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Shopper Trends|December 10, 2021

The Clock is Ticking on Livestreaming and D2C. Are You In?

How America Shops® surveys of thousands of shoppers and our most recent study reveal nearly half of young consumers have already purchased directly from a brand. We dug deeper into the implications of direct-to-consumer trips, including livestreaming, and discovered a territory rich in retail opportunities. We share examples, here.

The Newest Channel in Retail is a Shortcut

Your shoppers are adapting to new, direct-to-consumer channels faster than they did online shopping, because so many of the hurdles e-commerce had to clear are no longer hurdles. We accept the risks of putting our credit cards online, we are confident we will get what we order and can make no-hassle returns. This is why direct-to-consumer purchase options, including livestream events, will quickly become a go-to path to buy. 

Livestream retail – hosted, interactive video streams that sell merchandise – attract 16% of shoppers overall and one-quarter of all Gen Z and Millennial shoppers, according to findings in our most recent How America Shops® research report, “Multiple Choice.” And these consumers are buying a breadth of categories, from vitamins to beauty and fashion.

Meanwhile, half of Gen Z and Gen X shoppers buy brands directly from the manufacturer, not a merchant seller.

These head-turning findings deliver one resonant message: Reset your thinking for 2022 now, retailers and brands, because if you want to tap into that growing D2C audience, you don’t have the luxury of time. 

Livestreams Worth Watching

Among those livestream initiatives worth watching, and why:

  • Walmart first entered shoppable livestreaming in December 2020, when it hosted an event on TikTok called Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular. The stream led to a 25% increase in Walmart’s TikTok followers and to a second shop-along event focusing on beauty. Walmart now features regular events on its dedicated Walmart Shop Live web page. In its Dec. 8 livestream, cookbook author and TV personality Rachael Ray demonstrated kitchenware items and pet gifts, while answering questions. As incentive, Walmart offered those who enrolled signed copies of Ray’s book, “This Must Be The Place.”  
  • PetCo’s first livestream event, “The Perfect Fit,” held in the spring, combined pet fashions from its private labels, Youly and Reddy, with a doggy-adoption drive (all seven dogs were adopted). A following event, dubbed “Petco Field Day,” included games and educational demonstrations to teach viewers physical and mental exercises for their pets. That educational event, co-hosted by Olympian gymnast Gabby Douglas, attracted 2.4 million viewers.1
  • Amazon offers livestreaming as a service to both brands and influencers. The Amazon Live Creator app helps users curate, load and manage streams, and Amazon shoppers can opt in to be notified when a brand or influencer posts a new event. Further, the app includes a gamification feature, awarding additional website placements and other benefits to brands and influencers who post longer streams.  
  • Ulta’s venture into livestreaming includes its educational “Beauty School Live” series, with subject matter that includes specific brands and beauty hacks. In an Ulta Virtual Masterclass, the founder and CEO of Love Wellness, Lauren Bosworth, frankly answers questions in real time about gut health, feminine hygiene and more – a rare brand experience. And in July, Ulta partnered with the livestream shopping app Supergreat to launch a series of daily events that include gamified incentives for participants. 
  • Bloomingdale’s hosted more than 50 livestream events during the pandemic, one of which was hosted by Jimmy Choo Creative Director Sandra Choi, according to CNBC. To encourage early commitments, Bloomingdale’s sent those who signed up in advance a free cocktail and macrons to enjoy while watching. In addition, there was a gift basket and Bloomingdale’s gift card giveaway for all of those who watched the 45-minute event to the end – a smart tactic for gauging shopper activity and encouraging more interaction.

The Wide Range of Reasons Shoppers Choose Livestreaming

Most of the reasons shoppers told us they choose livestreaming get down to emotional values: they find the experience fun, easy, worth the price, trustworthy and they like the hosts. 

Sound familiar? These features align with what makes a good in-store shopping experience. You can take the shopper out of the store, but you can’t take the desire for happiness out of shopping. Shoppers take it where they find it – across all channels.

1Retail TouchPoints,

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