Last updated: The future of shopping: Here we are now, entertain us

The future of shopping: Here we are now, entertain us


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The blending of shopping and entertainment – “shoppertainment” –  isn’t a new trend. The QVC shopping television channel pioneered it in 1980s. Today, it’s the future of shopping.

While COVID-19 pushed e-commerce to the forefront, it’s not enough for brands to simply have an online storefront.

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Brands have to do more to attract customers, especially younger consumers who are digital natives. They’re looking for more than a simple product purchase; they want novel, immersive experiences.

The truth is consumers today crave education, inspiration, and entertainment before they buy. Brands need to prepare for this future of shopping.

Hello, hello, hello: The future of shopping is entertainment

So what exactly is shoppertainment? According to Lexico, shoppertainment is defined as:

The provision of entertainment or leisure facilities within or alongside a retail store or shopping centre, as part of a marketing strategy designed to attract customers; the entertainment or facilities provided in this way.

Of course, in the age of COVID, we’re talking about shopping and entertainment in the online retail world. Here’s where shopping infused with entertainment is practically on steroids, taking on various formats such as influencer marketing, gaming, immersive experiences, and live streaming. It’s a fresh opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in exciting new ways.

Influencers who’ve built a vast following on social media are proving powerful in swaying purchasing decisions, across many generations, from Gen-X to Gen Z.

Celebrities like Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and singer Selena Gomez are among the top influencers on Instagram.

Live selling and social commerce through live streaming on sites like Facebook and Instagram has become a popular way to showcase and sell products. It’s essentially QVC for the digital era.

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The future of shopping is here: Examples from around the world

The shopping-entertainment blend is growing around the world. In China, influential key opinion leaders or KOLs amuse consumers from Guangzhou to Beijing, offer tips and advice, demonstrate products, and promote brands online.

In Thailand, 90,000 viewers recently tuned in to watch a Shiseido live stream on Lazada, a leading Southeast Asian e-commerce platform. The Japan-based brand saw a 40-fold uplift in sales value, boosted by a ‘see now buy now’ feature on its app.

AliExpress, Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, declared it is recruiting 100,000 content creators and influencers globally, including KOLs from TikTok and Instagram, to get involved with international shoppertainment.

In the U.S., influencers are becoming on-air anchors with shoppable videos. Recently, model Karlie Kloss and vlogger Patricia Bright hosted an Estée Lauder beauty live stream resulting in increased site visits, orders, and a sell-out of a limited-edition lip kit promoted on the “program.”

e.l.f. Cosmetics is teaming up with Kathleen Belsten – also known as “Loserfruit” or “Lufu” – a superstar who found fame on Twitch and has built a strong following across YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. She will provide her audience – both females and males – with engaging content that integrates her favorite cosmetic and skincare products from e.l.f.

Shoppertainment is taking on new guises, too. The explosion of gaming in North America, for instance, means that rapper Travis Scott can appear in a virtual concert on Fortnite, the wildly popular digital battle game, and notch up 12 million viewers. At the same time, you can shop for limited edition action figures of Scott and customized Nerf Blasters on the back of his foray into digital entertainment.

Are you ready for the future of shopping?

For brands, the shopping as entertainment trend involves staying ahead of the hype curve and innovating at speed. The biggest challenge is identifying the latest movers and shakers before they trend, along with promising technologies or the start-ups that bring them to life.

The other challenge is understanding the latest mega-trends and what they mean for businesses and then connecting brands to this ecosystem in a way that feeds the bottom line.

The cutting-edge of shopping isn’t for every brand; it’s best suited for those looking to be innovative. It works for businesses that want to engage with new audiences, source new revenue streams, create a fresh buzz about their brand, be collaborative, and experiment.

Brand leaders have an open innovation mindset. They listen, learn, and watch how consumers behave, with a keen eye on how our digital culture is influencing human behaviour. New ideas and tie-ups, disruptive business models, left-of-field external partnerships, or moon-shot ideas are all encouraged and explored.

Shoppertainment is also a fine balance. Consumers must be truly engaged before the shopping cart is full. Finding the equilibrium between entertainment and retail is crucial.

It’s a brave new era. Move over QVC; 21st century, technology-driven prowess is creating something better.

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