By Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Chief of Strategy, Emplifi

When television shopping first launched in the 80’s, it was hailed as the future of shopping. Now, over thirty years later, the novelty has worn off – but there’s a new kid on the block, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Enter live shopping. This format, where brands and influencers go live on social media to demo and display products to shoppers, is already making up a significant proportion of e-commerce sales in China. In Europe and the US, it hasn’t yet made real waves – you might not have heard of it, and it might seem like one step too far in the digitisation of the everyday shopping experience. But to understand its appeal, and why research giants predict ‘shoppertainment’ will grow fast in Europe in the coming years, we can look to another fast-growing online entertainment platform.

The dawn of live shopping

After a year in and out of lockdown, we’ve seen retail in the UK and Europe shift online – a recent study found that two-thirds of those surveyed said they have been buying significantly more online. This means high street retailers have been feeling the pain, closing stores and even shutting up shop completely. So, a new way to see big returns via e-commerce is a welcome relief.

Early on in COVID-19, some brands began trialling live shopping experiences featuring presenters that give live makeup tutorials and answering questions. Customers can also receive discounts and purchase products without leaving the platform.

Currently, electronics, fashion, and cosmetics are the top areas online shoppers would be keen for ‘shoppertainment’, so it’s no surprise that various ecommerce cosmetic brands are working with live streaming apps that incorporate product purchasing into one platform. Additionally, supermarket brands are testing the waters, trialling Live Shopping content on their social media channels.

The future is live

As the COVID-19 pandemic shifted consumers’ buying habits, it also changed their mindsets. The lines between social media and shopping are becoming blurred – for example, some social media platforms have designed in-app live shopping features – but these vary from country to country, and industry to industry. In the UK, consumers are less open to shoppertainment, but trustworthiness, entertainment value – as well as mobile-friendly streams – are top of their list. In France, influencers are an important part of the puzzle, while Spain is all about the deals.

Brands need to plug into what their customers crave if they want to make the most of the opportunities live shopping presents. Only then can they engage customers in new and exciting ways and streamline the sales process – ultimately providing a much-needed boost to revenue.

February 2023 issue

2022 A1 Buyers Guide

Buyers Guide 2022