With its turnaround firmly on track, Marks & Spencer has moved into the live shopping space that could see its appeal to a younger demographic rising dramatically. Thought to be a first for a major UK retailer, M&S has launched a live shopping service that will use influencers to model pieces over a live video stream. The service, facilitated by M&S software partner LiSA, allows any of the 13.5mn customers that visit marksandspencer.com each week to join a live broadcast. Hosted by an M&S expert, they can hear more about the ranges they’re browsing, ask questions through the live chat function, view product demonstrations, and importantly, buy the products as they watch. M&S said it hoped to make the service “more relevant, more often” with shoppers. And the new feature will be key in promoting its widening stable of fashion brands. M&S’s entry into the live shopping space is part of a wider plan to sell more clothes online and attract younger shoppers after its reported success selling fashion during the Christmas period. The move is also expected to attract more visits to its website.
While livestream shopping is still in its infancy in the UK, the format is projected to be worth $480bn in China this year, according eMarketer, and $11bn in the US, according to Foresight Research. However, with tech giants Facebook, Amazon, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest all entering the livestream shopping arena, the sector’s appeal should rocket. According to research by McKinsey, it will account for between 10% and 20% of online shopping worldwide by 2026. In the UK, live shopping took off on TikTok late last year with retailers using it to sell Black Friday deals by connecting with the social media app’s mostly teenage audience.