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Alternative Digital Commerce - As See in Rethink Retail

Today, shoppers are seeking non-traditional shopping channels. Digital retail can take shape in different forms. This is to emphasize that digital retail does not solely mean a website. In fact, many shoppers plan to shop digitally without engaging in a website at all.

According to a report by Brightpearl via Retail Dive

  • 68% of Gen Z consumers plan to use nontraditional shopping channels for their Black Friday and Christmas shopping

  • Among the top five “alternative” places where Gen Z plans to shop for the holidays are Facebook, retailer’s mobile apps, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube. A quarter of respondents said they plan to livestream shop, per the report.

If digital retail isn’t just a website, where else and how else can clients engage and transact (with emphasis on transacting). For example, social apps have incorporated a buying function, and these have grown to play a major role in a digital strategy: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter.

But clients crave a connection and according to Bernard Marr, “A retailers ability to connect with consumers is more critical than ever as shopping habits continue to shift.”

What digital solution can address this consumer desire? Enter Livestream Selling

Video: the human brain is drawn to motion and visuals more than to text. Our brains are uniquely wired to take in and process a huge quantity of visual data vs text and written word.

Content creators: store staff, influencers, customers

In an article from RETHINK Retail, user-generated content drives loyalty which drives revenue. According to the article: shoppers are looking at more than just price when making a purchase decision. To stand out, companies will need to incorporate reputation-building strategies into their business model that promote brand loyalty from customers.

Authenticity: reports:

  • 88% of consumers say authenticity is important when deciding which brands they like and support (with 50% saying it’s very important)

  • 83% of consumers believe retailers need to provide more authentic shopping experiences to customers like them

  • 70% say it’s important for brands to provide personalized experiences

  • 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions, while a mere 9% said influencer content impacts their purchases

  • 72% of consumers say real customer photos and videos are the content they most want to see on eCommerce sites when making purchasing decisions

  • 80% of consumers say they’d be more likely to purchase a product from an online store if its website had photos and videos from real customers

  • 58% of consumers have left an eCommerce store without purchasing because the site didn’t contain any customer reviews or photos (64% of Gen Z)

Square states: As retailers look to win over local customers who have gotten used to shopping from home, they’re turning to livestreaming on social media to recreate the sense of connection people feel when shopping inside a physical store.According to Facebook:Consumer demand is building: a recent survey found that almost a quarter of adults outside China would like to discover new products via a livestream featuring an influencer or brand representative.

What does the landscape look like?

For a relatively new solution, there are quite a few players. Let’s look at the two types of players: platforms and niche.

Livestream selling platforms provide plug and play technology that can be white labeled featuring the brands or retailers. Some of the leaders are Bambuser, Shop LIT Live, Hello-Lisa, Livescale, Buywith

Bambuser’s Caroline Nuckolls, Head of Sales North America, shared her thoughts with me about the rise in livestreaming. According to Nuckolls, “What is really comes down to is authenticity.”

It’s not surprising to hear about authenticity from Bambuser as the business started by creating a platform to livestream journalistic events to share truths. We are also seeing a demand for truth and transparency by retail clients. Nuckolls states that the pendulum has swung from little to no interaction of ecommerce to people craving community.

Bambuser won the LVMH Innovation Award in June 2021 and The Walt Disney Company announced in July that Bambuser is among the 2021 Disney Accelerator companies that are helping build the future of media and entertainment. Thereby proving that retail, media and entertainment are converging in livestream selling.

Other highly specific niche livestream selling platforms are Whatnot (collectibles), NTWRK (Streetwear), (Edgy brands with a strong Hollywood backing).

How we got here and where we go

According to Alix Partners, In China, live commerce has transformed the retail industry and established itself as a major sales channel in less than five years. In a 2020 survey, two-thirds of Chinese consumers said they had bought products via livestream in the past year.

However, the Chinese customer is a very different customer than the West.

For one thing, their commerce and fintech technology is more systemically integrated. This is something we lack here. Secondly, influencer and celebrity-supported selling is enormous in China—more so than here.

In conclusion:

Livestream selling allows the clients to get firsthand product knowledge, features, benefits from a trusted and relatable resource. Even returns have been shown to be reduced in livestream selling vs e-commerce. It is a strong part of a digital retail purchasing point

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