Social Commerce

Hey Party People – Shopping Parties are in Da House

Great post by venture capitalist MD Jeremy Liew of Lightspeed, picked up by the ever-insightful Jason Soo and Jochen Krisch, confirming a prediction about the future of social commerce has come to pass; the rebirth of the shopping party.

Yep, it’s Avon parties reconfigured, re-branded and teched-up for the party generation.  Forget Tupperware, we’re talking fashion and jewellery – direct sales style – from the likes of MarkThirty One GiftsStella and Dot,  Gigi HillMiche Bags and of course Chloe and Isabel with their recent $8.5m round of investment.  The goal is to make direct sales hip, fashionable and to profit from technology – iPads as sales aids and interactive catalogues, iPhones that take credit card payments, plus really simple CRM and inventory management.  And not forgetting to profit from the sales skills of all those smart young pro-moms taking a career break for their sprogs. You get the picture.  It help explains why Coty’s uninvited $10bn bid for the 126 Grand Dame of direct sales Avon.

A priori, we like the Shopping Party model – especially for a demographic that likes parties and shopping. In a previous pre-social media life, we were (and still are) very bullish about traditional word of mouth marketing, and we even wrote a book about it.  And one of the smartest word of mouth companies at the time was the Australian Word of Mouth Company, made up of buzz agents who’d throw parties to demo – and sell – new products. Simple and smart.

So what do you think of Shopping Parties? Will technology and rebranding re-launch an old model, taking the best of keep-what-you-want-return-the-rest subscription commerce (the other ‘It girl’ in digital retail right now) – and make it social by turning the subscriber base into a field force of sales agents ready and primed work? What do you think?

Chartered psychologist specialising in consumer behaviour, wellbeing and technology. Certified CX professional experienced in Design Thinking. A researcher, writer and speaker, Paul is head of Digital Insight at SYZYGY.

3 Comments Add New Comment

  1. What’s old is new Paul. Direct selling works. Avon is just one great example of that. Remove the geographic shackles of having to host the parties and replace it with the social web and suddenly you have friends (and their friends) from across the country able to attend the “party” and you don’t even have to make the appetizers.

    Brands can so easily scale a virtual direct sales force right now when they combine cool products, great incentives to sell and a seamless sharing experience. We at Tipspring have placed a big bet on this being what social commerce becomes. Great post.

  2. I am a Miche rep, and online party sales are a sure bet! I haven’t had the opportunity to benefit strictly from an online party, but others have. Party hosts complain about their guest showing up. This way, guest can attend the party without having to stop their daily routines and the party host can benefit from those sales. This is also the time to call all those friends and family members that are out of town. They can help the host get credit for sales that could bring them to the next level of rewards.

  3. Shopping parties are great. Never really went out of style. Advantage now is that you can have a real one at your home, and have people from all over log in and read and tweet/post about it too. Works great for wine tastings. Some people buy wine on their own and chat about their tasting with the folks at the party itself. Great way to build a list.

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