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 Mark, Thirty One Gifts, Stella and Dot, Gigi Hill, Miche 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?