Integrating ‘Shopatainment’ Into Your Marketing Strategy
CEO at Reface, an AI/ML startup shifting from the face-swapping app to social platform.
The average consumer in the U.S. spends 18 hours per week watching online videos. Eighty-five percent of American millennials have made a purchase after watching a video, and Gen Z prefers video over text in an overwhelming majority of cases.
Gen Z members are often described as “kids born with smartphones in their hands,” so building mobile-first experiences is key for any e-commerce targeting this generation. Businesses are competing for Gen Z’s attention, and being boring is the deadliest sin. Retailers and shopping platforms must learn how to hold consumers’ attention and deliver the maximum value per second. As the CEO of an AI company working on future marketing opportunities for entertaining videos and synthesized ads, I suggest business leaders start paying attention to “shopatainment.”
What is ‘shopatainment’ and why should you care?
The rise of short-form videos is building a new consumer environment. Сonnie Chan, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz, has named the e-commerce video trend “shopatainment.” (Disclosure: Andreessen Horowitz has invested in my business.)
Shopatainment is the combination of entertainment, e-commerce and video content.
Shopatainment brings together sales, content and fun. A product offer becomes more enticing when it is supported by engaging curated content. In my view, this is not just another marketing trend, but a movement that is spreading across the retail industry and beyond. For example, my company recently helped with a campaign where consumers could swap their face into a video and virtually wear the product.
Video commerce has exploded in China.
Shopatainment was pioneered in Chinese digital markets. The biggest shopping platform in China, Taobao, is setting the standard for video commerce. Short, pre-recorded videos, as well as live streams, are part of the social e-commerce that generates billions in China. One of the biggest live streaming influencers even managed to set a record of $1.6 billion-worth sales in just one day. Taobao’s president predicts that 90% of the platform’s content will be based on videos. According to Taobao Live, the conversion rate for live streaming can reach 32% — a high figure in the competitive e-commerce market.
China’s short video platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou are supporting the shopatainment trend and are experiencing an influx of e-commerce orders. Douyin has even transitioned from supporting third-party e-commerce links to showcasing products via its own shopping feature. These examples from China show the promising beginning of a new digital ecosystem in which video creation takes on the role of both entertainment and marketing.
The rest of the world will follow.
New consumer habits are powering a new digital ecosystem. Chinese marketplaces are already there, and the Western world is about to shift to selling via video commerce. I believe that all successful retailers will turn to video production and have their own video e-commerce apps, creating a video-first shopatainment market whereby sellers can build relationships with consumers and boost their conversion rate.
TikTok already supports e-commerce features and is working on integrating livestream shopping by partnering with Shopify and Walmart to create new interactive possibilities for in-app purchases. I think we can expect other big players to get on board with this soon too.
How To Integrate Shopatainment Into Your Marketing DNA
To step up your marketing game, you will need to adjust to the new realities of consumer behavior and entertain customers via short, digestible videos and engaging live streams. Here are some steps you can take to begin integrating shopatainment into your strategy:
• Give videos a bigger role in your content strategy. This doesn’t just mean producing more videos in the formats you’re used to — it can also mean making them interactive. It’s about holding viewers’ attention and keeping up with the trends, so say yes to TikToks, streams and video challenges.
• Give a voice to regular users. The future belongs to user-generated content. Since anyone can become an influencer or natural seller, consider simplifying production and providing open access to video creation tools.
• Share profits within the creator economy. Over 10% of U.S. adults are part of the creator economy but very few (registration required) manage to make a living out of it. Since personal and easily created videos cost less and often bring higher conversion rates, you can take part in democratizing the creator economy by paying the creators who help you engage with your audience and sell products.
I believe shopatainment is about to change the face of e-commerce and the online shopping experience. Shopping is increasingly taking the form of entertainment, and videos rule this area. To avoid being left behind, e-commerce businesses should think about implementing video-first and mobile-first approaches, as well as building video commerce apps and offering simplified video creation tools.
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