Like it or not, livestream shopping is making its way to the U.S. Watch out, QVC!
Two weeks ago, I wrote about TikTok’s U.S. expansion of its in-app ecommerce feature––TikTok Shop––which is attempting to channel China’s $400 billion livestream shopping industry stateside. While it hasn’t exactly taken off in other countries, the short-form video app is banking on the fact that Americans love purchasing items inside real-time videos. In doing so, it’s directly challenging major ecommerce platforms like Amazon.
However, it seems that Amazon may have a secret weapon, also known as Twitch, a gamer-centric streaming platform that gained mass popularity over the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Back in August 2021, Twitch launched a livestream shopping extravaganza called POG Picks (the “POG” refers to Twitch’s PogChamp, an emoji mostly used to celebrate streamers), which featured a mix of specific products selected by Amazon’s Brand Partnership Studio, influencers, and sponsored brands.
It sounds a bit silly (especially once you see PogChamp, a Komodo Dragon with its mouth open as if it were about to munch a double cheeseburger), but the event, which focused on back-to-school items, attracted over 1.4 million unique viewers and 7.2 million minutes watched.
According to Twitch, POG Picks has almost tripled its sponsorship revenue year-over-year. The company expects that the platform is on track to double the number of POG Picks shows it hosts in 2022.
Many of the products featured on POG Picks are linked directly to Amazon’s ecommerce store, but brands can also link directly to their online stores. Because Twitch allows brands to do so, advertisers own their customer data and direct customer relationship. In contrast, platforms with live shopping offerings like TikTok and Instagram maintain users inside a walled garden.
Twitch has already launched two POG Picks shows this season, with a third on the way––part of a global holiday trifecta.
On Nov. 8, Canadian streamers welcomed viewers to the “MultEHverse,” which featured a night of games, demonstrations, and product giveaways. Toronto-based creator Bobajenny hosted the festivities on her account, and was joined by various guest stars. Seventy thousand unique viewers attended, according to Twitch. Sponsors of the livestream included Samsung, Doritos, Chromebook, The Source and others.
Then, on Nov. 25, streamers based in the U.K and Germany participated in Twitch’s first social commerce event in Europe, which featured rounds of sponsor games such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. There were also unboxings of products like the Google Pixel 7.
Next up: the U.S., where POG Picks will appear on Dec.10 as a three-hour “Holiday Hive” stream made up of Spotlight products segments, ironic late-night infomercial demos (think QVC), and a “stream picks” shopping extension with clickable carousels chock full of ready-to-buy products.
“Each POG Picks show is custom designed to resonate with our community,” said Adam Harris, global head of Twitch’s Brand Partnership Studio, in a recent press release. statement. “We’ve seen tremendous growth from our POG Picks productions, and are continuing to experiment with new formats to make them more entertaining and interactive.”
While platforms like YouTube and TikTok follow through with their own holiday-season shopping streams and new shoppable products, Amazon may continue to lead the ecommerce wars with Twitch, offering brands creator-run gamified experiences to sell their products while allowing advertisers to collect user data.