Can experiential retail go live and online?
We may have thought that talk of a retail apocalypse was a distant memory, but fallout from the coronavirus outbreak is once again putting the industry to the test. As consumer attention shifts online and retailers continue to shutter store doors, a slew of experiments have been popping up that can serve as a lesson for all of us looking to pivot in this new normal.
“Experiential e-commerce” and “live shopping” are two of the most recent tactics being leveraged to solve for shifting consumer behavior.
Brands taking the experiential route include Apartment Therapy and BoConcept, a Denmark-based luxury furniture retailer. The two have created virtual stores to help their community better imagine spaces without seeing them in person.
Similarly, brands have also leveraged live shopping to transform static product pages into online shows with engaging hosts. Similar to QVC, the live-streaming shopping format has been popular in China with Taobao Live reporting that gross merchandise volume has grown by 150 percent per year over the past three years. A few major players experimenting with this change include Amazon Live, revolutionary department store Showfields and the live shopping app NTWRK. While each site’s live show style is a little different, the tactics remain the same — talking heads (usually influencers) preaching product features in a studio environment with live chat functionality.
The one company that is taking the experience to the next level is NTWRK, a pioneer that has been dubbed as Gen Z’s answer to the Home Shopping Network. It recently launched Transfer, a virtual festival with artists dropping products from 30 exclusive brands across NTWK’s platform. Backed by Live Nation, the tech company has built anticipation by pairing talks with live entertainment from some of the biggest names in music. As first cited in TechCrunch, the company “is hoping as many as 240,000 shoppers and 10 million viewers will show up for the event.”
If retail stores and experiential pop-ups are no longer a priority for consumers, “experiential e-commerce” and “live shopping” may be two ways for brands to stand out and create something worth visiting, again and again.
- Could Livestream Shopping Provide Next-Generation Entertainment For Those Stuck At Home? – Forbes
- Apartment Therapy
- Amazon Live – Amazon.com
- Curations – Showfields
- The NTWRK, the Live Nation-backed shopping app for Gen Z, is launching a virtual festival – TechCrunch
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will live shopping and experiential e-commerce take off now that more people are going online to make purchases? In what other ways can retailers and consumer-direct brands introduce experiences that will set them apart online?