The dramatic shift towards digital and e-commerce over the last year has forced brands to rethink their omnichannel strategies to reach wider audiences and engage customers in new ways. One ‘new way’ that is quickly gaining momentum worldwide is live commerce, or livestream shopping, which replicates the physical shopping experience virtually through broadcasted shows promoting products and sales.
The livestream market in China is expected to hit $125 billion this year and is only just beginning to scratch the surface in the United States. Last week, Klarna, along with experts across fashion and beauty joined the SXSW virtual stage to discuss the Future of Retail and Online Shopping with a focus on live commerce and its impact on the fashion and beauty industries. The conversation featured Gregg Renfrew, Founder & CEO of Beautycounter, Elizabeth Segran, Senior Staff Writer at Fast Company, Munira Rahemtulla, Director of Amazon Live, and David Sandström, Chief Marketing Officer at Klarna.
Here, we’ve highlighted the top takeaways from their session.
It’s not just a purchase, it’s an experience.
Live shopping is a new way to create a sense of participation which is not possible within the current e-commerce ecosystem, Sandström shared. Historically, e-commerce has been very transactional and focused on conversions, and live-shopping is a way to evolve beyond that. For consumers, it’s not just about purchasing a product IRL—it’s about fostering the peer engagement that was once a staple of shopping in malls with friends, which has since been lost. It’s about creating the experience that shoppers get when asking their friends for advice.
Fashion and beauty e-commerce is ripe for disruption.
Beautycounter was built by Renfrew on the power of storytelling. When the pandemic struck, the company focused on creating initiatives and experiences for its consumers that were collaborative, interactive, and that reached more people. This meant everything from new product drops to answering questions virtually, kicking off partnerships with makeup artists and aestheticians, and allowing clients to immerse themselves in the brand virtually from 3,000 miles away. Because customers had enjoyed going into the store to talk to sales associates and hang out with their friends, the ability to create that environment on a digital medium was compelling, and especially relevant within the beauty and fashion categories.
Intimate digital settings build trust.
“Livestreams have this realness to them that enables creators to build relationships with audiences,” said Rahemtulla. When customers find an influencer they can relate to and trust, they will be more likely to take their advice on the latest fashion trends or beauty inspiration. While consumers are shopping online, they can’t try stuff on or test a product, and an influencer can help with that via live-shopping, whether it’s to showcase the fit and style, answer questions, describe the fabric (is it see-through?), and so on. Renfrew echoed that the authenticity and transparency of those influencers/brands will be critical when making true connections with customers today.
Final panelist takeaways on livestream shopping: what has worked well?
Beautycounter: The ability to answer questions, highlight and showcase products, make a joke and have a real conversation with consumers.
Klarna: Wide distribution and lo-fi production quality (ie: iPhone stand reviewing products from the living room), rather than big productions with scripted brand books.
Amazon: Viewer participation in chat rooms and strong customer engagement with creators.