In the build up to this year’s Singles’ Day event in China (Nov 11), Kim Kardashian West took to TMall to co-host a live streaming shopping session with one of the country’s top-selling influencers, Viya Huang. The event drew in 13 million viewers and helped Kim K sell her entire stock of 15,000 bottles of KKW perfume in just a few minutes.
Broadcasting shopping events have long been a success in Asia, a region that often leapfrogs the West when it comes to responding to its audience’s want-it-now behaviors with digital tools. In 2018, the genre generated $4.4bn in sales in China alone.
To further put in perspective the success of the feature on TMall, Huang, who joined Kardashian West on-screen during the broadcast, previously broke a record on the platform in October when she sold almost $50m in one day.
In this case, the benefits of the partnership were twofold: while for Kardashian West it meant tapping into a mature audience and expanding her already huge visibility in Asia, for TMall, this served as a testing ground for its Global Influencer Ecosystem, a program that aims to train and support 2,000 influencers around the world.
Live streaming has its origins beyond retail, and is part of a much wider voyeuristic nature the internet helped incubate – from watching people play video games on sites like Twitch, to the huge popularity of unboxing videos on YouTube.
Brands following suit feels only natural as a result. Sprinkle in some influencer dust, and you’ve got a recipe for success.
But this fairly new behavior is also an offshoot of a much wider trend for immediacy, or blink-and-you’ll-miss-it tactics that retailers have long deployed with flash sales and limited edition products.
You only need to look at the long-standing popularity of shopping channels like QVC and HSN, which combined brought in $3.1bn in sales during Q1 2019, to find the winning strategy: a charismatic host who sells a single product with a masterful sense of urgency, either focusing on its price or exclusivity, urging viewers to call in. But how do you refresh that model to suit the younger generation whose mobile-first behaviors mean they don’t watch live television, or even pick up the phone?
Enter platforms like NTWRK, a self-described QVC for Gen Z and Millennials, whose second round of funding included the likes of Foot Locker, Live Nation and rapper Drake. The app broadcasts live sessions where hosts, who are often celebrities or musicians, will sell limited edition goods – from sneakers to concert tickets – only available for the duration of the show. This, according to the platform, is “shopping at the speed of culture.”
NTWRK could also represent the next step in hypebeast – or urban streetwear – culture, adding an extra level of exclusivity now that queueing outside stores has become a secondary market in itself.
Meanwhile H&M’s young brand Monki recently hosted an experience on its own e-commerce site where its fashion editor and a buyer discussed fashion trends and their favorite products of the season, while viewers could shop the products and even replay the video once it had ended.
The popularity of these platforms and one-off events show that appetite is definitely there, much like in Asia. But in order to create a seamless shopping experience and keep customers coming back, brands and tech platforms still have a few kinks to resolve.
Firstly, there is the issue of internet connection, which will undoubtedly improve once 5G has hit the masses. Then, there is creating a user experience that enables viewers to shop while never having to leave the stream to add their payment information or check out. Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, it will be up to brands and retailers creating these streams to enlist hosts and create experiences that will grab and keep the attention of a notoriously fickle demographic.
It will be interesting to watch this space mature. A trend that is so clearly influenced by a tried-and-tested retail format – TV shopping networks – highlights how innovation is often about evolution, and not reinvention. Finding what works, and updating it to the digitally-led generation.
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Victoria Beckham is set to livestream her A/W 2018 London Fashion Week show on Piccadilly Circus’s iconic digital screens as part of the label’s 10-year anniversary celebration.
This occasion also marks the first time that the Piccadilly Circus 4K advertising screens, known as Piccadilly Lights, will be streaming live content.
This Sunday (September 16) at exactly 9:25am, the screens will light up with a video celebrating Victoria Beckham’s 10-year tenure in fashion, after which at 9:32am the show will be broadcasted live from its location at the Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac gallery in London.
For the past week, the brand has been teasing Piccadilly Circus pedestrians with a rotation of three images showing Beckham inside a shopping bag, paying homage to a 2008 Marc Jacobs ad where she did the same. The images are all part of the brand’s upcoming advertising campaign.
Beckham’s intention behind the live show is to connect with her audience in a whole new way. That is also why she will be spending quality time with customers on a one-to-one basis at her Dover Street flagship after the fashion show.
A selection of this season’s accessories, jewelry and shoes will be exclusively available for purchase on Saturday, one day ahead the show, on VictoriaBeckham.com as well as at the Dover Street and Hong Kong stores. Customers will also be able to purchase a t-shirt featuring a campaign visual.
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Ahead of its move to an in-season show in order to meet consumer demand this September, Burberry is turning to Apple TV for an increasing focus on entertainment and conversions during London Fashion Week on Monday.
The British heritage brand will live stream its show on its Apple TV channel – as it did with its menswear show in January. This time however, it will also enable viewers to revisit and explore the collection using the Apple Remote thereafter, and use it to request a call from a dedicated customer service rep so as to pre-order select pieces.
The show will also mark the first time that Burberry presents its womenswear collection under its united “Burberry” label, following the announcement that its Prorsum, London and Brit lines would be merged in November 2015.
The intention is to simplify the presentation of Burberry’s full product range, though it also suggests wider price points, and thus more accessible pieces will be shown in order to appeal to the digital audience it is reaching.
Adding to the entertainment piece is British musician Jake Bugg, who will perform live during the show. The Burberry app for Apple TV also offers access to a back catalogue of Burberry Acoustic films from other British music talent, as well as highlights from previous runway shows and beauty tutorials with Burberry make-up consultant Wendy Rowe.
The new collection will then be on display in the brand’s Regent Street flagship store for a week following the show, before moving to the brand’s Faubourg Saint-Honoré store in Paris. Check out the trailer for the show, below:
Yes, you read that right. JW Anderson is turning to gay dating app, Grindr, to stream its autumn/winter 2016/17 menswear show during London Collections: Men this Sunday.
The London-based designer will take to the platform – otherwise known as a location-based hook-up tool for men in cities around the world – in a bid to demonstrate fashion’s “sexy” side, he said.
“I think fashion is a sexy platform as well, ultimately,” he told The New York Times. “We’re all humans, so we all have to be somewhat sexually attractive to someone. That’s the name of the game, with clothing.” He referred to the collaboration as a “no brainer”, and Grindr, which claims one million active users every minute, as an “incredibly modern platform”.
Grindr will be the only place that consumers can access the live video. Users will be sent a secret code, which will then direct them to the stream within phone and tablet browsers (it won’t play within the app itself).
The move comes following Grindr hiring PR Consulting as its new publicity agency – a company usually associated with, well, fashion. And one that does, of course, also represent Anderson.