Retail giant Walmart aims to leverage livestream video to create “shoppable” visual content under a partnership with immersive video specialist Firework.
Plans call for Walmart Connect, a closed-loop omnichannel media business of Walmart, to bring short-form, social media-style videos with direct shopping functionality to its digital properties and make them available to advertisers, San Mateo, Calif.-based Firework said Tuesday.
The livestream video program is slated to launch this month. A retail media platform, Walmart Connect links advertisers with Walmart customers shopping online, in-store or off-site and provides visibility into campaign performance for brick-and-mortar and digital sales.
“Video and livestream commerce truly works when you put the customer at the center of the experience — and that's what we're doing here,” according to Rich Lehrfeld, senior vice president and general manager for Walmart Connect. “Our partnership with Firework further underscores how Walmart Connect is committed to evolving our business and expanding our offerings to actively stay ahead of what advertisers need. We’re proud to be able to serve Walmart customers with engaging experiences in the places they already love to shop.”
Firework noted that, through the partnership, Walmart Connect will support the entire customer journey by blending shopping steps from product discovery to the final purchase into one immersive experience. The premium video commerce experience also will provide an insight-rich environment for Walmart Connect and advertisers as well as the capacity for organic community growth outside social networks.
Walmart Connect piloted Firework’s solution last week in launching a live shopping experience for Walmart’s Mega Beauty Event with brand partners Johnson & Johnson, L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. Running Sept. 13 to 16, the event featured four livestreams and plus replays and shoppable videos for the showcased products, Firework reported.
“Walmart Connect has created an omnichannel ecosystem based on customer centricity, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with them to power livestream and premium shoppable video experiences on their site,” commented Jason Holland, chief business officer at Firework. “We’ll not only make shoppable and livestream video more deeply embedded in their omnichannel approach, we’ll also provide a commerce media experience for their customers in-store and across the web.”
Firework’s platform enables users to create, host and curate short-form and livestream video on any website — in turn, allowing any retailer, direct-to-consumer brand, media publisher or business to own, engage and monetize a community around short-form video, the company said. The “swipeable” interactive technology lets consumers engage directly with brand and product videos, while on-site hosting gives businesses direct access to consumer data and monetization opportunities from the shoppable video content. Retailers, too, can sell “digital shelf space” — in the form of video ads — to brands that they carry.
Other grocery retailers employing Firework’s so-called “shoppertainment” technology include Albertsons Cos. and The Fresh Market. Firework has said that its short-form, shoppable videos generate 30% add-to-cart rates, compared with an industry standard of less than 8%, and live shopping on a website boosts purchase completion fourfold.
Retailers have increasing sought to boost customer engagement via digital channels — especially through video — to drive shopper interest and purchases. Citing research from eMarketer, Firework noted that U.S. retail e-commerce sales jumped over 36% in 2020 and have continued to grow, projected to top the $1 trillion mark in 2022. The technology firm added that consumers who turned to online shopping during the pandemic are still doing so, and live shopping trends popular in Asian markets are gaining traction in the United States as short-form video becomes part of the shopping continuum.