"Start with the customer and work your way back from there"

This has always been my mantra throughout my time in multi-channel retailing.

Today the 'funnel' mentality has leaned so far to the transaction we seem to have forgotten that shopping in itself is more than a utility exercise.

As more of us have been forced to 'shop online' during this pandemic brands that today choose to invest in better understanding 'browsing commerce' adding the social and entertainment parts into the mix will be seen as the innovators and winners of tomorrows Gen Z consumers.

Change in consumer behaviour is a constant thing, sure some of it is driven by economics and tech developments but the basics are always in play. 

As a business growth and transformation consultant the first place I start when asked to review a company and its opportunities is to get the leadership team to answer the following 2 questions;

  1. Why do you think people previously shopped with you?
  2. Why do you think less people are shopping with you now?

What seem like innocuous questions regularly create division and confusion amongst leadership teams. 

I write about the rise of 'Social Commerce' quite a lot, in fact the majority of innovation in this space isn't coming from Facebook or Instagram it's coming out of China and for those with a commercially savvy brain I strongly recommend you keep an eye on this space - but simply watching and not doing is another matter.

China’s livestreaming industry will be worth $239 billion this year, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 27 percent through to 2025. 

However, the medium’s commercial opportunities are no longer limited to China, as nascent livestreaming ecosystems have emerged in other markets, making it accessible to global consumers.

If you've been patting yourself on the back because you have an eCommerce website in the knowledge that all that business that used to go through physical retail stores is now coming your way, perhaps now is the time to wake up and smell the digital coffee?

People today don't have to go to your website, in fact it's probably one of the last places to go to.

They also don't have to be interrupted with your intrusive adverts, they can block out your digital intrusions across multiple devices,especially social media as today they have greater control over how/if you can use personal data, and as a result inertia is very much with them, not you!.

Prior to this crisis it was no secret that brands who previously relied on the traditional retail distribution strategy to drive revenues was starting to unbundle. 

Several global brands have already started down this path of going 'direct to consumers' (D2C) and with the continuing rise of 'social commerce' which includes millions of micro influencers they are now learning how to bypass the traditional retail model - key to a great influencer is how they draw a tribe that really relates to them with entertaining content first.

At its best, live streaming is an entertaining and interactive antidote to the sometimes static, crowded marketplaces of traditional e-commerce: it can create a dialogue between brands and buyers looking to discover new items, aid with decision-making and amplify convenience through seamless check-out integration, all while providing brands with valuable real-time feedback and data.  

Platforms like 'TikTok'  might look like light years away from where you and your customers are sat at the moment, but this isn't just a Gen Z geeky thing. 

This is the near future direction of travel for enabling a powerhouse of commercial opportunities allowing you to remain front of mind in a world where your website is quickly becoming the last place your consumer will go.

'Live Streaming' is not TV Shopping: you need to think beyond the transaction and look to engage, immerse, and entertain.