• Retail Dive

Nordstrom debuts interactive livestreams

By Daphne Howland

Published March 17, 2021

Dive Brief:

  • Nordstrom on Wednesday announced a shoppable, interactive livestream platform, an extension of the more than 50 virtual events the retailer has hosted since last year. During each show, customers can shop at Nordstrom.com and participate in a live chat, according to an emailed press release.

  • The first, on Thursday from the New York City flagship, will feature fashion designer turned stylist José Ramón Reyes demonstrating ways to wear Burberry pieces. Part of the presentation will be pre-recorded and will conclude with a question and answer session.

  • Upcoming events feature beauty, skincare and fashion experts and brand representatives, who will provide tips and tricks of the trade, the company said.

Dive Insight:

Livestreaming isn't exactly new — it's been a feature of luxury marketing and shopping in China for a while — but the pandemic appears to be accelerating its use beyond Asia.

Last year in China more than 560 million consumers viewed livestream shopping shows, with sales from those events likely growing more than 100% year over year to some 9% of Chinese e-commerce, according to a recent report from UBS analysts led by Jay Sole. While livestream-based e-commerce "represents only a few billion dollars of US retail sales today," that could grow 10 to 20 times over the next decade, UBS analysts said in their report, citing one expert.

Brands like Burberry, with the pandemic making real, live fashion shows difficult, recently began featuring that programming on platforms like Twitch for example. Instagram and Tik Tok continue to fine-tune their shoppable video features as well. Amazon and QVC are veterans of the medium, with QVC recently bringing its live shopping to YouTube.

While the trend will likely accelerate the growth of e-commerce, it also puts smaller brands, smaller retailers and physical stores at a disadvantage, UBS said. ​

What Nordstrom brings to this approach are its established abilities to curate assortments and present expertise. Already known for its customer service, Nordstrom is using livestream shopping to allow for "discovery, personalization and service at scale," Nordstrom Senior Vice President Fanya Chandler said in a statement.

Livestreaming is also a natural extension of its activity on social media. In the past year, in addition to adding virtual styling services, the retailer enabled its stylists to create shoppable ideas on their social media platforms, per the release.

"Through Livestream Shopping, we can meet the everchanging needs and expectations of our customers and equip our team with more tools to deliver on our commitment to serve our customer wherever, whenever and however they want to shop," Chandler said.

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