In the summer of 1985, the Home Shopping Network made its debut on obscure cable channels across the US to sell stuff while educating America on the merits of vacuum packing and the beauty of cubic zirconia. Hosts employed the same, effective, first principle sales techniques that were honed by carnival hucksters in decades gone by: urgency “only on 30-seconds left to take advantage of this offer…!”, scarcity “one-of-a-kind…!”, flattery “this slimming cut will look amazing on any body...!” and, of course, value “a never-before-seen price of $19.99…!”. It worked. HSN, and fast-follower QVC, created channels to market that still thrive today.
But, for the past forty years, little has changed in their formats. The HSN of 2022 looks remarkably similar to the HSN of the 1980s. But the disruption is coming. Like kudzu, zebra mussels and bubble tea, an impactful Asian arrival has landed upon U.S. shores.
Greetings, livestream shopping
Unlike TV shopping channels of yore, livestream shopping, powered by the 5G internet, provides highly entertaining, immersive and interactive experiences that frequently harness the power of influencers to achieve remarkable results.
Livestream shopping is relatively new, having started in Asia in 2017, but it is steadily finding its footing in the U.S. and is poised to become a forceful marketing and sales channel. Management consultants at McKinsey & Co. predict spectacular growth for livestream shopping and believe live-commerce initiated sales could account for as much as 10 to 20 percent of all e-commerce by 2026. That’s north of one trillion dollars. Brand managers and retailers must be prepared to adapt.
As if maintaining sales through in-stream clicking and buying wasn’t compelling enough, the benefits of livestream selling extend well beyond that. The real advantage is enabling brand owners to take back ownership of customer relations and data. This brand-to-consumer dialogue provides direct, unmediated relationships and real time customer feedback. Research shared by Facebook says that 90% of consumers say authenticity is important in deciding which brands they support – a defining characteristic of livestream shopping.
The market opportunity is not lost on online retailers such as Amazon. Its Amazon Live offer has reportedly been dangling a lot of dollars in front of Tik Tok and YouTube stars with 100,000+ followers to stream minutes and sell products on its platform. Many other social media players are also staking out their space with eBay launching eBay Live this summer and YouTube teasing a livestream expansion. Retailers more known for their bricks and mortar, such as Walmart, are also entering the fray. While the power struggle between retailers and the products they sell will continue in this channel, we see the biggest upside sitting with the product brands will be able to develop deeper connections with their purchasers.
So where does a marketer go for help in finding success on this new front? While livestream shopping specialist agencies are starting to arrive on the scene, integrated agencies are extremely well placed to serve your livestream sales strategies. The primary reason is that integrated agencies understand the sales funnel at its broadest level and will ensure that livestream shopping is part of a cohesive marketing strategy. Integrated agencies will be able to better judge brand fit – ensuring, for instance, that an influencer you might choose to partner with is aligned with your brand, not just conveniently available. Integrated agencies also ensure that livestreaming is a considered component of a comprehensive media plan – not your only plan. Moreover, an integrated agency will be able to ensure that data is captured and, ahem, actually utilized in your future marketing plans.
Perhaps most critically integrated agencies – especially ones like Doe-Anderson who enjoy decades-long relationships with many clients –appreciate that delivering the authenticity consumers crave means establishing and encouraging lasting relationships. Selling your wares and moving on to the next town before your reputation gets out is one huckster move that never works.
Interested in learning more or talking about how these trends may apply to your brand? Get in touch!
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