Samsung tests live video shopping to showcase new foldable phone

Dive Brief:

  • Samsung Sweden hosted a live event on Sept. 18 to help people learn more about its latest foldable smartphone, the Galaxy Z Fold2 5G. The interactive broadcast, titled Samsung Live, featured product experts who virtually interacted with viewers and guided at-home audiences interested in buying the foldable phone in real time through the live shopping event, according to an announcement.
  • The tech company partnered with Bambuser, a live streaming video company headquartered in Stockholm, and influencer marketing agency Relatable to develop the virtual event, which was hosted by a Samsung marketing executive and featured “special surprise guests” to co-host.
  • Interest in shoppable live video has grown during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has kept many consumers from venturing out to brick-and-mortar retail stores. Live video shopping offers an interactive experience not found in traditional online shopping channels.

Dive Insight:

Samsung’s livestreamed event is a way to build buzz for its recently announced foldable premium phone on the day it hit online store shelves. Though such product launches are traditionally met with large in-store events to drum up significant attention, the pandemic has made those nearly impossible to pull off safely and effectively. The live video route allowed the tech giant to generate excitement for its latest foldable fold and maintain brand engagement even as people remain socially distant.

The livestream on Samsung’s Swedish website featured an unboxing of the new phone, as well as the opportunity for viewers to directly interact with the company’s product experts to ask questions before purchasing the device that runs for about $2,000.

Already popular in Asia, live video shopping is beginning to catch on in other parts of the world, a trend that’s accelerating because of the pandemic. Such shopping generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019 and could nearly double in 2020, per Coresight Research cited in Bloomberg.

Companies such as Ntwrk are working to reach tech-savvy Gen Zers through shoppable streams on TikTok. Meanwhile, Facebook in May announced it would begin adding shoppable features to its live video capabilities on its core social network and Instagram. Amazon also offers shoppable features on its Amazon Live streaming platform. Once considered old stalwarts, shopping channels QVC and HSN are seeing more interest from stuck-at-home television viewers.

“The good news for us in a bad situation has been that people are at home and more engaged in both TV and spending time online,” Mike George, president and CEO of QVC owner Qurate, said on a panel earlier this year. “We think about various forms of livestream internet shopping … but all of them [are] growing at double-digit or even triple-digit rates.”

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