IPO Corner: Streaming Shoppers

Did you know that the average consumer checks their phone about 110 times a day and their email about 30 times an hour… and that there are 4.6 billion pieces of content shoved out into the world every day? And that we’ve made more pieces of information in the last 30 years than in the 5,000 years that came before that? Us either, until recently. Five dollars says half of it is cat videos.

Learning those statistics made us wonder what exactly it takes for a brand to stand out. Then, we stumbled upon a few more statistics, and a picture began to emerge. That picture was one of video… last year, the primary form of content created and consumed was video, and marketing research is telling us that around 73% of people want to learn about products and services through video content… that’s up 4% over last year.

But it doesn’t stop there… other forms of communication are falling out of favor when it comes to content creators and brands connecting with fans, clients, and customers, and the numbers are sad. There has been a 7% decrease in the last year of people who want to read text-based content, it now sits at a meager 11%. Only 4% want an infographic, 3% want a webinar, and 3% want a phone call. The math says bingo!

Looks like video is our queen (probably for years to come), but… what does that mean? What will it look like? Well, if you’re one of the millions of people on TikTok every day, you probably already know, as the platform is rolling out livestream shopping. Livestream shopping is a phenomenon sweeping the globe, and it’s a game that every brand had better learn if they want to survive the shark infested waters of business.

Maybe you aren’t a TikTok fan, plenty aren’t… never fear, this is about to be everywhere. And where it already is, it’s about to get even bigger. Amazon Live and YouTube are seeing growth in livestream shopping, something we’ve already seen take China by storm. Over that way, livestream shopping has already been hopping, with the space growing to an estimated $423 billion during the pandemic. Now, the rest of the world wants some of that action.

How It Works

We looked into how it works, and it’s honestly pretty exciting. It’s something like if QVC could beam their audience into the studio for a live conversation, but with lots of fun features for making more human connections in advertising. Live commerce purchases rose globally by 76% in just 16 months during the first few years of the pandemic, and looking into this, we were able to really see the draw of it to consumers. It’s like being sucked into the tv.

So, here’s the quick-n-dirty on the process. You choose a platform, “showcase” a product or service, calls to action are featured directly within the platform, those viewing tap a button to add to cart, they push one final button… then, bam! They are the proud owners of said item. After the stream, they can browse everything they saw, then check out right from whatever app or platform they are on.

The best thing about it is, there are all kinds of things that brands can do to drive engagement. Events can be scheduled to build excitement, demos and tutorials (which are wildly popular) are an option, “behind-the-scenes” offers viewers a way to get “closer”, product releases are a cinch, viewers can be invited to bond through being co-hosts or moderators… helps put more “skin in the game” for the customer, if you will.

Bet you’re expecting us to highlight a tech or clothing company in this piece. Well… surprise, we’ve got something way more delicious. We found livestream shopping applied to food in the city of sin. At last year’s GroceryShop 2022 in Las Vegas, leading video commerce solution Firework launched a first-to-market livestream shopping studio. The studio allowed brands at the conference to test their skills, get advice from experts, and learn tricks and tips.

Firework already partners with brands like Bulletproof and The Fresh Market and seem excited to be at the forefront of livestream grocery shopping. Their solution brings social-style vertical video to a brand’s owned digital properties. Then, once they are up and running, they can upload assets, grab livestreams on mobile, and source conversations with customers… among other things.

Last year, the company secured $150 million in Series B funding led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2. According to them, this puts their value at $750 million. Over 600 companies already trust them with their shopping experience, and several have embraced livestream shopping. For instance, Albertsons recently became the first U.S. grocer to utilize the platform. We expect to see more of this from other brands as time progresses.

According to Firework co-founders, this space if ripe for the picking, and have called this type of shopping the “default language for the digital era”. Conversion rates for this type of commerce are sky-high too… we’re talking 10x higher than any other e-commerce format. Experts are telling us to expect this space to be worth $35 billion by next year, and we’ll be keeping an eye out to see if that’s true. Come back next week, we’ll have more from the IPO space.