Over the course of the pandemic, consumers got used to going online for all sorts of activities that were once conducted primarily in-person — from virtual exercise classes to concerts, and beyond. And during that same time period, shopping largely followed suit, with ecommerce sales increasing a whopping 18% over the course of 2020.

Given these trends, it’s no surprise that consumers began to crave a convergence of online shopping and entertainment into one engaging interaction And thus, today’s ‘shoppertainment’ trend was born.

By blending traditional store experiences with livestreams, social media, and interactive, real-time digital engagements, retail brands all over the world are creating truly captivating customer experiences. Taobao Live, China’s premiere live ecommerce platform, is just one example of a company that saw gross merchandise sales volume grow 150% during the pandemic.

Why shoppertainment matters 

Shoppertainment combines ecommerce, entertainment, and consumers’ everyday lifestyles to drive engagement with interactive online events and experiences that are every bit as immersive and informational as their in-person alternatives were prior to the pandemic.

While America has been a little slower to catch on to the trend that Asian markets and some other places, in the coming year shoppertainment is sure to make a splash. Before that happens, here are some important tips for taking an omnichannel approach to building satisfying shoppertainment experiences with your buyers in mind.

Use shoppertainment as part of a robust customer lifecycle optimization plan

Whether you’re interested in creating a TikTok channel to drive online engagement, showcasing hot-selling products through livestreams, or creating video content built to boost customer engagement, shoppertainment doesn’t work unless it’s part of a holistic customer lifecycle optimization plan

After all, a recent study by TikTok found that 43% of heavy app users feel that the “advertising” on TikTok blends in with the content — adding value to any cross-channel customer interaction you create. Reaching customers who already feel connected to your brand before viewing this unique content at just the right moment with a well-targeted video, interactive ad, or livestream is an effective way to not only boost engagement, but integrate their experience into part of a greater overall marketing strategy.


Just think of how much more impactful your onboarding email series could be, for example, if part of the process included an interactive video showing shoppers how their recent purchase pairs well with the styles in their closet. Or if your post-purchase triggered messaging featured an add-to-calendar link giving loyal buyers an exclusive invite to a seasonal livestream event. Shoppertainment done well can be a foundational element for building lifelong customer relationships through unforgettable digital experiences.

Gather data to build better omnichannel experiences 

In 2020, Chinese retailer AliExpress set its sights on bringing shoppertainment to Europe, kicking off a Livestreaming Program in France that incorporated more than a thousand livestreamers to produce 3,000 real-time brand experiences. But this year, its shoppertainment strategy is getting even more advanced.

In 2021, AliExpress is training its own in-store salespeople to become livestreamers and further enhance the impact of this program. As many retail brands are discovering, bringing the engagement of an in-store experience to their ecommerce environment is critical for future success — as long as you have a plan to collect, capture, and make use of the first-party data feedback to personalize these interactions.

If you’re not already doing so, treat any insights you collect directly from customers as your most valuable resource. Because your omnichannel customer journey won’t be able to help you make informed, impactful business decisions otherwise.

While shoppertainment may still be a few years away from peak popularity in the US, the need to build more engaging, consistent customer experiences across every channel is already a top priority. By focusing on the customer journey and lifecycle stages where shoppertainment adds value for your buyers, you not only prepare your brand for a better future — you build an ecommerce experience that’s capable of boosting audience engagement and customer loyalty right now.