We live in an era of ‘shoppertainment’, so much so that we are desensitized to the gimmicky theatrics that enhance our retail experience when we shop. So what exactly is shoppertainment? The word itself is self-explanatory but with brick and mortar retail spaces shuttering down due to the pandemic, shoppertainment has found ways to reinvent itself on consumer screens.

Pre-pandemic, you might have noticed themed pop-ups and interactive activities marking different parts of the mall. Once upon a time in Singapore, there was a bubble tea-themed museum at the basement of Scape to draw in a younger demographic of shoppers. Not only did they successfully capture the intended market, word spread like wildfire as social media feeds were greeted with bright pink aesthetics and smiley boba cups. Not only did this shoppertainment campaign successfully go viral on digital platforms, it generated a sizable amount of foot traffic in stores.

This is just one example out of the many shoppertainment campaigns that have been pulled off. Global brands like Adidas, Nike and Coca Cola have conducted many shoppertainment experiments with the customised Cola bottles being one of the most successful campaigns, you might have remembered seeing your name on a glass Coca Cola bottle and getting one for someone you know.

In the new-normal, shoppertainment has mostly translated onto e-commerce websites, with livestreams and in-app video games as the most popular form of advertising. Businesses are now choosing to generate sales using high production value content and varied forms of virtual entertainment.

Why shoppertainment?

Retail customers are all about instant gratification these days, with same-day shipping and purchases made at the touch of a button, it can be hard to keep the average consumer interested in a product for extended periods of time. In a way, shoppertainment was designed to keep up with their attention spans with the objective of adding entertainment to their retail experience, the experience itself aims to add value to the consumer and thus inciting a strong emotional response toward the purchase.

As shoppertainment events are free for all events, consumers are not restricted by traditional demographics such as spending limit and account restrictions. This gives the business different ways to attract new clientele and reach into untapped markets. Above all, due to its convenience and accessibility e-commerce platforms are gaining traction in terms of exposure at a scale that is rarely seen in traditional retail. This bodes well for brands that could do with the increased visibility especially when they are geographically located outside of the consumer’s home country. Such innovations have reaped large benefits for popular e-commerce companies such as Lazada, Taobao and Shopee, with Taobao making a 150% growth year on year after launching their live-streaming shoppertainment feature in 2014.

The seller experience

In Asia, the shoppertainment experience is largely found on live streams of e-commerce platforms, and a huge chunk of consumers who tune in are mostly looking at cosmetics and fashion products. Unsurprisingly, 80% of those who view live streams before making a purchase are women. Regardless, how does this alter the way sellers or brands push their product? For a shoppertainment livestream to be successful, a seller should not be hard-selling.

Instead, getting high profile influencers or celebrities to conduct a makeup tutorial or a fashion lookbook would enhance the product’s value and give the customer a better reason to hit the checkout button. Always remember, in an era where online retail is heavily saturated with affordably priced products, it is all too easy for a consumer to hop onto the next seller which is why it is incredibly important to highlight what the brand has to offer.

Creating a narrative for the brand is one of the strategies to increase sales on the seller’s end, ensuring that the brand resonates with its ideal consumer by working backwards and finding out what are the traits that the ideal customer wants to associate him or herself with. Most importantly, what kind of takeaways would the brand want for the customer to take away so much so that they become recurring clients.

The buyer experience

Keeping in mind that users of e-commerce platforms are dominated by a younger demographic, the same shoppers have different spending habits as compared to the Gen X and boomers. Gen Z and millennials have a huge focus on post-material values, also known as individualism and are willing to pay a premium for purchases that they feel sets them apart from the rest. Technology must also drive their purchase and this is where livestreaming enters. Contrary to popular belief, not all products sold on e-commerce platforms are fast fashion, brands like Supreme X Louis Vuitton have sold out limited edition collections in China where a huge bulk of their consumers are under 30.

For the buyer, the livestream has to tell a story of the brand and align with the way he/she lives her life. By creating such associations, only does it appeal to old and new customers who view the product as an extension of who they are and what they stand for. It would be even more compelling if the brand is able to highlight supply chain transparency and the origin of where the product is manufactured as all these little things resonate with the modern consumer and their societal values and self-imagery.

Commonly used tools and platforms for Shoppertainment?

Some of the commonly used platforms for shoppertainment are actually e-commerce applications that double up as a content community with its own live-stream hosts. Taobao reportedly is home to over 4000 live-stream hosts and they produce content round the clock keeping shoppers entertained and product launches running smoothly. Some of the biggest events in shopping history like singles day sales and 12.12 has its own line-up of entertainment. China’s most famous live-stream host, Viya, reportedly commanded S$6 billion in sales last year just by talking about products in front of an audience.

Some of these e-commerce phone apps even have interactive games available for shoppers to earn vouchers and cash rewards that can be redeemed immediately when they check out their carts and so it is unsurprising that they have teamed up with other video game applications on the app store to run their event campaigns.

In physical outlets, brands use a variety of ways to entertain their customers, some of the common ones can include interactive touch-screen displays fitted with sensory motion technology where customers can play virtual football games or be transported into another location.

Higher production value accounts for higher returns

Investing in content with higher production value can very easily command a following with retail consumers as it is seen as reliable, giving the brand a higher value perception. Additionally, gen z and millennial consumers who hold some of the highest purchasing power in the market have generally higher than average expectations in terms of quality and branding when it comes to their purchases. Comparatively, the older generations do not expect much as they lived most of their lives in a non-digital world.

To attract a healthy following in 2021, is to ensure that the content produced is aesthetically pleasing and screams ‘on-brand’, otherwise it would not complement with other marketing materials and will be harder for brand association to take root.

Make Shoppertainment a part of your digital marketing strategy

Shoppertainment should form a piece of the pie in your digital marketing strategy by ensuring there is continuity in terms of a colour palette, slogan and creative direction.
Some of the sure-fire ways to generate buzz for a livestream event is get a celebrity to headline the event itself, be it a short skit or a live-selling session, getting a public figure with an existing following can be the reason the event trends online.

Other traditional methods could include advertising via commercials, Youtube advertisements and in-app mobile games. In-app mobile games are gaining traction for e-commerce platforms as collaborations such as handing out vouchers and rewards could improve digital traffic on livestreams and improve sales.

Shoppertainment increases the stickiness of the webpage

Digital traffic resembles foot traffic, the more you loiter in an area the more you’re likely to browse and eventually purchase something. That is the whole idea of shoppertainment, by creating content that adds value to the consumer, you increase the amount of time he/she spends on the app. After a decent amount of scrolling, they’re bound to pick out an item they are fond of and make a purchase. In industry terms, the incessant scrolling by the consumer increases the ‘stickiness’ of the webpage and this is caused by content with high quality production value.

‘Shoppertainment’ the new normal

As the ‘new normal’ is here to stay, retailers and consumers alike are prepared for physical retail outlets to be subjected to social distancing measures and even sudden lockdowns. Businesses have been digitalising their brands, bringing them online and ensuring that their virtual ‘space’ can fully function on its own. With the changing consumer landscape and increasing overheads, brands will come to rely on ‘shoppertainment’ to be the primary accelerator for sales figures. Tembusu events has helped many of its clients to pivot from mass physical events to virtual ones, contact us for more information!

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