How Livestreaming Is Unlocking New Opportunities For Wellness Brands

In this regular column, creative agency Household explores how modern wellness businesses can leverage consumer behaviour to create brand stories and experiential points of discovery for customers.

This month Household explores how livestreaming is unlocking new opportunities for wellness brands….

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for digital innovation around the world. IBM reveals that in 2020, e-commerce saw a level of acceleration that was estimated to take at least 5 years to reach. This acceleration quickly heightened consumers’ expectations of online shopping, as they began to demand more than a simple transactional experience from the brands they engage with.  

The rise of livestreaming
For many years, livestream shopping has been a popular online shopping method in the East. In 2019, over 430 million people, about 30% of China’s population, viewed livestreamed content, and in 2020, it was projected to reach 560 million people (Forbes, 2020).

Rapidly, it’s found its way to our shores. And despite livestreaming still being in its infancy in the West, it’s on track to disrupt the online shopping landscape. According to Coresite Research, the market is predicted to reach $25 billion by 2023 in the US.

For wellness brands that can tap into what is fast becoming a radical shift in the way people shop online, they’ll find themselves better positioned to keep their customers engaged, informed and entertained.

Bringing ‘experts’ to you
Pre-pandemic, one of the biggest disadvantages to online shopping was the inability to access live trusted guidance from experts at-home. Consumers looked to store associates, brand ambassadors and influencers for trusted advice, viewing them as a resource for tips, tricks and product expertise that enabled them to make more confident, informed purchases.

 Livestreaming Is Unlocking New Opportunities For Wellness Brands
Image: Beautycounter

Livestreaming has become vital in evolving the personal service consumers receive, making it accessible anywhere.

Take Gucci. The luxury lifestyle brand has been experimenting with a new service called ‘Gucci Live’. Its customers can book an appointment to connect with associates in-store to discover and view the brand’s collection, receive real-time recommendations, and answer questions. The service seamlessly translates the brand’s luxury service cues across channels, allowing its customers to receive excellent 1-2-1 customer service, directly at home.

Athleisure behemoth Lululemon is following a similar playbook with its weekly livestreamed shopping events where a product expert leads guests through select product options and topics.

And elsewhere, other brands are taking the best of social media and pushing it to new limits, creating virtual destinations full of shoppable expertise. Walmart for example leveraged TikTok creators and influencers to drive hype around its beauty products. The brand hosted a virtual beauty shopping event on the platform, with influencers demonstrating how to use their favourite beauty products, to drive sales. Customers could purchase products directly in the TikTok app in real-time, connecting expert recommendations directly with the shopping experience.

From shop floor to broadcast studio
With more consumers shopping online, brands are also reimagining their physical environments to better serve them, wherever they are. For example, using their stores to become hybrid destinations that blend the physical with the digital to create an interactive and shoppable destination that’s accessible anywhere.

US-based clean beauty brand BeautyCounter is leading the way –– its LA store has a dedicated zone for content creation. The aim is to grow and connect with its community beyond the store by streaming live beauty events and masterclasses to entertain and educate its community simultaneously across channels. By becoming a content-production studio, it has managed to elevate the value of its physical retail store.

Other brands are also using livestreaming to hold exclusive virtual events that drive people to join in wherever they are. Earlier this year, payment platform Klarna partnered with Cosmopolitan magazine to launch a 48-hour livestream shopping event called ‘Hauliday’. Shoppers were offered exclusive deals, with financing options from a variety of brands such as Adidas, Macy’s, Rebecca Minkoff and HAUS LABORATORIES. The Livestream, filmed at Macy’s Herald Square NYC flagship, was available to watch via the ShopShops app.

This time-limited event created hype amongst its community, building fan-fuelled excitement and engagement.

In China, which has seen the use of livestreaming skyrocket during covid lockdowns, better-for-you F&B brand Rude Health has also found success through a partnership with Tmall Global.

What’s next?
For a content inspired generation, livestream shopping acts as the seamless next step for online shopping, giving them everything they look for online – community, engaging interactive content and informed experiences.

We’re at the beginning of tracking and developing with our clients this exciting new world of shopping, which brings an immersive and entertaining dynamic to the customer experience.  

Challenges we are solving together with brands include:

  1. How can we engage consumers who are increasingly shopping online? 
  2. How can we make the most of a network of in-store experts to better serve consumers wherever they are? 
  3. And how can retail play a new role in an era of broadcasting e-commerce?