About the author : Mike Dragan

Mike Dragan is the cofounder and COO of Oveit, a global company focusing on live experiences technology, both virtual and in-person. Oveit was started in 2016 with the goal of improving how brands deliver live experiences to their customers and now serves over 3000 customers across 4 continents. Mike has over 15 years building digital products, with a large experience in digital shopping. He has worked with some of the largest consumer brands in the world, advising on their digital go to market strategy. Mike holds two degrees, one in International Economics and one in Computer Science.

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Live Shopping Influencer

Retail is undergoing its biggest transformation in the past 80 years . So are the jobs in retail. We think the live shopping assistant is an amazing career to pursue if you are interested in the retail space. Here’s why:

Interactive kiosk or a Store Assistant?

Even prior to the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic the store assistant was not the job most people aimed for. With smartphone’s rise in popularity, store associates became less and less relevant, with consumer using digital tools to research answers to questions. In fact consumers reported they would rather use an interactive kiosk (28%) rather than ask a store associate (20%) to find information.

Retail hell book on Amazon.

Retail hell is (on) Amazon.

Things got so bad that retail workers used the term “Retail hell” to describe their day to day jobs. There’s an actual Reddit channel for this and a book titled “Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store” rated 4.3/5 stars. On Amazon. Oh the irony.

An excerpt from the book:

From Act I:

“I think you left these behind,” I said, handing them to her. This happens all the time when women try to return bags they’ve used. Tampons, lipstick, coins, Tic Tacs, and condoms are the top treasures found.

“Greasy” let out a sigh as if I were the problem. “I really don’t see what the problem is here. It’s none of your business what I keep in my handbag.”

It is when my commission is at stake! I’m not your Designer Handbag Rental Service! My name is not BagBorrowOrSteal.com!

Things got worse for the store associates during the Covid-19 outbreak 

Things didn’t get better. In fact, they got worse during the Covid-19 outbreak. Over 1.9 million retail workers were laid off during the outbreak, with 800 000 being permanently laid off. This were just the numbers in the US. Globally, the numbers are event bigger.

By July 2020, more than 15 000 stores were closing in US. By October 2020 that number rose to approximately 30 000, more than the total number of store closures in the past 5 years, combined.

Number of closed stores in US in 2020

Over 30 000 stores closed in 2020 in the US. Source.

But then, as most brick and mortar stores were struggling  to switch to ecommerce, some things became apparent. These things were a. Ecommerce platforms such as Shopify and Amazon were banking real good money and b. Some store experiences can’t really be translated into the traditional, photos + text format.

So, combining live video, which many of us were already using to see loved ones and connect with colleagues, with shopping checkout options, a new tool emerged: the live shopping phenomenon.

And with it, a new job:

The live shopping assistant is transforming retail in 2021

The live shopping trend started off on social media, where Millennials and Gen Z’s were already starting their purchase journeys  . The trend of live shopping started in China, where the ecommerce penetration was large and innovation tended to blend social and ecommerce into a new breed of commerce.

Influencers such as Vyia and Li Jiaqi were already selling hundreds of millions of dollars of merchandise in just one day. Kim Kardashian herself took to the Chinese online malls to sell her products through live shopping and created a blast:

Now the trend is spreading in the western world with influencers and stars at the forefront. But two things that make live shopping work is authenticity and trust. Some of the future influencers in this space are among the store associates that lived through an awful 2020. They are knowledgeable, sociable and really know the products that they are selling. Unlike your usual Instagram influencer, the live shopping assistant understands how to present a product in a way that will lead to sales.

In the future we will see live shopping assistants or live shopping influencers that will transform how we think of the retail jobs. Just like Vyia and Li Jiaqi, we will see retail super stars in other parts of the world.

We think this is a total transformation of the retail industry, lead by a new generation of consumers and a new way of selling, trough live shopping influencers and live shopping assistants. We will see Hollywood-level and NBA-level stars in the retail space, a trend that will reshape our economy and society from multiple angles.

 

About the author : Mike Dragan

Mike Dragan is the cofounder and COO of Oveit, a global company focusing on live experiences technology, both virtual and in-person. Oveit was started in 2016 with the goal of improving how brands deliver live experiences to their customers and now serves over 3000 customers across 4 continents. Mike has over 15 years building digital products, with a large experience in digital shopping. He has worked with some of the largest consumer brands in the world, advising on their digital go to market strategy. Mike holds two degrees, one in International Economics and one in Computer Science.

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