Livestream Shopping Is Here to Stay. Here’s How to Nail the Art of Making Sales Entertaining

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, if you wanted real-time advice on how to style a trendy Rebecca Minkoff sweater with an equally fashionable handbag, your best bet was to head to a retailer, such as Nordstrom or Bloomingdale’s, and track down a clerk. Post-Covid, Rebecca, the founder of the eponymous brand, will show you herself, right from her closet.

Minkoff is one of many retailers leaning into an e-commerce trend that the pandemic has helped accelerate: livestream shopping. Think of it like a QVC broadcast where brands and influencers pitch products but specifically for social media and e-commerce platforms where you can instantly click through to make a purchase. 

In China, livestream shopping is already a massive business, estimated at $63 billion. Thanks to Covid lockdowns, the trend is finally taking off in the U.S. Retailers now have a plethora of platforms to try. Google, YouTube, Amazon, Instagram, and Facebook have all launched live shopping offerings. Meanwhile, venture capital-backed startups NTWRK, Popshop Live, ShopShops, Moda Operandi, and others cater to more niche audiences. Some of these platforms are invite-only; others are open to any company who wants to start broadcasting.     

The payoff of making a live, direct pitch to potential customers is real: Minkoff says that generally every live video the brand produces, whether it’s on Amazon or Instagram, generates a 20 percent lift in traffic to its website. Lillebaby, a Golden, Colo.-based maker of baby carriers, has been using Amazon Live since the e-commerce giant rolled out a beta test with select retailers in 2018. On Amazon Prime Day Oct. 13, the brand says it saw an average video click-through rate of 20 percent, with 9 percent of those viewers making a purchase. 

To find out what it takes to succeed on livestream shopping platforms, Inc. spoke with both the entrepreneurs using them and the ones who created them. 

1. Figure out what your audience finds compelling. 

“We’re in the business of entertainmentizing retail,” says Aaron Levant, founder of Los Angeles-based NTWRK, a live shopping platform launched in 2018 that focuses specifically on curated product drops. NTWRK, whose audience is about 75 percent male, saw its revenue double between March and April. The platform features only products that can’t be found elsewhere, so retailers benefit from exclusivity and scarcity as part of the sales pitch.

The most successful product drops on his platform are the ones that have a great story, Levant says.

“Does it matter? Is anyone going to give a shit? Does it evoke an audible reaction?,” he says. He recommends that brands experiment with, say, showing the process of how a product is made or even pulling back the curtain on your own struggle as an entrepreneur. 

Minkoff says her customers want something much more practical: “Our girl wants to know the good, the bad, the ugly about the bag,” she says. “She wants the goods and wants to know where buy them and at what price.”

Lillebaby does a mix of content, from baby-carrier fit

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Target’s gift card sale returns this weekend. Here’s how to save 10% off and how the promotion has changed

This weekend is the best time of year to buy Target store gift cards.

3 tips to get the most out of gift cards



Target’s annual gift card sale returns Saturday with some changes. Instead of being a one-day sale, it now lasts two days and will continue through Sunday, Dec. 6.

The maximum discount also increased to $50 off a maximum of $500 in gift cards purchased, up from $30 last year.

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But the biggest change is to get the 10% discount, available in-store and online, you have to be a member of Target Circle, Target’s free loyalty program. The discount can be used only for one transaction at Target or per Target Circle account, according to the offer’s details.

a group of items on a tabletop: Target has a selection of holiday gift cards.

© Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY
Target has a selection of holiday gift cards.

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It’s a rare chance to save on gift cards, which year after year are among the most popular and requested gifts. Last December, Target had a one-day gift card sale with 10% off store gift cards both in-store and online and in October discounted gift cards by 5% for two days.

If you’re not giving the gift cards away as gifts, they can be quickly added to the Target app to redeem at checkout and used with the Target Circle, which launched nationwide in October 2019.

With the free program, members earn 1% on nearly every purchase to redeem on a future Target trip and take advantage of other discounts including a birthday discount.

Shoppers with a Target RedCard credit or debit card aren’t eligible to earn 1% with the loyalty program when they pay with a store-branded credit or debit card but will continue to get 5% off store purchases including select gift cards year round. However, store gift cards are excluded from the cardholder perk.

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Target gift card promotion fine print

Here are some of the exclusions of the offer listed on the Target Circle offer, which can be saved to accounts early:

  • Valid beginning Dec. 5 for a one-time use purchase in-store or online.
  • Gift cards purchased online can be delivered via email, mail or mobile.
  • Offer valid for one transaction up to $500 in Target GiftCards ($50 maximum discount) at Target or per Target Circle account.
  • Offer does not include Target Visa Gift Cards, Target Mastercard Gift Cards, Target American Express Gift Cards and gift cards issued by other retailers such as dining, lifestyle and entertaining
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This Weekend Marked a Record Online Shopping Day. Here’s Where the Dollars Went

The kickoff of holiday shopping of years past–think midnight doorbuster sales on Black Friday and clogged department stores– is no longer. Instead, the lasting impact of the Covid-19 pandemic produced the largest online shopping day in U.S. history, continuing a holiday shopping season that’s already been thriving since October, despite the decline of in-person shopping.

According to the National Retail Federation, the number of in-store shoppers on Thanksgiving Day dropped by 55 percent from last year and those on Black Friday dropped by 37 percent. These drops can be attributed to consumers staying home because of pandemic fears and because large retailers like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy didn’t open for Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving day. 

But online sales picked up the slack. Based on Adobe Analytics data, which tracked one trillion visits to U.S. retail sites, a record $10.8 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday, compared with last year’s $9.4 billion, making it the largest online shopping day in U.S. history.

And Adobe wasn’t alone in reporting the online surge. More than 1 million online stores that use Shopify’s software to sell, ship, and track purchases surpassed $5.1 billion in sales between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with Shopify counting a 76 percent growth of sales on its platform since last year.

Small Business Saturday also experienced some favorable outcomes, bolstered by supportive consumer behaviors. According to the Union Bank Small Business Holiday Spending 2020 Survey, 74 percent of respondents said they felt a greater sense of responsibility to shop local this year, since small business has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. 

“People are spending more time in their neighborhood, so there is even more of a focus on helping the local coffee shop, gift store, or restaurant. They’re seeing the impact first hand. These are the business owners who may be your friend or your neighbor and who you have a personal connection with, which really brings their struggles into context,” says Colleen Taylor, president of U.S. merchant services at American Express, which created Small Business Saturday 11 years ago.

Many founders were counting on these holiday sales to stay afloat. Kelsey Moreira, CEO and founder of San Francisco-based cookie dough startup Doughp (pronounced “Dope”), hosted a 30 percent off sale online from Black Friday through Cyber Monday, and says she is “crying with joy” at the results. Her site sold more in those four days than in the whole month of November. “People are constantly talking about wanting to support small businesses. This time of year is when we see that come to life,” she says.

To maintain momentum and shopper enthusiam to shop small, American Express’s Moreira advises business owners to adhere to cleaning and social distancing protocols–and spread the word online about those safety measures, in addition to any promotions. But if customers are still reluctant to shop in person, make sure you offer them a great online shopping experience as well as other digital services.


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Startups like Papa, which pairs elderly people with ‘grandkids on demand’ to help them with common tasks like grocery shopping, could be the future of healthcare. Here’s an inside look at how it works.

The gig economy is coming for healthcare.

Courtesy of Papa; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider

© Courtesy of Papa; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider
Courtesy of Papa; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider

Startups like Papa, which provides “grandkids on demand” to seniors, hire mostly young part-time workers as outside contractors to help with chores, troubleshoot technology issues, or just sit and talk with seniors, many of whom have remained isolated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Big technology companies like Uber and Instacart popularized the gig model, but contract workers are nothing new in the world of home healthcare. With the advent of the gig economy, new home care startups have become empowered to introduce more flexibility and cost-savings into the industry by relying on a constantly rotating cast of always-on workers accessible via an app. 

Business Insider spoke with nine Papa Pals, as Papa’s fleet of on-demand grandkids are called, and Papa founder and CEO Andrew Parker to get a sense for what it’s like to work as a gig worker in healthcare during a pandemic.

a man and a woman taking a selfie: Florida-based Papa Pal Dejah Cason with Papa member Evelyn Perl. Papa

© Papa
Florida-based Papa Pal Dejah Cason with Papa member Evelyn Perl. Papa

Most joined this summer after hearing friends’ positive experiences working with Papa, but others have worked for Papa on and off for years as they finished up school or managed their outside obligations. Business Insider reached out to Pals independently in addition to three conversations with Pals that were facilitated by Papa.

Here’s the inside look of what it’s like to work as a Papa Pal.

The Pals shared a near-unanimous belief that they were doing good through their work providing companionship on-demand to elderly individuals. Many said they would continue calling or running errands once the pandemic subsides.

Others voiced some concerns with not being able to schedule shifts in advance, an issue Parker said an updated version of the app will address later this year. 

There is also some concern among experts that the gig model won’t be sustainable once the pandemic ends if health plans don’t see enough impact to warrant continued support of this type of care.

Subscribe to Business Insider to read the full story:

Investors are betting $1.4 billion that gig workers can transform an essential but invisible part of healthcare. Here’s an inside look at one startup leading the charge.

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Oribe Dates: 11/30 Deal: Take 20% off liter sizes of shampoo and conditioner​ with code (excludes Holiday 2020 Liter Set) ​ Promo Code: LITERS Shop Oribe Oribe Gold Lust Repair and Restore Shampoo – Liter, $, available at Oribe

Glossier Dates: 11/30 Deal: Up to 35% off sitewide (includes sets) Promo Code: No code needed Shop Glossier Glossier Special #2: Finishing Touches Set, $, available at Glossier

Ulta Beauty Dates: 11/30 Deal: Get up to 50% off select brands and free shipping on purchases $35+ Promo Code: No code needed Shop Ulta Beauty Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, $, available at Ulta

Olive & June Dates: 11/30 Deal: Take 25% off sitewide and get free shipping on orders $20+ Promo Code: MAGIC25 Shop Olive & June Olive & June The Mani System, $, available at Olive & June

Charlotte Tilbury Dates: 11/30 Deal: Take up to 50% off select items Promo Code: No code needed Shop Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Instant Eye Palette Duo, $, available at Charlotte Tilbury

Tarte Cosmetics Dates: 11/30 Deal: Take 40% off sitewide, plus 50% off holiday steals Promo Code: CYBER Shop Tarte Cosmetics Tarte Cosmetics Shape Tape™ Concealer, $, available at Tarte

Kosas Dates: 11/30 Deal: 30% off sitewide + a full-sized lip color with purchase Promo Code: No code needed Shop Kosas Kosas Wet Lip Oil Gloss, $, available at Kosas

Colourpop Dates: 11/30 – 12/1 Deal: Take 30% off sitewide (includes vaults) Promo Code: No code needed Shop Colourpop ColourPop Fade

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Here’s what to expect from local toy stores for Christmas 2020.

The pandemic has upended millions of traditional holiday celebrations throughout the world, but one thing is still happening as usual — kids are making wish lists and hoping to find their favorite toys under the tree.

Local independent toy store owners have stepped up throughout the pandemic to keep kids entertained during lockdowns and virtual school. They’ve also changed the way they operate by providing delivery services, curbside pickup, revamped websites for online ordering and personal shopping. Along with in-store capacity restrictions, increased sanitation and mask requirements, they’re maintaining those changes to provide safer shopping during the pandemic holiday season.

Matt Poulson and Sarah Fowles of Ruckus and Glee toy store in Wauwatosa predict the "Star Wars: The Mandalorian" The Child talking plush (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) will sell well this holiday season.

© Submitted by Ruckus and Glee
Matt Poulson and Sarah Fowles of Ruckus and Glee toy store in Wauwatosa predict the “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” The Child talking plush (a.k.a. Baby Yoda) will sell well this holiday season.

They also recommend that people buy early. “Most companies we order through are sold out of so many things because their production is so behind,” said Natasha Loos of Cedarburg Toy Company. “I’m telling our customers if there’s something special on your list, don’t wait. If you can, grab it because we just don’t know if it will be there when you come back.”


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Here’s what the owners of Cedarburg Toy Company, Ruckus and Glee, The Smiley Barn and Winkie’s predict

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What Is Sustainable Fashion? Here’s How to Shop Responsibly

I used to think I was a conscious shopper. I wouldn’t allow myself to buy new clothing unless I donated old pieces in my closet. I would donate clothing, shoes, and jewelry to Goodwill or various other charity organizations, priding myself in not disposing to landfills. And I tried to shop each season versus shopping when there were sales or a hot trend to capitalize on. Although these are all good tactics to becoming a more ethical shopper, it wasn’t until the pandemic slowed down my calendar and need to travel that I took sustainability more seriously.

While sheltering-in-place, I’ve spent time cleaning out my closet and have been shocked at how much I’ve consumed, underutilized, and thrown away without so much of a thought. In efforts to do better and offset my carbon imprint, I began researching sustainable brands and practices. With so many brands claiming to be sustainable, this was quite a daunting task. But considering fashion is the second largest industry responsible for pollution, it’s a task worth taking.

If more people committed to creative ways of sourcing, prolonging, and recycling clothing, we could heal the planet. But, what does this look like? To help us decide how to determine what clothes we have (and want to purchase) are sustainable, we consulted a couple of experts: Cassandra Dittmer, sustainability stylist; Dalia MacPhee, celebrity fashion designer; Shona Quinn, social consciousness director of Eileen Fisher; and Melanie DiSalvo, founder of Virtue + Vice.

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Here’s why women’s money decisions will shape the future for U.S.

krisanapong detraphiphat | Moment | Getty Images

The rising economic power of women in this country is one of the most significant financial shifts of recent decades. The bottom line: Women are generating and managing an increasing amount of wealth in the U.S.

Today, women control more than $10 trillion (about 33%) of total U.S. household financial assets. Meanwhile, an unprecedented amount of assets will shift into the hands of U.S. women over the next three to five years, representing $30 trillion by the end of the decade. Why? Because as men pass away, they will leave control of these assets to their female spouses, who tend to be both younger and to live longer.

This is a wealth transfer of such magnitude that it approaches the annual gross domestic product of the U.S.

“This is a huge transfer of wealth in and of itself but, because women traditionally outlive men, women stand to inherit most of it,” said certified financial planner Marguerita Cheng, CEO of Blue Ocean Global Wealth in Gaithersburg, Maryland. “As more and more women have a say in significant financial decisions, it’s easy to see they’re not adhering to business as usual.”

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Why is this a big deal and why should you care?

If you are a brand-name consumer products company, a financial services company, or are in the business of selling real estate, for example, women will be making the majority of these decisions in the years ahead. So attracting and retaining female customers will be a critical growth imperative for your business. To succeed, business of all types will need to truly understand women’s needs, preferences and behaviors when it comes to spending and managing their money.

Women continue to make more financial decisions on behalf of the household and more women are also turning to the investing decisions. In fact, women are leading the field when it comes to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance investing, according to a recent article in Fortune magazine.

In general, a higher percentage of women are interested in ESG investing than men, says CFP Cathy Curtis, CEO of Curtis Financial Planning in Oakland, California. A Calvert/Investment News study showed that usage of ESG funds are up 25% year over year and the trend of ESG investing is more pronounced in women, with 53% doing so currently.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has spotlighted our financial and health-care systems’ inequities as more disadvantaged and poor people are losing their jobs and lives,” Curtis said. “As a result, where the environment was the main focus of ESG investors, social and governance have become critical and are driving the inflows into ESG products.

“As women inherit more wealth from their parents and spouses and sometimes make the investment decisions for the first time in their lives, I predict more money will flow into ESG

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