"Shopstreaming gives a glimpse into the future"
How do you introduce a new market prospect to your target group? You want to show it off, allow people to experience it! That requires a considerable investment, one which cannot always be quickly recouped. This is precisely why the municipality of Breda has established the Applied Technology & Creativity Subsidy (TTC). This subsidy enables your company to demonstrate your new market opportunity in Breda, which social challenge you will address, or what makes your idea future-fit in Breda. Your plan, developed with the help of the municipality, to enhance Breda. Win-win collaboration, right? Shopstreaming in practice Handpicked Agencies is a prime example of a visionary company that has benefited from the TTC subsidy. Their vision of future shopping needed elaboration in the form of an exemplary event. A challenging process with an associated investment. The TTC Grant gave them the opportunity to enhance the visibility of their concept: a clear illustration of how the application of new technology and creativity can result in a concrete result.
About Handpicked Agencies
Sjoerd van Oosten is co-owner of Handpicked Agencies; a club of innovative companies, each with their own discipline in the field of tech and media. Handpicked Agencies forms the link between the various labels. In order to be able to serve the customer optimally, here teams are formed for every customer enquiry.
In the office of Handpicked Agencies, close to Breda’s city center, I discuss with Sjoerd about Shopstreaming in practice and the latest result from his innovation lab, where vision is converted into concrete ideas.
What is live shopstreaming?
"Shopstreaming is live streaming merged with e-commerce. It is an interactive way of home shopping where you can ask real-time questions about products at an arranged time: A real-life shopping experience on your own device from any location.
I saw this concept expand in China and thought ‘this is the future, we have to do something with this.’ In Asia, people are much more advanced in online development and there is a huge selfie culture. So, the question was how to translate this concept into something appealing for the ‘no-nonsense’ Dutch audience."
What was your biggest challenge in this project?
"The challenge was mainly to create a demand and bring it into the public eye; how do we adjust a Chinese trend to conform to a European approach? The lack of customer confidence in the product is an issue with today's online shopping. You miss the physical shopping experience in which you see the product and can ask specific questions about it. Live shopstreaming fulfills that need. It is the future of online shopping, but how do you create a demand for it?
Eventually, this new way of home shopping will be facilitated through the major social platforms, but that isn’t the case yet. To provide insight into the possibilities, I wanted to make a prototype of how shopstreaming works in practice. To do that well requires a considerable investment in time and people. I therefore decided to apply for a subsidy from the Municipality of Breda, which gave me the great opportunity to build a tangible case with a clear value proposition: in order to offer the best customer experience."
That does indeed sound like a great opportunity. Who all participated in this?
"One of our labels, Bluebird Day, specializes in e-commerce optimization. Together we set up a plan. Since we strongly believe in using everyone’s own talent and strength, we asked a partner for the streaming part, GIG Live Streaming Solutions. We then looked for a customer who was interested in participating. That was JohnBeerens.com; a large beauty webshop with a wide range of (high-end) brands in the field of hair, skin, and make-up. Their online service is already advanced, and they wanted to join in a live shopping event."
How did the project go?
"When the team was complete, we made a ‘proof of concept’ and tested it a number of times. There were some technical challenges related to streaming. Video equipment is not outfitted for vertical recording and forwarding of video. However, this is essential in the current mobile-first setting of our target group.
We opted for a multi-camera setup, which we felt appropriate for a European audience, with a tight program, for a professional look.
To give an example; during the hairstyling workshop a curling iron was used. This particular curling iron came into view during the workshop at the bottom of the video to be able to put it directly into your shopping cart. Through the chat you could ask live questions about the specifications of the curling iron and an influencer shared her tips. In this way, we created interaction and added value for the target group. After all, you could see live how the product works, ask your own questions, and buy the product right away. From your own location, via your own device. In the end, the event reached more than 500 regular customers of JohnBeerens.com and inspired countless beauty lovers! Super cool to see your idea work so successfully in practice!"
What has this project brought you as partners and for Breda in a broader sense?
"The collaboration between Bluebird Day and GIG was very good. After the event, an agreement was therefore worked out by these parties. There is now a reusable custom shopstreaming platform. Together they bridge the gap for entrepreneurs between their webshop and physical store, to let their target group make online purchases with confidence. Bluebird Day and GIG present the findings and results of this pilot on various platforms such as ACT Now in Breda, where entrepreneurs, managers and professionals share their insights and inspire each other. We are thus happy to share our knowledge and insights with other entrepreneurs in Breda."
Do you have a tip for other entrepreneurs?
"Gather talent around you. You don't have to be able to do everything yourself. Dare to connect with others and form the best team to achieve results. Together you are always stronger."