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The Wall Street Journal this morning has a piece about how "a number of retailers, brands and tech platforms are convinced" that live-streamed shopping can "become a big thing in the US."

What, exactly, is live-streamed shopping?  The Journal writes that it "adapts the QVC model of televised home shopping to the digital era."  The concept "grew popular in the Asia-Pacific region before exploding in China during the pandemic as businesses rushed to connect more directly with homebound consumers … Some U.S. marketers see live shopping as a critical way to build awareness and trust among young consumers, attract new customers and collect data on shoppers, including their behavior online before making a purchase. They also want to be in position if and when live shopping takes off."

The story notes that "many U.S. marketers view the trend with caution because it hasn’t yet delivered significant sales in the U.S. But revenue from U.S. live-stream shopping is predicted to grow to $20 billion this year from $6 billion in 2020, and to $57 billion in 2025, according to research firm Coresight Research Inc."

Retailers seem particularly intrigued:

•  "Walmart recently increased marketing for live-stream events after testing showed that they help the company draw a more direct line between marketing and sales for brands that advertise on its websites and apps, says Chief Revenue Officer Seth Dallaire.

"Walmart is working with tech startups Firework and TalkShopLive LLC to host live-shopping videos on its website and apps, while it develops its own internal live-shopping platform."

•  "Target Corp., meanwhile, collaborated with Ntwrk on a September 'hot drop' event that featured exclusive items from a new collection by fashion designer Houston White. The offerings sold out before the end of the 30-minute event, Mr. White says."

•  " Inc. also has invested heavily in the space, creating a live-stream shopping service in 2016 and featuring it on the Amazon home page in 2018. It also launched two versions of a live-streaming app—one for brands that want to produce their own videos and one for content creators or influencers who are paid to promote products in videos—in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Not every experiment has lasted: Amazon in 2017 canceled a daily live-stream shopping show on its website and app called 'Style Code Live.' The company declined to comment on why, but some industry insiders say the American public wasn’t ready for it at the time.

"More recently, Amazon has been developing live-shopping events for its Twitch gaming platform, says Walker Jacobs, chief revenue officer at Twitch. In an event sponsored by L’Oréal SA, Twitch users playing a popular game collaborated with each other to collect items that could be activated and turned into coupons for L’Oréal products on Amazon, Mr. Jacobs says."

The Journal writes that "forty-six percent of U.S. consumers who watch live-stream shopping events say they do it because they want to be entertained, according to a 2022 Coresight survey."

KC's View:

Creating online experiences that inspire people while also selling them stuff strikes me as a good idea if the approach is consistent with a retailer's broader value proposition and brand equity.  If it is dissonant, it simply won't make any sense and efforts will fall of deaf ears.  But I think there may be an opportunity to test the degree to which technology can bring people together as opposed to driving them apart.