Global e-commerce sales were 81% higher in May 2020 than in the previous year, according to ACI Worldwide Research. With lockdown only just beginning to ease in much of the world, e-commerce is maintaining its hold on wallets. Without the ability to deliver a superior in-store experience, many retailers are looking to the virtual world to give their customers that personalized touch.

WEB Suntec Live 23 6 1547
WEB Suntec Live 23 6 1043
The Suntec Shopping Festival
WEB Suntec Live 23 6 391 2

Last week, Suntec City, a shopping center in downtown Singapore, hosted Shopfest, their first ever live streamed event. With the COVID-19-driven cancellation of the Great Singapore Sale, an annual in-person sales event featuring concerts, food stalls, and of course deals galore, Singaporeans were missing out on a key retail extravaganza in their calendars. Suntec City decided to fill the void by offering a live event in which, every night from June 23rd to 26th, shoppers could log on to the Suntec+ app, see new products presented by hosts and purchase them through the app.

WEB Suntec Live 23 6 747
The Suntec Shopping Festival

In a modernization of old-school infomercials, users could comment and like products along with the show as well as win prizes during interactive sessions. The shopping festival showcased products from 16 participating Suntec City stores. According to the shopping center, the idea for a live-streamed event was taken from Chinese retailers who had been using live-streaming to stay afloat during lockdown for the past several months. Brands like Shanghai-based cosmetics brand Forest Cabin even retrained their staff to feature in their videos.

WEB Screen Shot 2020 07 01 at 11 57 14 AM
Curry’s PC World ShopLive

In the UK, retailers are looking to recreate the personalized experience of a live shop assistant online. In April, Curry’s PC World, an electronics retailer, launched their new ShopLive service with a TV campaign being released in June. ShopLive allows customers to chat with experts via video about purchases from the comfort and safety of their homes. Given that buying electronics can be confusing as well as expensive, the ability to speak to a human expert is key to the purchase decision. Even once stores begin to reopen, ShopLive will remain a part of the retailer’s offering proving its usefulness beyond the current situation.

WEB johnlewis 73721740959150
WEB johnlewis 737256307470
John Lewis
WEB johnlewis 7372476755175

Department stores are also turning to virtual video conversations with their normally in-store experts to help customers make informed purchases. John Lewis customers can book one-hour appointments for baby nursery, personal styling, and home design help. Selfridges, meanwhile, is giving customers personalized access to their beauty, style and gifting specialists through their new virtual appointments, launched on June 15th.

The last few months have been difficult for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers as forced shop closures have meant a disconnect from their consumers. Taking cues from retail-tainment and personal shopping, while catering to the uptick in e-commerce, brands are exploring new ways to form and keep relationships with their customers. Although stores are beginning to reopen, these digital services may stick as people continue to opt for the safety and convenience of online shopping.

Please provide your contact information to continue. Detailed information on the processing of your personal data can be found in our Privacy Policy.

Related Content

Brand Guardian
In The Press

Brand Guardian, AI inclusive representation

Ezinne Okoro, our global chief equity, inclusion and diversity officer, shares with The Drum how inclusivity is a key demand from clients.
Read More
The B2B Future Shopper 2021
Insight

The B2B Future Shopper Report 2021

An in-depth guide to the habits and preferences of B2B buyers across the UK, US and China
Read Article