TECHNOLOGY

Gen Z app makes shopping a party

BY Dan Berthiaume

Social shopping app Dote is launching a live interactive video retail experience.

Dote, which is aimed at Gen Z consumers, is introducing a new feature called “Shopping Party,” designed to recreate the experience of shopping in a mall with friends via mobile device. Shopping parties enable Dote creators, a group of 450 social influencers, to livestream with their followers. Dote developed the feature in-house, based on the Apple replaykit2 live broadcasting platform.

A typical shopping party session will last about 15 minutes. While hosts can shop from all 150 partner brands on the Dote platform during parties, retailers including Urban Outfitters, Honeybum, Princess Polly, and Dolls Kill were selected for the pilot “Sponsored Party” program, where they will be partnering with creators who will throw parties interacting exclusively with their brand’s products. Retailers can also obtain video and voiceover product feedback in real time.

For the next two weeks, at least two shopping parties will occur on the Dote platform every hour from 6 a.m. PST to 10 p.m. PST, totaling more than 400 parties. Notable Dote creators include Kalani Hiliker (5 million followers), Nia Sioux (5 million followers), and Ellie Thumann (1.5 million subscribers).

“When we stopped going to malls with our friends and started shopping online, the experience became one skewed toward convenience and assortment. Along the way, we lost the social experience that shopping can be, which so many people have enjoyed throughout the history of commerce,” said Dote founder and CEO Lauren Farleigh. “With Shopping Party, we’ve created a first-of-its-kind, immersive shopping experience that provides all the benefits of e-commerce, but in an engaging way you can enjoy with friends.”

Dote is putting a Gen Z spin on the live digital shopping space, which is currently dominated by QVC. Amazon is also attempting to gain traction in live digital shopping with a new service called Amazon Live. Available on the Amazon site and mobile app, Amazon Live offers live video streams of presenters demonstrating various products for sale. Presenters are both Amazon employees broadcasting from a studio, as well as brands offering their own streams that integrate with the Amazon site.

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