A weekly podcast with the latest e-commerce news and events. Episode 311 is an interview with Brian Beitler, former CMO at Qurate and current General Manager of Live Shop Ventures
Brian Beitler is the Founder and General Manager of Live Shop Ventures, a video commerce initiative within the Qurate Retail Group, which is the parent company of HSN and QVC. Brian has also served as the CMO of Qurate Retail Group, in addition to many other interesting marketing roles in the retail world.
We met Brian at Etail Boston and arranged this interview. We cover video commerce, differences in adoption between Western and Eastern Markets. The role of livestreaming, and the benefits of being a “commerce platform with video” vs. “a video platform with commerce.” We also explore the origin on Live ShopVentures, it’s first video marketplace on a mobile app, Sune, and the benefits on incubating a start-up within an established company.
Don’t forget to like our facebook page, and if you enjoyed this episode please write us a review on itunes.
Episode 311 of the Jason & Scot show was recorded on Thursday, August 31th.
[0:23] Welcome to the Jason and Scot show this is episode 311 being recorded on Thursday August 31st 2023 I’m your host Jason retailgeek Goldberg and as usual I’m here with your co-host Scot Wingo.
[0:39] Hey Jason and welcome back Jason and Scot show listeners Jason as you know one of the most common questions we get from our huge listing audience is about live streaming with e-commerce is it a big deal why is it seem to be growing faster in the East versus the west and how important is it to live live streaming so we thought we’d get a expert on the show as a guest that could help unpack that for us all and you better than someone who’s LED marketing for numerous historic Brands and served as the CMO for the mother of all video shopping sites QVC / HSN and so that’s exactly who we found, we’re excited to welcome to the show Brian beitler he is the founder of mobile V Commerce app called soon and the general manager of live shop venters both part of the Keurig group.
And I’m not sure Jason but that’s a lot of words in the title but I think it’s maybe half of the words in your title but welcome to the show Brian we’re excited to have you.
[1:36] Grateful to be here and I’ll work on trying to lengthen the title so I can keep up with Jason.
[1:41] Set your set your goals higher Brian.
[1:43] Thank you for having me.
[1:48] Brian we are thrilled to have you and as our listeners will quickly figure out and we are eager to jump into all this video Commerce stuff but before we do we always like to give the listeners a little bit of perspective about our guests background and where they’re coming from and in your case it’s a super impressive retail / consumer background so can you can you give us the version that your mom would share with her friends in the elevator.
[2:15] Happy to do so so I’ll back up a decade or two but I started well where I consider I started my career was at Mattel that huge toy conglomerate in fact they’re very popular right now coming off of a I think a major hit movie.
It’s doing very well.
Yes I think so has the rest of the world at this point but I started my career there and fell in love with the toy industry and thought that’s where I would really spend.
My entire career when I left Mattel.
In the early 2000s I at the time was leading the core part of the Hot Wheels brand a dream job as a father and a former young boy.
[2:56] But I thought I would give myself a taste of retail in the toy industry so I actually left metallic thought I would spend a couple of years on the retail side working with it.
A brand I knew we all knew and loved at some point in our childhood called Toys R Us and truthfully I the reason I’m here today is I fell in love with retail there, and what was different for me about retail versus consumer packaged Goods was just the speed of retail it felt like it moved at light speed compared to kind of course EPG brand management, and you know I often tell the story you know working in those days to change you know the package on a five car pack took a couple of years to get it to Market and.
I joined Toys R Us and we had this idea to launch a birthday club and.
At the time I went to the CEO of the company John I learned and it was how quickly could you get it in Market could you do it in a couple of months.
And that and I was often running and in love with retail and so spent a couple of years there and then just continued to be given these remarkable opportunities to work with, really amazing Brands and helping them reshape their narratives with their consumers or and or finding new Pathways new emerging ways, I could grow I was you know there at Bath and Body Works when we launched e-commerce we redesigned the site as a marketing site decided oh we might be able to sell something.
Through here and that’s been my journey so from from Bath and Body Works to Kohl’s department store.
[4:24] Then my hand in the bridal industry and private Equity with David’s Bridal and then women’s apparel and you know fast forward.
A few few years and here I am at curate Retail Group.
Working in what I think is an exciting future for digital Commerce.
[4:42] All of those roles you know usually leading the marketing you know the marketing or e-commerce function for those various Brands and learning a lot making a lot of mistakes a lot of mistakes I’m getting a few things right every now and then, and you know kind of Landing in a pretty exciting place here at grea where we think we’re going to do something you know again interesting a new in the digital space.
[5:04] Yeah and a couple of fun facts brand you’ve LED marketing for for a bunch of those Brands you just mentioned and while you were doing that I was nominally helpful in building a bunch of the the backend e-commerce functionality for those same Brands and so I think without knowing it you’ve hated me your entire life for all the the features you wanted and didn’t get or the the the pace of evolution so I just wanted to apologize publicly for all of that.
[5:34] I appreciate that.
[5:35] But one of the things I particularly love about your career is is I have this theory that, you know though all of retailers has been profoundly disrupted by digital but not all at the same time and so there were there are industries that are disrupted a long time ago and there’s you know if you’re a grocer or a car dealer you’re probably getting disrupted you know right now and I feel like you serendipitously or maybe intentionally have have been in a bunch of Industries.
Right at the peak of their disruption so your Toys R Us when when shopping online became a thing and then urine Beauty when that became a thing and then you are you are in the the the heat of the the apparel Wars online and now you’re you’re squarely in the v Commerce space and it’s you know one of the things we talked about the most on the show so whether you did that on purpose or not congratulations on on surfing that digital disruption wave.
[6:32] No I appreciate that I think much much of it was serendipitous I would say that the pieces that probably weren’t was my desire to always work for, brands that were leaders in their respective category or industry and as I look back and reflect that’s probably one of the things that has been the most rewarding and probably given me the best.
Growth is being able to work with you know brands that were at the Forefront Mattel at the time was the leader in in toy manufacturing still still are.
Toys R Us at the time was the leader in toy retail Bath & Body Works was the largest kind of.
Bath & Body brand at the time Cole’s was it was a chaser of you know kind of the discount Department space and ran past JCPenney’s and Sears and its competitors and so that for me has been exciting because you know I think being with those who build powerful platforms, let you learn from the best and you know here I said today with curate retailgeek which owns QVC and HSN.
You know the largest livestream platform on the globe by far the industry, leader having changed the landscape of how you could use television to shop you know some 35 years ago and continued it for nearly four decades now so that part of trying to work with brands that, I felt were really leaders in their space because I thought it would be a great place for me to learn has certainly been intentional and then this digital Crossroad just happened to kind of line up and almost all of those places at the time I was there.
[7:56] That is awesome and today I sort of perceive you you are on the Leading Edge of the curate retailgeek Roop with your current responsibilities and I definitely want to talk about those but if I have the story right before you took on your current role you also had broader marketing responsibilities for the core QVC HSN Brands is that.
[8:19] I did I did that’s that’s right I joined you know curate retailgeek rupe.
And 20/20 is the chief marketing officer for QVC and HSN are two largest video Commerce businesses, at the time and you know fast forward we obviously are in the midst of those businesses are in their own form of transformation and disruption right for.
In some ways you know you talk about a Crossroads, ask for businesses you know having come through retail when e-commerce was exploding and and Retail foot traffic was being affected as people.
Spent more time online and less time in stores if you look at where accurate retailgeek Roop you know is today right streaming has remade the way we View television and so we’ve had to remake our business, there as well primary our audience used to be almost entirely on.
[9:07] You know on cable or we reach over 100 million households in the US we used to reach all of those almost on cable and over the last several years is as people have migrated from cable to streaming services we’ve migrated our business we still reach 100 million households, but today we reach many of those through streaming services because they don’t have cable subscriptions any longer and so, you know joining another business who was in the midst of transformation again was was somewhat serendipitous I was excited about the future video and video Commerce had use that, extensively at kind of my two preceding roles and so part of the excitement of joining curate was joining someone who is at The Cutting Edge of this but to your point that’s been migrating, and then as we look at the future we said Gee what places do we really own, from an e-commerce perspective and we own the 10 foot screen the screen that you see in front of you from a living room perspective.
[9:58] We do really well on the laptop you know the desktop for for e-commerce shopping like most traditional e-commerce retailers but as we thought about the small screen that wasn’t a place where we had really built, for the future yet we thought were really well positioned we could certainly see what was happening in in Asia and the explosion of Live And mobile driven Commerce.
And realize that that was going to happen here in the west as well.
And felt like we were in a position to innovate around that but we needed to put some real Focus around that so you know about a year ago I stepped out of my role as Chief marketing officer of QVC nhsn, to build live shop Ventures and ultimately to launch the soon platform that we’re going to talk about today.
[10:42] Amazing and and I for sure I’m going to get into that but I did think you could help us clear up a few just basic questions about the industry first a I now have some some Envy because your TV is 10 feet at home I’m kind of jealous but the.
You you call that V Commerce and I’m just curious like I hear all these different phrases all the time I hear people kind of talk about live streaming when they they don’t necessarily mean live and video like is there a preferred label that you guys like to kind of describe this, this industry.
[11:18] For sure we love the V e-commerce label in fact we think V Commerce will be the new e-commerce and what we mean by that largely is that, more and more consumers shopping experiences will be driven by video in fact if you look at today’s youngest consumer right gen Z or the Next Generation Rising almost all of their Discovery happens in a video experience.
If you think about it and it could come from one of the well-known video players right who’s in this space Instagram which has become largely video Tick-Tock who obviously has led the way there YouTube.
All of these places if I think about and I have so fun fact I have six kids, the youngest is squarely gen Z 12 years old the oldest is Millennial 29 years old and I watched their journey and most of their Discovery right the new trip they’re going to take.
The next meal they’re going to make the next product they’re going to buy the next television show they’re going to watch is all coming through their video feed.
Yet in the e-commerce space we’re still largely dependent upon static images and or in the physical space on boxes and shelf talkers and that’s just not the way that the rising generation discovers.
[12:34] Yep ingredient it’s interesting you have a built-in test bed is that was that part of your strategy.
[12:40] I think that that if.
[12:42] We need more kids I need to get another generation.
[12:44] If you went back in math my career I did a pretty good job landing at the right Brands and price basis for my for my kids ages the only one they might say I got wrong was the bridal industry I was a bit premature on the bridal industry, but but you know as I look back so we do we talk a lot about be Commerce and that for us means live it also means pre-recorded, right it can mean you know things that are that are behind the scenes it’s anything that really leverages video to help tell the product and Brand Story to a consumer in a way that helps them make better decisions and get to yes faster.
That’s where we see the Innovation going that’s where we see all brands needing to play we think it will look different in the west than it looks in the east.
And that’s because different consumers and different markets and different level of kind of retail development but we think it’ll be globally relevant over the course of the next you know five to ten years.
[13:37] Brickell as the entrepreneur host on the program Jason’s a big company guy he’s a you can tell by his title.
He’s corporate drone and he doesn’t know who he works for half the time over there there’s like he’s like I think I have a boss but I don’t know I don’t know who approves my expense report Seymour, that’s how big is a company and you know one of my favorite books is the innovators dilemma where and I’m sure you’re familiar with it where you know most companies like tear you they were super Innovative and really did a ton in the category and you know a lot of them don’t make it it’s interesting to me that you’re now working for a company that you know obviously.
Is working to not get caught in that in most companies don’t kind of sounds like and I may be reading too much in this you you either put your hand up and said I want to do this or they said we need someone to incubate this and you volunteered I’d love to hear the story of how your kind of like starting this company inside of a bigger company that that’s interact to excuse you know the extent you can share our what you want to do that that’s always interesting to hear because a lot of a lot of big companies don’t do that.
[14:39] No I appreciate that you know we feel, you know we I feel honored to kind of be in an organization and part of a company that’s trying to lead that way Forbes just named, secure it retail one of the you know the country’s top three hundred Innovative companies right so we’re recognized for having thought about this space and we’ve innovated over the course of the last, 35 plus years if you were to look at what QVC nhsn looked like 30 years ago they look very different than what you see today both in the way that we reach interact with customers and so you know the story here you know I’ll keep it relatively 34 for time sake but we were looking at you know the future of curate and looking for where we think, you know girls could come from I was obviously looking at that in my core role as Chief marketing officer I let our you know our insights and analytics team and we were looking at the consumer and we’re looking at the businesses and the ages of and cohorts of consumers where we did really well and where we felt like, there was opportunity for us and one of those that was clear was we had an opportunity with the younger consumer and unlike many many brands that will often make the decision to go how do we stretch our brand younger it’s one of the hardest things to do our view was to say.
[15:49] We have a core customer we love our QVC and HSN customers 50-plus their affluent they have disposable income they love to engage with us and Us in this way as we think there is, potential for growth with still the 50-plus customer we have plenty of, consumers who can discover our experience who aren’t you a shopping there and we think can fall in love with it but we did recognize hey there’s a there’s a rising generation that’s that’s embedded and videos embedded in the way that they operate, why aren’t we doing anything there so I did raise my hand and talked a lot about you know that consumer and about the power of video and our expertise and, you know that with.
David Robinson who was a new CEO Who had who had joined us in you know late 21 had a knife or for growth and an eye for the digital landscape and.
You know started he started to think about where our future would would would lead and he knocked on my door.
[16:45] Early and 22 and and we started to talk about what the future could be and how we might do that and decided he decided to establish the e-commerce Ventures is a new unit inside the organization and I join that team to help, you know lead a component of our Innovative future and so it does take having.
A CEO that’s got a mind for Innovation and you know the ability to say we’re going to make the investment necessary to do that so.
You know this isn’t one of those I feel you know grateful for the fact that I get to work in this call it an intrapreneur setting.
We’re not chasing you no seed series a series B series C where we’re going as a company we believe that we need to invest in the future and this is one of the ways that we can do that.
[17:29] Yeah that’s neat that you still sounds like you get the flavor of kind of a start-up within a big company but you can use infinite resources you guys have.
[17:37] Yeah and that we think gives us an advantage and that that’s true I we operate we don’t have an operation in New York I soon is based in New York right are.
QVC is based in West Chester Pennsylvania HSN is based in st. Petersburg Florida.
Right so you know we set this up in a new location so that we could operate as an independent and entrepreneurial company but knowing that you know.
Just an hour train ride away I’ve got hands and resources and folks that can kind of help us get through some of the tougher things of getting something off the ground.
[18:09] Yeah exactly now do you have a pretty wide aperture what you could do so you could you say hey we want to just try something real fast on Tick-Tock or is your mandate it kind of needs to run through one of the mother ships or tap into.
[18:24] No not at all.
[18:25] The mothership or something.
[18:26] No we have a very a very wide mandate most of the team comes from Industries outside of kind of are.
Our CORE family fact most of the town I’ve hired has not been former or current QVC or HSN employees they have been, you know team and talent here based in New York City most of them which is where we found the talent pool that, looking forward to kind of build this future and we have a pretty wide aperture to test and try and that’s we say we’ve been up for for several months now we’re still we largely consider this the beta version because we are, finding the things that we think will be the best fit for the market and create the best experience for both consumers for Brands and ultimately for creators because we do the reason we refer to this as a platform is, we don’t see this as just a one-dimensional or two-dimensional relationship you know brand to Consumer retailer to consumer, but we’re also trying to build a place where creators can build a livelihood as well where Brands can create their own content to connect with consumers and where we’ve built kind of a new way for consumers, the kind of interact and discover new brands.
[19:32] That is awesome and so it sounds like the soon mobile app is kind of the first public release from live shot Ventures am I thinking about that right.
[19:42] Yeah it’s the soonest kind of our first public facing you know component of the platform we have components that are that will face Brands and that will face creators to help round out this ecosystem that we think.
We’ll create a new way for you know these different constituencies to meet one another in a pretty exciting and interesting.
Interesting way and they’ll be more to share I’m not going to share a ton about those back-end Solutions at this point but there will be more to share in the future as we as we continue to round out the experience, we think it takes to really make this kind of new be Commerce mobile experience.
[20:22] Awesome so maybe you can help it like paint us a picture like what is the unique value prop of soon like is it live is if e-commerce like is there a particular category focuses on or what’s the.
[20:35] Yeah to know it’s appreciate you asking so look at the core of what we’re trying to do is take the the style of video that is loved by a young consumer set column you know.
Gen Z too early young Millennials we can’t digitally native consumers what we mean by that that’s a buzzword everybody said but we simply mean people that seem to have been born with an iPhone implanted in their hand, or some sort of device and if you go back up to 2007 when the iPhone and these devices launched we’re looking at people to kind of get there.
Hit their teens or younger in that view I look at you know the way that they navigate and that’s kind of our core audience because they’ve grown up with this fat.
Device being their primary form of discovering the world so that’s our Target so our goal was to build.
[21:23] An experience that would make sense to that to that audience so would be short would be fast could would be personalized.
I would include the kinds of voices that they’re used to hearing from that they trust and that they find credible.
Would give Brands a place that are searching to find a pathway that are working so hard to build there.
Their products but are can get caught in the jungle that are the very very large marketplaces would give these younger Brands these Innovative brands of place to meet the consumer and to be discovered and to be seen and to have their whole story told.
You know it’s one thing to just become a product listing on a.
On a massive platform like Amazon or Walmart it’s another to be able to have someone who understands the consumer tell your brand story so the value prop is to really build what we think is this entertaining.
[22:13] Joyful serendipitous shopping moments where you can just discover Brands when you’re when you’re on the go we think.
In some ways part of what.
So wonderful about the e-commerce experience is also what’s so difficult about the shopping experience and what I mean by that is e-commerce made it easier than ever to buy something.
It also made it very difficult to just go shopping and if you think about the experience we used to love as teenagers by the way that gen Z teenager still allowed which is the notion of wandering a physical location a mall or a Target or pick your brand or.
You know any of those physical experiences where you can just wander and things just inspire you and you you may have gone into by something you may have had an idea in mind you may have not had an idea in mind.
But it was fun and it was a Pastime and it was, enjoyable just to go shopping digital Works differently digital is great if you know I need I need luggage for my trip to Europe I’m getting a backpack I’m going to take a three months and traveling through Europe.
[23:18] You can go to the internet and I’ll help you find the best backpack in the most array of choices at the price but if you just.
Want to sit back and shop and so our goal was to build a platform where the Serendipity of shopping could come up again you could just thumb if you’re standing in line at the.
At the Starbucks or if you’re standing in line at the store you’re standing on the platform in the subway station, or you’re sitting in class and you’re done listening to the professor and you just want to see what might be in your feed that’s relevant to you this could be as fun as opening Tick-Tock or opening Instagram.
This would be opening shopping for the joy of.
[23:52] I love that there’s a this entrepreneur Julie rain Wainwright who founded real real and I don’t know if she actually said this but she’s always attributed with his quote the internet solve buying but broke shopping it’s I.
[24:06] It’s a great quote I’ve heard I’ve heard that quote I’m not sure if it’s hers or not either but I fully subscribe to and that’s and that’s the reality and so this is a way to bring it back in a way that we think is relevant to you know this.
Young emerging audience who’s up who’s about to have a lot of spending power.
[24:26] Yeah now I’m curious you’ve talked about this as a platform and it sounds like it’s what I would think of as a sort of two-sided market place that you both have to you know recruit and keep happy a bunch of world-class creators that are creating content and you’ve got to recruit and keep happy in audience that consumes that content and buys stuff that shows up in the content and my am I thinking about it right in terms of it being a two-sided marketing challenge.
[24:54] Yeah I think I think we’ve called three-sided because we think he have to keep the consumer happy you have to keep the brands and their Founders happy and then you have to, you know create something unique and special for creators who may or may not work directly for the brand that they’re going to create content for, and so our thought process is thinking about all three of those audiences as we build and it’s why you know we don’t see this as a, you know as a Sprint but is building something that we think will be lasting because we’re trying to build something that’s going to be relevant and meaningful to all three of those participants in the platform.
Will you operate as a marketplace right so we’re not buying retail we’re not buying inventory in the traditional sense right we’re building the destination we’re working to drive consumers to the destination we’re working to source and find great creative talent that we think can build the right kind of content and then we’re looking, and reaching out into the.
You know into the Reit into the brand landscape to find Brands and products that we think would do well with this with this audience and so we got all three of those things kind of.
You know working at once if that’s not easy but sometimes the most rewarding things are difficult.
[26:04] Yeah absolutely the marketplaces are hard because you’re kind of building to businesses at once you get kind of the consumer and thus the demand and the supply side it can be.
But once the network effects it going it’s a great business but sometimes it’s hard to kind of kick start them do you feel like you guys are at kind of like that product Market fit or you’re still kind of.
Experimenting and figuring out or like.
[26:25] Yeah we think you know what we’re excited about today is the engagement from the number of brands that have come on our platform has gone much faster than we expected.
The consumer You Know download and engagement we’re in that that nice stair-step each month each week of downloads, increasing on the platform so we feel that we’re moving very strongly towards that you know that market fit place but that’s why we say we’re in beta right well when we’re, one more there will declare that were there and we’ll change the even the way that we go to market even more aggressively but we’re excited about the early signs both the excitement from creators excitement from from Brands who come on board, and again the excitement from the early consumers who have engaged with us the early adopters and starting to experience the platform and so all of those things right now are very positive and.
Giving us a lot of optimism as we think about the future.
[27:25] There’s wear it sometimes, great to be in a big organization when you’re ready you can say hey we need a little distribution and suddenly you know you can you can turn that funnel on you got to be going to make sure you’re ready for it and it sounds like you probably haven’t you know you should definitely get out of beta for you do that but then even you know even you know how do you do the shoots the right way and you know, inside the work there’s tons of just knowledge around streaming and video quality and I’m sure there’s some interesting craters that overlap that would be fun to tap into it even brands that you know I’m sure if you were looking for a brand it’s much easier being part of the larger or more brands are going to take your call versus you know Joe’s startup LLC.
[28:11] Yeah yeah I would say one of our I think that’s well that’s well well said one of our advantages right is the reality that for you know, for decades we’ve been helping small Brands become household names become very large businesses because we understand the power of live we understand the power of video and using it to help.
[28:30] You know a Founder commercialize their their story and help it reach and reach an audience and so.
For sure that is valuable as we talked to Brands who go hey this isn’t you know this isn’t just somebody out of there, out of the corner of their garage going hey we’ve got an idea for the future of video shopping this is you know the the leader in video and live shopping who said hey we’re going to build a new platform a new experience for a new audience and, we’re going to bring our expertise to video shopping to that to that platform and we’re going to help you learn how to do it as a brand we’re going to help you learn how to do it as a Creator both of those things have been very important, add helping us you know get to yes as we don’t get a lot of NOS as we have conversations with Brands right now we get a lot of people excited, even in this early Journey even recognizing that we’re in the beta phase because they believe in the business where you know we’re over 300 Brands already interested in on the platform, at this stage and you know we’re early on we launched in March.
And so it’s not been hard to get people excited about the potential here and I think part of that is because they can look to the parent of who’s building this, and who’s making the investment.
[29:46] Yeah very cool would you say so that made me I’m a huge shark tank junkie and I always love when Laurie’s on there because she always has that trump card of like, I can probably get you on HSN and everyone’s like who so she could tend to get a good deal so then it made me think are you dealing with Challenger Brands kind of like you know things we people maybe haven’t heard of or is this kind of like you know Kate Spade or whoever I don’t want to go into details but like more long-term brands that are just kind of looking for a fresh new channel is there.
[30:22] Yeah so we have a lot of what we call emerging Brands and we can define those in a couple of ways right so there you know I’m an emerging, might have been around for 10 years or 15 years but they’re just very tightly, geographically located maybe they just had a couple of stores and a little direct consumer website but they weren’t really propagating their brand through there, back in the emerging and we have several brands that look like that we also have Brands there.
Relatively young this could be year 1 year 2 year 3 right and they started as a direct consumer brand and they’re looking for other points of distribution and other places to be able to tell their story.
[30:58] But we’ve not preclude ourselves from from other brands that are better known and more, National in nature because again at the end of the day you know where our Focus has been, I’m in the early days is and it’s because this is this is an area that works really well and video right or proper products that are problem solution oriented products and, Kelly’s are great Brands who innovate and develop some new products that solve a consumer problem those do really well in video right now and if you think about, all the you know Tik Tok made me buy it friends you know so many of those products are built around the idea of hey we’ve got a new solution, a problem that you have or we’ve got a new take on solving a problem that has been solved a bunch of other ways but never quite solved this way those are the kinds of products and brands that do really well and we find those both in this emerging space and we also find.
You’ll also find it in some more established brands.
But the focus has really been can we bring consumers content that’s interesting to watch because what the product does for a consumer is.
Have itself useful and highly valuable and that’s if you spend some time on the app you’ll see a lot of products, better focused in that in that regard and so you know we’ve not been exclusionary and by any stretch of the imagination but we do have a lot of young and fun emerging brands with some amazing Founders and some amazing founder stories behind them on plan.
[32:23] That is awesome and Brian a fun fact about Scott like most people watch CNBC for Shark Tank and then they accidentally stay on for for Jim Cramer Scott’s the one guy that watches CNBC for Jim Cramer and then accidentally.
[32:37] Technics days I’m free.
[32:38] I watched a shark fresh shark tanks on ABC come on.
Fair enough Earth but inside not I keep telling Scott Scott keep saying hey we need to get on On Cue be on Shark Tank to get into QVC and I keep telling him that curate retailgeek has great merchants and if you have awesome product you can get in regardless of what whether you know a shark or not.
[33:00] And that you know what that’s so true Jason that in the reality is is that again if you have a great product curate wants to hear from you and that’s and that’s the truth and you know we understand what works well for our audience and we understand what works really well.
For the video platform and if you bring it you can find your way there I will tell you we get a lot of submissions and for obvious reasons.
But yeah you absolutely could find your way there without getting on Shark Tank although a little bit of notoriety never hurts.
[33:30] Know for sure so I’m curious about a tactical element of soon it seems like you made a conscious decision to natively be a nap and and on the one hand.
Like man you look at all the data and mobile apps are where it’s at like that the overwhelming majority of all minutes spent on mobile devices are an app’s you know the top apps have the best engagement and all this stuff but the flip side is, it’s a brutally competitive space and it’s like really hard to get people to download the app and then it’s really hard to get them to to reuse it like I’m curious did you guys.
Like debate about a mobile web experience versus an app and and decide that that’s where you needed to be or how is that played out for you.
[34:15] Yeah so we absolutely did they say it was probably one of the one of the bigger conversations right as we thought about our future and our Direction working with my team and and.
Our partners to think about hey what’s the best way to go forward and build a new shopping you know destination and we certainly researched all the hurdles.
As well but we saw all the things that you highlighted in the beginning right the notion that, more time is spent on apps particularly from from the target audience we were going after the engagement is much higher the commitment once you have it as much stronger all of those elements that.
This is going to be a heavier lift but it’s going to be the right lift for us and.
And we have to be committed we know it’s going to take time but this is going to be the right lift because inside that app also it just gives you the flexibility to do and create some experiential things that just aren’t as as.
[35:12] They’re just not as intuitive or as functional as they are in a mobile web app.
Right so you know I’ll give you I’ll give you one of the features that we love that’s just really hard to do in mobile web but amazing an app so you know part of our vision was to be able to create this window, shopping experience again right to bring the joy back to shopping we’re literally as you thumb through things consider each one of those swipes the window, write as if you were walking down your favorite shopping destination and you know there’s an amazing product with an amazing Storyteller so instead of being on a mannequin in a fixed window it’s by a voice that, you know has some credibility and authority and as they tell you about that but what if you want to see more from that brand well you just swipe left.
And you’re into that brand store.
Or what if you want to love what if you love this soon said what if you love this Creator we call them soon satyrs that’s telling you the product and you want to do you want to see more will you just you know tap the screen and up comes all the video content that that person is created, doing that in a mobile app mobile apps just don’t have the same kind of tactical functionality that you can build inside of an app I’ll be realized, part of this if we were going to build a new experience we needed.
[36:22] The flexibility in the capabilities to be able to use everything the mobile device gives to you you know ultimately we don’t have haptics in our experience yet we will you know they’re all those things that are that are native to the app experience that you know.
Is opened up an iPhone and ultimately Android which are not on yet but will be in the future.
That we wanted to be able to have access to to give it the richest experience even knowing we’d have some hurdles and getting apps downloaded keeping them on the device and getting people back to him.
[36:52] I got it that totally makes sense another one that comes up a lot in a specially you mentioned it seems like adoptions a little earlier in China so I watched the Chinese Behavior a lot to sort of see a bit it predicts how things will evolve here and it’s interesting there are amazing social platforms that had huge engagement that are all pivoting to become shopping platforms right so that’s by dance that’s we and then there are amazing Commerce platforms like Ali Baba and Team all that are kind of pivoting to become engagement platforms and so that’s why you know ding dong live and Ali Baba live and all of these these things like I’m kind of curious do you have a position like in the long run what wins right being a a platform that has a lot of video engagement and adding Commerce to it which in the u.s. I guess that could be.
Tick tock on Instagram or is it a platform that really is good at Commerce and adds adds the video engagement and so you know maybe that’s that’s obviously but Amazon or Walmart and then I assume like The Perfect combo of both of those is of course you guys.
[38:00] Yeah so I’m not trying to sidestep but here’s what I’ll say, video wins video ends and I’ll come back to it and here’s a here’s why I say that so do I think you know Tick-Tock and Instagram and all those who are building you know shopping experiences into their platform, have an opportunity to win and do conversate for sure do in fact I’ll give you an example I often share.
With you know Brands and others as I’m eating and it’s a very simple question for both you Jason and Scott have you ever bought anything while you were in an airport.
From a retailer awesome have you ever gone to the airport have you ever gone to the airport to go shopping.
[38:36] Right so the reality is that airports have a purpose right which is they help you get from one place to another and it’s a very valuable part of your life experience.
But what airports learned is have had a lot of people in my space I’ll bet if I put some stores in here for you those people will buy something that is for sure going to be true with these social platforms they have a lot of people in their space.
[38:59] If they create opportunities for people to buy people will buy but the purpose for opening Tik-Tok is not to go shopping, and people are finding Pathways there because that’s like that’s a place where I’m at and I’m learning their shopping there so now I can do this so I know if I’m Atlanta I like Ferragamo I know in the Atlanta airport there’s a Ferragamo so I can find my way there.
As a as a consumer and make it a point to go there when I’m in airports where I know the brands that I like are at, but that’s very different than then going to your favorite neighborhood street or going to your favorite you know mall to go to go shopping and so we think those places exist on the other side you have right you have what’s happened in the physical space that’s taking place in the digital space right so malls have tried to figure out hey shopping isn’t enough to get people here I need restaurants and entertain I need other things that are engaging, and team on everybody else is going to go down that pathway as well and go hey, if I want to keep people here I need I need things that are engaging because consumers are expecting more well-rounded experiences from all the places that they go and so our viewers to say listen if you know let’s just build something, that recognizes that that’s what the consumer needs and wants and create a place we’re going shopping and being engaged and being entertained is, in and of itself the point the experience and we believe there will be space for that for an experience like that but I think I think Commerce is going to happen.
[40:25] In all of these spaces if you bring video to them I think it’s going to happen on on you know brand own websites as they bring video that’s the that’s the core of it, and again if you step back and go well gee how much space is there you know retail such a fixed base well that’s what we all said.
You know 20 years ago when e-commerce showed up like e-commerce can’t grow the retail space there’s a fixed space it’s going to be you know give some take some.
At the end of the day retail is just larger as as the platforms and places, have continued to evolve and to explode if you think about the difference between where we are and you know where Asia is and where we see the Western markets I think part of this is understanding that I think Asia is unique in that there.
Retail ecosystem you know take China it’s just very different.
From Mars when you consider the scale their population and how much of that is urbanized versus still you know in more agrarian spaces and so it’s not exactly the bear to make the comparison between.
[41:25] Those two spaces and you know they have different tastes and different preferences and so I think for us in the u.s. I think part of the difficulty has been we’ve been trying to apply.
A formula from Asia to Western markets versus saying hey what’s the formula that’s right for Western markets and video.
And let’s let’s take stock of understanding what the Retail Landscape looks like here what the consumer behavior and preference for shopping looks like here and then how do you build something that’s around that I think brands are starting to figure that out I think we’re, you know we’re just at the corner we’re probably today where e-commerce was in 2001-2002, right so we’re on the verge of exploding but if you remember back in those days there were a lot of brands that we’re saying yeah we’re not going to need any Commerce site.
And and then five years later everybody in the country headed e-commerce site.
[42:17] Yeah that first of all you should have qualified your question I’m pretty sure Jason is gone to airports just to go to the Starbucks.
That much of a Starbucks not or are you just like is muscle memory for him he’s like I want to Starbucks he just ends up at O’Hare and he’s like oh oh I don’t have a flight but man this this latte is delicious.
The so I started a company Channel advisor andqvc was an early customer of ours and I got to go on that behind the scenes tour where you can watch the production room and it blew my mind as an e-commerce person because it was like this pure intersection of data meet Stevie because you know the talent on are would have a may be mic’d up, and the producers say when you talked about you know how the vest feels they watch this I think it was like orders per second some velocity.
And they would tell him to talk more about that and if a product didn’t make a certain velocity there like next so it’s really so I’m kind of thinking you know can you guys because you’re you’ve got both sides of the marketplace are you giving your creators some really interesting kind of youqvc any HSN informed data on on you know.
How how to make a better video and sell more product and that kind of thing or you may be too early in your journey but it seems like you guys Doug be like right in your strike zone.
[43:40] No that’s the you know that’s part of the secret sauce that’s why we’re so excited about this space it’s taking that learning and absolutely the analytics right that we’re putting in place and ultimately the.
That algorithms that will drive right the personalization feed and the coaching that’s given not just to creators but then ultimately to Brands is all built around enabling their ability to be as effective as possible at producing a video and what works depending on the category so.
That’s core to what we are doing at Stone is using data to drive decisions around content to drive decisions around.
The speeds that ultimately will be will be you know shared with consumers right to create as much likelihood or much potential for success as possible and you know you you hit on the head Scott right part of this and part of what’s made.
You know curate successful for so long is that what seems very soft.
Is very data-intensive and using data to make those decisions and we see that as being one of our core attributes in our core advantages is a boat as we build.
[44:51] That certainly makes sense Brian I’m sad because I know we’re running up on time and I have one more topic I want to make sure I get in which is this whole debate of video versus live video and I know you do you think about QVC and there’s a lot of scarcity built-in which makes the the live model make a lot of sense and in China a lot of it has scarcity of deals and things in the u.s. I hear a lot of people calling things live that aren’t even live and so I’m just curious like what you know do you think it needs to be live or is it a place for both like what how do you guys feel think about the live versus store and play video Commerce.
[45:32] Yeah so we use both at soon so we think live live has a role in the sense of creating excitement creating a bit of scarcity also creating the the Serendipity the moment and the authenticity and organic and credibility of the content most of the content.
In our mind is shot or created live meaning we’re not trying to do a bunch of takes and a bunch of edits of the work in fact I tell people all the time I said it’s part of the magic of one of the longest running show Saturday Night Live it’s one of my favorite shows maybe maybe part of your audience loves that show as well as right it’s taped in front of a live studio audience and part of what makes that show so engaging.
Right is that reality and the fact that there’s room for errors or groom for mistakes you know you may see one or two but it just feels so, in the moment we think that matters a lot in the experience but today.
I don’t know I don’t know the facts but I suspect a lot of SNL is watched after the fact.
[46:29] But the fact that it was shot in front of a live studio audience is what makes it so engaging so what we think about video we talk about it live here we often mean look what we want this to feel is live like meaning it should feel like you’re having a fantastic conversation sometimes it will actually be live.
But the vast majority of the content is going to be consumed post life because let’s be honest gen Z doesn’t really meet anybody for an appointment anymore from a from a watch perspective right they watch things on their own time when it makes sense for them, and it fits into their their life that doesn’t take away from the fact that if the offer is big enough, for the products right right they’ll show up in force for a live moment and so we believe that you need both in order to.
[47:15] To create something that’s compelling but for us you know largely what we think matters is creating content that is done by people who really know how to speak, can do it in one take right because you know they’re good at what they what they do and can bring that level of Candor to the.
To the content and that’s that’s what we think really will resonate candidly with people of all ages we don’t think this is that’s just specific to young people that’s specific to everybody, we love candidness, we love I think you open the podcast here saying Hey listen if you make a mistake or two we’re not going to stop and rerecord and all those things right and you’re going to listen part of what makes this so natural is when it’s.
Captured in the moment we think that’s true for video Commerce as well.
[48:00] That I love that that that’s a perfect way to sort of describe that the approach it makes perfect sense to me side note the reason we do that on the podcast is because Scott makes so many mistakes that we couldn’t possibly go back and fix them all.
[48:15] Hey I think Brian was saying we’re influent we’re popular influencers that’s how I.
[48:19] I feel like he’s like as an l and the Jason and Scot show are the two.
The two top top tier entertainment vehicles I think that’s very fair but Brian I’m super sad to report that we’ve used up our allotted time this has been a great conversation and we sure appreciate you taking time to talk with us.
[48:39] I appreciate you having me on the show thank you so much guys.
[48:42] Brian if folks want to learn more about your online thoughts or you are you an influencer yourself do you publish somewhere or you just want to encourage them to check out that.
[48:54] No you so you can absolutely follow me on LinkedIn for sure I do Post.
On occasion I’m not an avid poster right now because my head has been down here but please do that and then again I would encourage you to download soon if you have an iPhone you can visit us at soon dot live too.
Hear more about this if you’re a brand and you want to be a part of it part of what we’re doing here please go to soon dot live you can fill out a form and and someone from our our merchandising team will reach back out to you for fairly quickly and get you connected but.
Yeah thank you again for the time.
[49:30] Brian we will put all those links in the show notes for anyone that wants to follow up with soon and until next time happy Commercing!