A new form of social e-commerce, already a phenomenon in China, is about to take the western world by storm.
Sam Jones, previously the Managing Director at eCommerce unicorn Wish.com, has teamed up with technology executives from Bytedance, Tencent and Alibaba to launch a new video commerce platform aimed at millennials and Gen-Zs in Europe and USA.
OOOOO, launching in the summer of 2020, will connect manufacturers to consumers through short video and livestream content. The platform will be powered by influencers, who can earn commission for promoting products. The app will share similar features to leading Chinese apps including Taobao Live, Kuaishou and Mogu.
Video Commerce has exploded in China in the last few years. It is estimated that in 2020, gross merchandise volume in live video commerce in China will reach 1 trillion CNY ($140 bln). During the height of the coronavirus lockdown in China, the number of merchants on the Taobao live streaming platform increased by over 700%.
Co-Founder Sam Jones said “Our platform addresses two major themes. Firstly, video is the language of the youth in 2020. Your average teenager spends nearly an hour a day on Tiktok, a platform generating 1 billion videos a day. The days of shopping via catalogues and shopping TV channels are finished. The JPEG is next in line to become extinct in shopping. Youngsters demand applications to enable rapid, intelligent browsing of videos. That is what has made Tiktok such a success and we will replicate similar behaviour for the purpose of shopping.
“The second theme the platform is addressing is that whilst high street retailers continue to collapse, the role of influencers has exploded. 92% of consumers trust recommendations over content that comes directly from brands. The line between influencers and brands has never been closer and we believe such influence needs to be totally re-priced. We have made sure that in our platform, if someone promotes a product and brings customers to our app, they are paid a fair percentage of the sales price for every single sale. If we remove retail, and in some cases brands altogether, and connect a leading manufacturer to a consumer, there is a lot of room for us to properly pay influencers and still deliver low prices for customers.
“Social commerce platforms including Taobao Live and Kuaishou are thriving in China, a market that is several years ahead of Europe and USA in terms of eCommerce and live, interactive, video applications. We have assembled a team of experienced engineers in China to develop an app that will bring some of this innovation to the western market.
The company, with offices in Shanghai, London, and Los Angeles, have exciting plans and big partnerships to announce in the coming weeks. OOOOO will launch with several large manufactures selling fashion, accessories, and beauty products via their iOS and Android app.