Special Report: Brand Livestream

Kevin Best, Contributing Editor, BrandStorytelling.tv


Highlighting Impactful Live Streaming

Walmart’s live Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular on TikTok

Celebrity/Influencer: Michael Le

Brand: Walmart

Platform: TikTok

Date: December 18

Walmart recently partnered with TikTok in a high-profile experiment to court younger customers with livestream shopping. While the two companies might seem like an odd pairing at first, Walmart has been an active brand on TikTok for over a year, with 536.5k followers. Walmart even had expressed interest in potentially investing in TikTok back in September, when the social platform was being threatened with being banned in the US unless it was bought by a US company.

The event, titled the Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular, aimed to have TikTok influencers livestream clothing items from Walmart, which customers were able to then purchase by tapping a “buy now” button without having to leave the TikTok app. For those who wanted to wait and see everything that was available before clicking buy, there was also the option to look back on all of the items featured after the event concluded. The hour-long show featured rising TikTok stars as well as established dancer Michael Le, who boasts 43.5 million followers on the app. Influencers showed off Walmart clothing items in their own closets, and performed fashion shows in their living rooms.

Walmart has clearly seen a valuable opportunity to connect with younger customers through the app. Even though there is a physical Walmart location within 10 miles for 90% of Americans, the retail giant is still obviously willing to try new things to compete digitally with Amazon. And there is quite a mountain to climb on that front: Amazon.com had more visits in March of this year than Walmart, Ebay, and Apple’s websites combined.

This was also somewhat of a test for TikTok, which has been slowly expanding into a live shopping app. Last year TikTok ran the Hashtag Challenge Plus, which allowed customers to click on hashtags to purchase products without leaving the platform. They have recently partnered with Levis, and also the livestream shopping site Shopify. TikTok has been smart to realize that not only does their audience want to watch influencer content, they also want to shop.

Livestream shopping has been a billion dollar industry in China for a while now, but it will be interesting to see if TikTok can make it more popular with both US brands and their consumers. While ads on Facebook and Instagram have seemingly become less and less effective, branded content on social apps like TikTok seems to be gaining traction more and more.


Recent Live Streams from Top Brands

Brand: Talkshoplive

Event: Celebrities using Talkshoplive to sell memoirs and music

Platform: Zoom

Time: Ongoing

Several celebrities that you wouldn’t normally expect to see on a “shopping network” have recently been selling products through Talkshoplive. The “always live” retail shop was launched in 2018, and has been gaining steam with celebs looking to connect with their fans as they launch new memoirs and music albums. The site has clickable tabs to the right of the live video that allow customers to purchase the products being offered, along with a live-scrolling chat section that the hosts can read and respond to. Matthew McConaughey sat down to promote his new memoir Greenlights for over an hour, while also offering merchandise like hats and shirts. Garth Brooks also recently performed some songs live to promote his latest album, and Alicia Keys, Julie Andrews and Paul McCartney have also enjoyed the flexibility of the live streaming shopping platform. Talkshoplive earns a commission on every sale that is made through their site, and unsurprisingly business has been good this year… their book sales have reportedly grown over 800 percent since quarantine began in March.

Brand: T-Mobile

Event: T-Mobile Presents New Year's Eve Live with Justin Bieber

Platform: T-Mobile

Time: December 31

T-Mobile is partnering with Justin Bieber to help fans ring in the new year with Bieber’s first full concert performance since his 2017 tour. Tickets are $25, but the show will be free to watch for T-Mobile customers through the T-Mobile Tuesdays app and website. The concert starts at 10:15 EST, and will be performed at an “iconic location” that seemingly won’t be revealed until the show begins. For those in other time zones around the world, there will be two re-airings the next day on January 1st. T-mobile also partnered with Bieber a month ago for his performance at the American Music Awards. Bieber has had three recent singles topping the charts, and is still the #1 musician on YouTube with his channel having just under 60 million subscribers.