoppers to buy the bracelet and #BreakTheInternet.

Tipograph said the app is merchandised specifically for mobile since everything it sells costs less than $100 and shoppers don't necessarily have to think too much before buying something. To that point, MikMak doesn't sell anything with sizes—like clothing—that can slow down the checkout process. Besides Sol Republic, Quirky and Moss + Twig have also sold products through the app.

MikMak is the brainchild of Tipograph, the former global director of digital and social media at Gap, who helped the retailer make a big digital push in 2013 while airing its first TV commercial in four years. During that time, Gap bought the first 24-hour takeover of mobile ads on Tumblr. The experience of meshing traditional and digital media spawned Tipograph's idea for the app.

"The two key sales drivers in e-commerce are also the most annoying aspects of the Web: promotional emails and retargeted advertising," she said. "What if we could create an environment where you didn't have to rely on the traditional conversion mechanisms while being able to increase your brand relevance at the same time? MikMak is my answer."