Just as our mom’s jeans have come back into style, live shopping has reclaimed its relevance as well. But instead of a TV screen displaying a middle-aged woman selling Tupperware, think: virtual trunk shows, Instagram Lives with influencers, and Louis Vuitton.
As the past year has illustrated, even the most random of trends can be resurrected during a global pandemic—especially those that can receive a “makeover” through the technology of 2021. In Asia, livestream shopping has already been at the forefront of sales tactics, especially in terms of luxury. Purchasing accessories worth thousands of dollars is a process more complicated than just clicking “add to cart,” as shopping luxury has much to do with the experience. When lockdowns left stores closed and in-person shopping unattainable, livestream alternatives swooped in to save the day
Popular e-commerce brands in China have skyrocketed in sales, complete with their very own celebrity-status influencers. Most famous is the woman who can sell anything, Viya Huang. Millions of people turn on their screens (and their wallets) every evening to watch Viya test and display everything from Tesla products and Miranda Kerr’s Kora Cosmetics, to even crawfish. Some of her livestreams have amassed more views than the Oscars.
European fashion houses have plugged into the craze in China as well, with Louis Vuitton leading the way. To broadcast their Spring/Summer 2020 collection in Shanghai last year, the luxury brand utilized the livestreaming format in tandem with influencer marketing. Viewers across the country were able to purchase displayed products as they appeared on the screen. In a world where everyone desires to be first, it comes with little surprise that a live format is appealing. Why wait to read about it in print when brands can use influencers to spoon-feed products directly to consumers?
Tiffany & Co., the recently LVMH-acquired jewelry giant, selected China’s “Xiaohongshu” as their platform of choice. Hiring Shanghai-based influencers to act as their version of QVC-style hosts, Tiffany’s peddles individual high-priced items to a very specific category of clientele. Amanda Xie, a wildly popular Chinese influencer, sold over 300 diamond necklaces on her livestream, each priced at a cool ,500.
As for the United States, massive retailers are pushing their very own livestreaming systems. In 2019, Amazon began to toy with the concept by launching Amazon Live, a format very similar to QVC. Hosts promote all sorts of products, with multiple streams occurring at once. Users are able to pop into whichever broadcast strikes their fancy, then order products right to their doorstep. Can’t get much easier than that.
In efforts to tap into fashion, Amazon chose to star Project Runway favorites Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn for a see-now-buy-now feature within their new show, “Making the Cut.” While in the early 2000s fans of Project Runway waited months to purchase winning designs at in-store retailers, 2021’s version could not be more instant. Check out a prime example below.
Of course, Walmart wasted no time to catch up. And in efforts to be extra trendy, the retail giant targeted Gen-Z in the most direct of methods: TikTok, of course. Hosting events called “shop-alongs,” Walmart calls on TikTok influencers with millions of followers to interact with fans and encourage some major shopping. Quite a genius business model, as teens can “add to cart” while watching and eventually purchase their favorites items within the app.
For the more refined live-shoppers, Moda Operandi, online luxury fashion retailer, launched Moda Live mid-pandemic to bring trunk shows directly to their customers’ homes. Livestreamed events with direct shop-ability and consumer to brand interaction were available on your tiny screen. Moda customers had the ability to get advice from stylists, preview collections with the designer themselves, and order pieces before they even hit the shelfs. Exclusivity is just a bit less exclusive.
Perhaps the most accessible form of QVC copycats is Instagram Live Shopping. As if the app did not have enough added-on features already, Instagram tapped into the “live market” and expanded their IGTV platform to include shopping. Users and brands are able to star in their very own live shopping videos, integrating Instagram’s ability to list products for immediate purchase within the app. Checkout and all.
In a society craving social interaction, live shopping is a simple form of escapism. Whether feeling connected to other people, having a taste of normal in-store shopping, or just simply being entertained is what appeals to you, livestreams can be a comfort for teens and “boomers” alike. And it’s only a matter of time before shopping live becomes as automatic as scrolling through TikTok. Prepare your wallets.END
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