Western champions of video shopping point out that it is still in its infancy. The platforms are still developing the technology. Shopify just added the ability for merchants to embed products in live streams and YouTube videos, while Ebay only recently started testing live auctions. There are also signs of momentum in fashion. Ken Downing, former highly regarded fashion director of Neiman Marcus, was recruited in July as creative director of American luxury brand Halston, which is owned by Xcel Brands, a leading name in direct shopping, describing ambitious plans to boost Halston via broadcast.
Luxury seeks the right mode
Luxury players have experimented with two modes of video shopping: one-to-many broadcasts (delivered in the form of free access applications or invitation-only shows) and one-to-one clienteling (by appointment or on the fly).
Individual customers have significant potential, says Rob Garf, Salesforce vice president and general manager of retail. Store associates who can act as style advisors or digital concierges “could have a huge impact,” he says.
This mode is already proven for high-end purchases. Gucci has been sufficiently encouraged to expand its Gucci 9 experience to all of its markets, including Korea and China, by offering remote appointments to its most valuable customers. While Gucci is still collecting data, qualitative customer sentiment has been positive and the service has seen higher conversion rates than traditional calls or messages, according to a Gucci spokesperson.
California-based retailer Fred Segal, which tested a robust live-streaming show in November 2020, pivoted to a one-to-one approach through a customer app that offers an “instant Facetime” effect, says owner and CEO Jeff Lotman. Meanwhile, Klarna says 110 stores, including Hugo Boss, have signed up to use its virtual shopping technology, which allows online shoppers to chat or video with store associates.
That said, adoption of one-on-one shopping remains slow in Europe and the United States. After experimenting with video consultations in many markets, Hugo Boss has found that the best clientele for remote clients is through messaging and stills, “rather than being tied to a video call,” a doorman said. -speech, adding that the brand “continues to offer live shopping opportunities”.
Hadar Paz, founder and CEO of Powerfront, which provides e-commerce and video shopping technology for luxury brands, says that while the one-to-one format proves successful in Australia, “[elsewhere] there is adoption, but nothing like we expected, which is a huge disappointment.