The pandemic created a world where almost every shopper has become a digital consumer, as stores have closed and the only way to buy anything other than groceries was more or less to go online. But, as PYMNTS consumer surveys have shown, what started out as a “must have” for many people has since become a “need” in terms of actual consumer shopping preferences.
While consumer desire to return to the “old trading standard” varied widely across the population, our surveys show that many consumers would like retailers to offer digital purchase options in the future for reasons that go beyond security. Consumers are shifting more to digital and further to physical. In addition, our surveys have shown that the majority of consumers see the pandemic stretching into at least late winter 2021 and that they will maintain many of their digitized shopping habits that they have picked up in the meantime.
With consumer appetite for change in digital commerce exploding and continuing, it is no surprise that the biggest names in technology are improving and reinventing their ecommerce offerings.
One of the more interesting rollouts is the introduction of Shoploop by Google earlier this month. The video shopping platform is a synthesis of social media and e-commerce and offers 90-second tutorials on various products.
When consumers see something they want, they can use the app to “save” the item for a later date or go straight to a retailer’s website to buy it. The platform also encourages users to follow their favorite Shoploop developers and share videos with friends and family.
If all of this sounds familiar, it should probably be as it is somewhat reminiscent of Amazon Live, the video streaming shopping experience that Amazon launched in early 2019. And Amazon and Google aren’t the only big name tech players engaged in video. streamed purchases. As 2019 passed in 2020, Facebook acquired the video shopping platform Packgd, reportedly adding livestream shopping to its Marketplace and Facebook Live capabilities.
“We are looking for ways that buyers can easily ask questions and place orders in a live video broadcast,” said a Facebook spokesman at the time.
The Facebook marketplace has roughly 1 billion active monthly users and has been trying to increase its ecommerce footprint for years (as the recent launch of Instagram Shop shows).
In fact, many attempts to combine live streaming with shopping have gained momentum in recent years as gamers big and small aim to build a digitized version of QVC, or the Home Shopping Network, for millennials.
However, this task has proven to be more difficult than it seems. For example, Style Code Live – Amazon’s first attempt at creating a streamed shopping experience selling beauty products – never found an audience and was rather short-lived.
In contrast, a broader base and more intense advertising helped Amazon Live achieve better results in generating purchases. “Live streaming has helped increase our daily visits to our product detail page five-fold and significantly increase our sales,” noted an Amazon Live retailer.
Even so, massive gamers like Amazon and Google aren’t the only players trying to combine live streaming and shopping. For example, the startup Popshop Live – a streaming-based mobile commerce platform – helps retailers to correctly create streamed promotions in order to generate results. Once a company has connected to the platform, Popshop Live plans a show about the brand or its products, advertises the show and offers a dashboard that records viewers, sales conversions and other KPIs.
“Just having the product is not enough,” founder and CEO Danielle Li told PYMNTS. “The other piece of the puzzle is creating the playbook for salespeople to identify the right content, the right personality, and the right goods. I’m proud to say that Popshop can provide a playbook to prepare sellers for success from their first show – and also help them achieve sustained success over a period of three months, six months and one year. “
Down to Shop co-founder and COO Cyrus Summerlin made a similar statement in a recent interview with Karen Webster about bringing e-commerce to the world of live streaming. He noted that it is not enough to have a platform yourself, but that merchants need to create content that will grab consumers’ attention and arouse their curiosity.
“It’s pretty simple – we just have to do a couple of Super Bowl commercials a day,” Summerlin joked. “We know our audience pretty well, so we may well ask, ‘Will this product speak to them and what’s the best kind of show to tell the best kind of story?'”
The question for Shoploop, Popshop, and other streaming-based e-commerce initiatives is whether they can meet the “Super Bowl Ad Per Day” standard to attract consumers ready to buy. This is a challenge, especially in the 90-second window of time Shoploop developers have available for quick product tutorials.
Such short videos can serve as succinct and efficient content – or they may not be enough to create consumer connection and get customers to buy. On the other hand, young consumers who are trained in super-short TikTok videos might appreciate the shortness of such parking spaces. Time – and the potential sales figures – will tell.
NEW PYMNTS DATA: BUY NOW, PAY LATER, CONSUMER STUDY
Over: Buy Now, Pay Later: Millennials and the Changing Dynamics of Online Credit, a collaboration between PYMNTS and PayPal, examines the demand for new flexible credit options and the way consumers, particularly in the millennial demographics, are paying online. The study is based on two surveys of nearly 15,000 US consumers.