Livestream retail is the next evolutionary step of TV shopping. It takes the one-way video presentation of products to buy and engages shoppers interactively by allowing two-way communication with the host and the ability of shoppers to buy from the screen.
And while TV shopping has some of that – shoppers can dial in to chat with hosts by telephone – livestream shopping offers an added level of interactive engagement by not being scripted or strictly programmed like an hour on QVC or HSN.
In livestream, the host can put down one product and pick up another if that is where their audience wants to go.
Still in its infancy, the livestream market has enjoyed a pandemic bump, expected to reach $31.7 billion by the end of the year and nearly tripling in size from 2021. And it is projected to grow to $67.8 billion by 2026, according to Coresight Research and Bambuser.
With growth like that, retailers like Amazon, Walmart, Nordstrom, Gucci, Estee Lauder and more have dabbled in it, trying to find the best business model. Bloomingdale’s Outlet thinks it found it with the ShopShops mobile app.
Following a successful test during the holiday 2022 season, Bloomingdale’s Outlet signed on for another ten-week run through May 2023 with a ShopShops’ influencer/host visiting different stores for evening shows and its flagship Upper West flagship Side store hosting a series of daytime shows.
During each show, the host hand-selects products to feature, almost like shopping with a personal shopper or, even better, your best friend. Once they find something they like and want to feature, they upload it to the app, where shoppers can click a button to buy.
Rachel Saar, Bloomingdale’s Outlet vice president responsible for marketing and merchandising, shared livestream broadcasts have enabled it to reach shoppers that would never show up at a store. Plus, it delivers a highly engaged audience because the hosts already have trusting followers through their influencer platforms.
“These customers are already following the influencers throughout the week and are very knowledgeable about products and fashion,”she said.
“We’ve been able to build a highly engaged community around Bloomingdale’s Outlet. Right now we have 150,000 followers in the ShopShops app. We haven’t been able to build an audience this fast on any other social platform,” she added.
Unlike TV shopping, where the hosts have plenty of stock in the warehouse, the ShopShops host may only have a single item on offer, adding that treasure hunt excitement of outlet shopping or sample sales.
“It can be very competitive. It recreates that excitement of off-price shopping where you have to buy it now because it won’t be there tomorrow,” she said, adding that in a recent show, an in-store customer beat the streaming shoppers to the punch and bought the showcased item out from under them.
And the host’s presentation of products can be viewer directed so the shoppers can guide the host, not the other way around as in TV shopping.
“Last week, the host was focused on a handbag presentation, but people started commenting on the sunglasses they could see behind him. So he shifted to spending 30 minutes on sunglasses instead,” she said.
Unlike television shopping with its high-production values, the ShopShops shows have an amateur look and feel, but that is part of its charm. Nobody puts the hard sell on. The host chats up what attracted them to the product and why the audience should care and might want to buy.
Demonstrating the level of engagement and customer loyalty, ShopShops reports the repurchase rate is 50% within 30 days and customers engage an average of seven times a month.
Expanding the Bloomingdale’s Outlet reach beyond its 20 stores is the big win its found in livestream. Saar observed that during a two-hour show from the Bergen Town Center in Paramus, NJ, it racked up two times more eyes on the screen than visited the store the entire day.
And she added that having the ShopShops influencer/host in the store made it more exciting for in-store shoppers too, rather than distracting them.
“It’s been exciting expanding our reach. We don’t have an e-commerce presence, which is not unusual in off-price fashion, so being able to ship outside our local trading areas, even shipping worldwide, is a huge win for us,” she concluded.
The Cry Wolf Moment Of AI Hype Is Unhelpful
Elon Musk Visit To Beijing Highlights Business Role In U.S.-China Ties — AmCham China President
Supply Chain: Planning For Water Logistics Constraints