As direct shopping gains momentum in the United States, independent beauty brands DTC continue to embrace the sales model.
This week, live streaming platform Buy LIT direct expands its brand list to include skin care brands Covey and Joanna Vargas, who are both hosting their first purchasable livestreams this week. They are joining a number of digital-native American beauty brands and retailers experimenting with live shopping in hopes of seeing the format take off as it has in Asia.
“We want to be in the most innovative marketing channels,” said Nell Brown, Director of Growth at Covey. “Live overseas broadcasting is so lucrative and successful that I have no doubts about its potential in the United States. Our strategy will be to continuously test and iterate.
Beauty has been a category of choice for the booming live shopping market in the United States
“From the start, our platform focused on skin care and beauty,” said Toby Zhang, founder of Shop LIT Live. He noted that most beauty brands expressing interest in the app have “already had some sort of exposure. [to livestreaming] or are aware of what live shopping is, which makes the conversation quite fluid.
Covey hosted her first livestream shopping on July 20 with co-founder and model Emily DiDonato, who promoted the event online to her 2.2 million Instagram followers. While the brand had been active with traditional Instagram Lives, this was its first event with commercial ties. In the livestream, DiDonato featured a skin care routine demo, giving viewers a 20% discount. Her second livestream in August will feature brand co-founder Christina Garcia, a former Google executive, sharing the brand’s founding story.
Covey and Joanna Vargas join a list of 300 brand partners who have sold on the platform either through the brand’s live broadcasts or through the app’s 100+ influencers.
Founded by Zhang, one of TikTok’s early investors in 2017, Shop LIT Live received a $ 6 million funding round led by CRCM Ventures in April 2021. It currently has just under 100,000 monthly active users, over 10,000 weekly active users and “thousands” of daily active users. users, said Zhang. The number of monthly users is increasing by 40%, he said. The platform is currently 70% female, mostly from the Millennial and Gen Z demographics and described by Zhang as “mobile-friendly” customers.
Shop LIT’s successful live streaming formats include exclusive promotions, product launch announcements and seasonal sales, Zhang said. The platform is integrated with Shopify and can be accessed through the Shopify app store to list products. Each in-app purchase is made by the individual participating brand. While the app generates revenue through affiliate links promoted in live streams hosted by influencers, the “primary business model” is now focused on brand partners, Zhang said. The platform generates between 10 and 15% of the revenue for each item sold.
User growth is driven by social promotions on other platforms, and is especially useful when top public influencers promote their upcoming LIT Shop livestreams on their Instagram accounts, Zhang said. The app also has a special Reward Center that awards “coins” to users for inviting friends to join the app, write a review, or follow it on Instagram. The coins can then be used to make purchases.
A public founder with a large following is ready for the success of the live broadcast.
“It’s definitely one of our advantages that with Emily we have a model ready to shoot at all times,” Brown said.
Shop LIT has added more features over the past few months, including custom homepage views based on user interests, branded accounts, and its integration with Shopify. It also plans to roll out a desktop version in the coming weeks.
In-app payment is a particularly useful feature for Shop Lit at a time when everyone has little patience and high standards for payment, Brown said. She said that, compared to Instagram’s shopping features, Shop LIT allows the brand to reach a user base with “higher purchase intent.”
As live shopping took off during the pandemic, apps like Shop LIT are betting on its long-term potential. “If the pandemic ends tomorrow and everyone returns to normal, they become more and more comfortable with where things are at,” Zhang said.