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eComm Players Dial Up Rivalry Ahead of the Holiday Season

eComm Players Dial Up Rivalry Ahead of the Holiday Season

The clash of eCommerce titans just heated up as Amazon, Shopify, Google, and Overstock announced new features and partnerships that will enhance their ability to attract more customers this holiday season. 🚀

Both online shoppers and sellers are in for a treat with:

  • Amazon partnering up with Snap to offer Augmented Reality (AR) shopping feature on Snapchat
  • Google introducing new live commerce solutions to make YouTube more shoppable
  • Shopify adding big celebrity brands to its platform
  • Overstock repositioning itself from being an online liquidator to a home and furniture retailer

Amazon and Snap Collab

To take online shopping to the next level, Amazon Fashion and Snap have teamed up to provide brands and customers with a seamless AR-powered shopping experience on Snapchat through a digital Shopping Lens which enables a “try on” feature for various shoppable products.

The new AR lens allows 363 million Snapchatters to virtually try on a variety of eyewear products from Amazon Fashion brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Persol and then click on the “Shop Now” button to buy it from there. 

The eyewear AR lenses are accessible via Amazon Fashion’s store in Snapchat, Snapchat Camera Lens Carousel, and Snap Lens Explorer in the Dress Up and For You pages.

Amazon-Fashion-Snapchat-Profile

According to Snap, more than one billion products were ordered on mobile phones by Amazon Fashion users in 2021. And that number could grow with the addition of this new Virtual Try-On feature for eyewear, as AR apps in general can help boost engagement and conversion.

Marketing Dive research shows that people utilizing AR tools typically spend 75 seconds interacting with them, which is 25 seconds longer than with 60-second business-related videos. This indicates that AR users are far more engaged in the content than with some other marketing methods.

As for boosting conversion, a study from sunglasses manufacturer, Goodr, shows that the company saw a 32% increase in conversion rates among mobile customers who used its virtual try-on features.

While Amazon and Snap’s AR lens is initially designed for specs, it will be the first of more AR lenses to come.

“With the combined innovation and technology between Snap and Amazon, we are unlocking exciting and fun new try-on experiences for hundreds of millions of Snapchatters. AR eyewear is just the first step in our partnership, and we can’t wait to continue our innovation together.” Ben Schwerin, Snap’s SVP of Content and Partnerships, said in a press release.

Google Expands Suite of Live Shopping Tools

In an attempt to transform YouTube into an online shopping destination, Google has been adding eCommerce features to the video platform since 2018.

It has also recently made advancements geared towards winning more shoppers and keeping them on-site rather than outside of YouTube, potentially making it a lucrative sales and ad channel for brands. 

In 2018, YouTube allowed popular content creators to sell their merchandise like t-shirts, phone cases, or hats directly to fans by listing them below their videos. YouTuber Lucas the Spider sold over 60,000 plushies, raking in around $1 million in profit in just three weeks.

In 2020, the company introduced a new advertising solution that lets marketers showcase their video ads on their storefront and complement them with “browsable product imagery to inspire the next purchase… and drive traffic to the product pages that matter.”

One year later, YouTube entered the live commerce space by launching Shop and Stream hosted by some of the biggest content creators, such as Mr. Beast, Gordon Ramsay, The Merrell Twins, and Patrick Starr. 

In 2022, YouTube doubled down on its live commerce plans by bringing Shopify into the fold. With this partnership, Shopify sellers are able to connect their store to YouTube, hold live selling events themselves or with their preferred influencers, and process payments within the platform via Shop Pay, essentially allowing them to take on Amazon Live sellers. 

At its recent Broadcast event, YouTube announced new features that will allow creators to:

  • Go live at the same time, i.e., co-host a live shopping video. For brands, this could double the viewers for the event, as each host would bring their own loyal fanbase to the live stream. For YouTube, this could make them more competitive with Meta’s Instagram, which launched the same co-hosting feature last year.
  • Start live selling on their YouTube page and then redirect viewers over to a brand’s channel for them to keep watching, also known as Live Redirects. This allows brands to leverage the creator’s platform to reach new customers.

As you can see, both sellers and content creators are provided with everything they need to offer a seamless live shopping experience on YouTube. This reduces the need for customers to be redirected to a different website to complete their purchases, which increases the risk of discovering other eCommerce channels like Shopify-powered stores that offer Amazon Buy with Prime.

It’s a smart move that allows YouTube to keep customers on-site, which gives them the opportunity to persuade people to spend more time on the platform and watch more video content, essentially increasing their ability to boost ad revenue after experiencing a 1.9% drop in Q3 2022.

Shopify Launches New Celebrity Product Lines

The Canadian eComm giant banks on the Kardashians and other major influencers in a bid to increase market share after two quarters of sluggish growth.

During Shopify’s Q3 2022 earnings call, company President Harley Finkelstein shared that celebrities are going to play a big role in their strategy for the platform’s digital sales.

“The world’s biggest superstars are also building their brands on Shopify Plus. In Q3, the Kardashian brand continued to build their Empire on Shopify with their latest brand, Courtney Kardashian’s vitamin and supplement company,” the president shared.

In Q2, Kim Kardashian rolled out her SKKN BY KIM line of skincare products on the platform. Fashion model Hailey Bieber also launched her own skin care brand called Rhode Skin. Shopify Plus appears to be positioning itself as the go-to platform for celebrities to grow their personal brands and transform them into products for their massive fanbase.

In addition to the Kardashians, Shopify Plus will also feature:

  • Celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis’s new line of sauces and condiments, Giadzy
  • American singer Ciara’s On A Mission Skin
  • Toronto star Matty Matheson’s workwear brand, Rosa Rugosa

The addition of big names comes at a time when Amazon revealed that its net income dropped to $2.9 billion in Q3 2022 compared to $3.2 billion during the same period last year, while Shopify’s revenue grew 22% this quarter or $1.4 billion versus last year’s $1.12 billion.

The gains in revenue indicate Shopify’s resilience to economic uncertainty and is a good sign of progress as we head into the holidays. 

“Looking ahead, the flexibility of our platform, breadth of solutions, pace of innovation, and disciplined investment approach position Shopify well to realize the enormous opportunity ahead,” said Amy Shapero, Shopify’s CFO.

Overstock Launches Ad Campaign as a Home Furnishings Retailer

Inventory liquidation pioneer, Overstock.com, is repositioning itself as an online home and furniture retailer, teeing up to directly compete with Amazon Home, Wayfair, and Ikea.

On October 20, Overstock launched a home-focused national campaign entitled “Making Dream Homes Come True” to promote its wide array of stylish home products at smart value prices. The campaign also features brand ambassadors Vanessa Deleon, Lizzy Mathis, Farah Merhi, Tarak El Moussa, Luke Caldwell, and Taniya Nayak. The six brand ambassadors collectively bring a huge audience of 20 million followers.

“This new campaign is the next step in our journey. It shows our strong vision for the future as we continue to deliver simple product findability, smart value, and easy delivery and support to our customers. As we better associate our name with new home products, it should dispel any lingering misconception that Overstock sells liquidated or excess merchandise,” said Overstock CEO Jonathan Johnson.

Earlier this year, the company finished stripping itself of all non-home items, a process that took six grueling quarters to complete. In June, Johnson shared with Furniture Today that pivoting to home will “create a better, fitter company in the long run.”

Over the last few years, Overstock offered a broad assortment of discounted goods across multiple categories. But in 2021, 94% of the platform’s sales came from home products, the highest percentage in the company’s history.  

eCommerce sales skyrocketed for a lot of home-focused retailers during the pandemic as homebound consumers began shopping online to renovate their bedroom and living spaces. And even after the pandemic-driven highs, home goods sales of $11.8 billion in August 2022 was only down 1.6% from August 2021’s $11.97 billion. 

“Our business is growing. We’re taking market share, and we’re doing so profitably,” Johnson said.

“Because we’re profitable, our partners are more inclined to sell to us. They know we’ll pay them on time compared to many competitors… These suppliers limit how much inventory they will tie up with someone if they don’t know if or when they’ll get paid.” he added.

Overstock maintains an asset-light business model with “three flexible warehouses that can accommodate up or down depending on suppliers,” which makes them nimble. As of this writing, the company only has 3,500 suppliers dropshipping most orders, allowing them to hold minimal inventory. 

👉 In closing, Amazon, Shopify, Google, and Overstock continue to make great strides in their commitment to provide customers with remarkable online shopping experiences.

A huge part of their strategy seems to be focused on working with influencers and creating tools that support the influencer economy, suggesting that live commerce could be the next big thing in eCommerce. 🤔

However, all these platforms launching influencer programs ahead of key selling events may lead to tougher competition in the days leading up to and throughout BFCM, Christmas, and New Year’s, as brands may try to supplement their ad efforts with shoppable videos in order to attract livestream shoppers.

So if you haven’t already, consider getting on these new trends now to gain a grip on an influencer’s fanbase before someone else does.

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