Embrace Livestream Video or Risk Falling Behind, Qurate Retail vCommerce Leader Tells Retail Peers
August 9, 2022: Livestream video shopping is the future of retail, and every player in the industry must move quickly to understand and adopt this rapidly expanding channel, said Brian Beitler, SVP New Business Development of vCommerce Ventures, a new business unit designed to accelerate Qurate Retail Group’s ownership of digital live streaming shopping.
“If you’re sitting around a table right now, saying, ‘Do you think we should livestream?’, you might not be here in 10 years,” he said in his opening keynote at CommerceNext 2022: Seizing the Next Wave of Growth. The event brought together more than 1,000 digital retail innovators recently in New York City. “It’s not a conversation, it’s a reality. It’s the future way consumers are going to expect to shop. Younger generations are being raised on live and on-demand video interactions.”
As Brian explained, video commerce (“vCommerce”) restores a key aspect of the shopping experience that has been lost in recent years: human connections. Ever since the first corner stores emerged in small town America, shoppers have craved inspiration from other people. Back then, people enjoyed getting to know their local shopkeeper, or learning about a product from an expert, or gathering tips on life’s challenges from someone they trusted.
Today, this basic human desire for connection is still there, Brian said. But with the rise of ecommerce and big-box discounters, many shopping experiences have become colder, less personal and more isolating. vCommerce offers a solution, rooted in the communication technologies and habits of the 21st century. This new sales channel uses video-driven shopping across linear TV, ecommerce, digital streaming and social pages to bring the people and stories behind products and brands to millions of consumers who care about what they buy and why they’re buying it.
“What was true in the beginning of retail is about to be true again,” Brian said. “We think that retail will be driven from live and live-like video experiences, because in that mode you can see and connect and feel emotion in a way that you just can’t on flat, static, product detail pages (or in a huge discount store).”
As an example, Brian shared a conversation he kept having with Qurate Retail Group customers shortly after he joined the company. They kept bringing up QVC’s David Venable, host of QVC’s most popular show, “In the Kitchen With David.”
“Customers were sure that David would be their best friend if he lived next door to them,” Brian said. “I heard that first from one customer, then two, then 10, then 20 – and I said to myself, ‘Who is this guy? I have to meet David.’ David has a way of telling stories on live video that makes millions of our customers feel like he’s their best advisor. You can do this too, and it’s going to change your customer relationships.”
For newcomers to the vCommerce space, Brian suggested getting a guide. The opportunities are simply too large to be ignored.
“The reality is, there’s growth ahead in vCommerce and it’s going to come fast and it’s going to come hard,” Brian said. “The winners, like those in e-commerce, will be those companies that get in early, that hone their skills, that figure out what their customer value proposition needs to be in this marketplace, and that find the right personalities, talent, hosts and storytellers to be a part of this growing space.”
QVC and HSN are the world leaders in vCommerce. The brands form a global media powerhouse and the original marriage of shopping and entertainment. QVC and HSN pioneered vCommerce on TV about 40 years ago and have expanded their vCommerce experiences to digital platforms as new technologies have emerged. Today, QVC and HSN reach more than 200 million homes worldwide through 14 channels and reach millions more via digital platforms, delivering nearly 130 hours a day of live enriching live stream video shopping content that inspires and helps build and grow brands. QVC and HSN have unparalleled viewership and transactional intensity, with more than 66 billion minutes viewed each year on our U.S. broadcast channels and approximately 166 million units purchased and shipped.
Watch Brian’s full keynote address here. Additionally, while at the conference, Brian joined the “Conversations with CommerceNext” podcast with host Michael LeBlanc to discuss insights from QVC and HSN’s decades of livestreaming retail experience. Listen to the full episode here.