Modern Marketing Brand Strategy Ecommerce

Walmart brings TikTok-esque shoppable livestream to its e-commerce site

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By Hannah Bowler | Journalist

October 5, 2022 | 5 min read

The retailer is working with live shopping tech firm Firework to circumvent the walled gardens and take complete control of transactions.

Walmart debuts TikTok-style livestream shopping

Walmart debuts its TikTok-style livestream shopping

Walmart’s media retail business, Walmart Connect, is partnering with the live shopping tech firm Firework to bring shoppable content direct to its audiences.

Social shopping is burgeoning in western markets, estimated to be worth $992bn globally in 2022 and projected at $2.9tn by 2026. But there are a set of specific challenges holding it back from full-scale adoption.

Western consumers are typically cautious about giving over card details on social sites, and prefer to leave the content and make a purchase directly with the retailer. It’s thought that 96% of social shopping transactions happen directly with the retailer. Retailers are also hesitant because the social site owns the click-through and conversion data.

Firework’s chief business officer Jason Holland tells The Drum: “The holy grail for a retailer is not to transact on a walled garden – they don’t own the data, they don’t own the conversion and they are paying a hefty tax.” He adds that if one of the social apps changes its search algorithm and “you are a retailer converting your products in an ecosystem you don’t own, you can be in real trouble.”

Walmart and Firework’s solution is to bring 32-second swipeable videos to Walmart’s e-commerce site, turning Walmart into its own version of TikTok with content that allows a consumer to learn more, add to basket and eventually purchase without leaving the video.

Walmart Live

P&G, L’Oréal, Unilever and JJ are the first brands to be integrated on to the site. The brands have created original content for Walmart, as well as clipped archived social content to populate Walmart’s livestream feed.

Videos already populating the site feature influencers, dermatologists and haircare experts talking through products such as Dove moisturizer, L’Oréal shampoo and Pantene anti-frizz treatment.

To drive traffic to Walmart’s site, Firework simulcasts the videos into the social apps. But then when a consumer clicks on that video they are taken directly to Walmart, which then can own the first-party data.

“Don’t power your digital shopper base into a walled garden,” Holland says. “Bring them from the walled garden into your own asset.”

“If you think about a retailer’s website or a direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand site, in very few instances do they mirror the same engaging experience as TikTok – the open web has fallen way behind,” he continues. But if a retailer can replicate that experience from social and then integrate a way to buy directly within the video, “that can be a powerful proposition.”

In August Facebook and Instagram pulled back their social shopping strategies, and TikTok said it was pivoting its plans in this space. Holland says the problem with social shopping is that consumers aren’t in the mindset to buy.

“You have to be doing [social shopping] in an environment where someone has an intent to purchase and is looking for the upper-funnel inspiration while they are in an intent-based mindset,” he concludes.

The move by Walmart comes as it deepens its entertainment offering by partnering with Paramount+ to give its members free streaming accounts.

Modern Marketing Brand Strategy Ecommerce

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