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Hands up if you’re tired of hearing the terms “new normal” and “pivot”. You too? Thought so. You’ll be pleased to know that 2023 brings a new term that is set to redefine business. This is “shoppertainment” described as “an approach to retail marketing that combines shopping and entertainment”.
The Macmillan dictionary further adds that this is a brave new world where retailers aren’t just in the business of trying to sell stuff. They are also in show business needing to capture people’s attention and even more challenging – to keep it.
Over the course of the Covi-19 pandemic, consumers got used to going online for all sorts of activities that were once conducted primarily in person, including virtual exercise classes, cooking courses, concerts, and beyond. Given these trends, it’s no surprise that consumers began to crave a convergence of online shopping and entertainment into one engaging interaction thus, the shoppertainment trend was born.
Last week saw the soft launch of liveshopping.co.za, pioneering shoppertainment in South Africa as the first interactive, livestream mall.
It is headed up by serial tech entrepreneur Joy Des Fountain, the dynamic South African behind global tech brands twodots and myFanPark.
“LiveShopping.co.za is a combination of elements we have witnessed and researched over the last 2 years and how it has developed into an important tool for brands to reach and engage with existing and new customers in China.
“It has steadily moved across the globe, and we believe that South Africa is ready for it. Further to this, we continue to hear from brands how the use of social media marketing is becoming more expensive and, in many cases, less effective,” explains Des Fountain.
“The communities are there. Brands have invested substantial money in digital marketing to build these. LiveShopping.co.za now provides a low-risk way of interacting, entertaining and transacting with these communities.
“We also have long-standing relationships with creators who are niche experts. This is the perfect opportunity for creators to host their own live shows, where everything they talk about is shoppable in video.”
Des Fountain believes that online shopping has not changed since it started in the late 1990s. Product detail pages and category pages have only become richer with the addition of imagery and video. It’s a transactional space – you go to a website, add items to your basket and check out.
LiveShopping.co.za is focused on interaction and entertainment first, with commerce as a by-product of positive interaction. Creating content that is entertaining helps brands and creators build authentic relationships with their audiences and helps customers better understand the products that they are buying.
Nick Dreyer, co-founder and chief executive of the iconic South African company Veldskoen Shoes, was the first to go live on LiveShopping.co.za.
“I am so proud to have been the very first live stream shoppertainment show on the continent of Africa. What a thing to achieve, and it feels like we are part of the future. We are so grateful as Veldskoen Shoes to be part of this incredible movement, not just as a business but as part of the online experience on our continent.”
Another superb addition to the LiveShopping.co.za platform is South African actress, television star and businesswoman Mpumi Mophatlane. She has become a household name ever since she first appeared in The Real Housewives of Johannesburg.
Mophatlane says, “I have had the pleasure of building a large online community and working with many brands. Teaming up with LiveShopping.co.za now means I can take this even further by interacting, sharing, and shopping on my live shopping show and I cannot wait.”
An additional brand involved is BENA Woman, a product of Xan Fraser and the home of South African-produced, luxury day, sleep, and loungewear.
“In liveshopping.co.za shows, BENA Woman will be showcasing our new collections as they come off the factory line. Clients love to see garments on all different body shapes, as well as how one can wear the outfits differently according to the occasion. From a customer perspective, it’s also a lovely platform to ask questions and speak directly to the brand, which is not always possible on online shopping.”
Johnno Meintjes, the founder of the JEFF Lifestyle programme that took South Africa and indeed the world by storm during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond, has joined the liveshopping.co.za family with his wife, Juls, with the Daily J live segment.
“We believe in the power of empowering, educating, and assisting our community to be better versions of themselves. This platform enables them to do so in an effective way, where they have the choice to be involved in the show and where it gives them the ability to interact, tell us what they want and then buy it,” said Meintjes.
Des Fountain adds, “We are a team of local entrepreneurs, who come with a strong understanding of brands and engagement technology, through myFanPark, we have unparalleled access and direct relationship with admired talent and creators, many of whom will be joining liveshopping.co.za shows. The combination of these factors is unrivaled. We are making buying easier, more entertaining and allowing a consumer to connect with a brand in a way that they haven’t been able to do before in the digital space.”