Beauty companies are increasingly exploring livestream shopping on their own websites, with Ulta Beauty the latest to get in on the action.
While some social media apps look to be moving away from the area with Facebook last year shuttering its live shopping function, the beauty giant has been experimenting with livestream shopping technology on its e-commerce site with Buywith, a Tel Aviv-based start-up, which has already worked with Charlotte Tilbury and MAC Cosmetics, as well as a number of fashion brands, including Steve Madden and Forever 21.
Using patent-pending smart screen sharing, Buywith’s pic-in-pic technology allows shoppers to join creators and influencers for livestream shopping events on beauty brands’ websites without app downloads or code integration.
“We launched Ulta Beauty live events with Buywith throughout the holiday season — a critical time in retail — and saw incredible engagement,” said Agustina Sartori, senior director of innovation at Ulta Beauty of the partnership. “We are very encouraged by our initial efforts and look forward to more successful events with the Buywith team as we continue to optimize and grow together.”
The beauty retailer is set to report its financial results for the crucial holiday season, which makes up the lion’s share of companies’ profits, later this month.
Beginning as a huge trend in China, where the market grew 20-fold between 2017 and 2019, according to Coresight Research, livestream shopping is starting to pick up pace in the U.S. despite a much slower adoption rate to begin with.
While Coresight noted that the channel is still emerging in the West, it is gaining traction quickly and it expects the U.S. livestreaming e-commerce market to total $31.7 billion by the end of 2023, nearly triple its 2021 size, and accounting for more than 5 percent of total e-commerce sales by 2026. This, however, is still just a fraction of the Chinese market.
Of the partnership with Ulta, Adi Ronen, chief executive officer of Buywith, said: “Our mutual live events included a unique “shop with me” experience, which gives Ulta Beauty’s customers the opportunity to shop live with their favorite hosts, influencers and makeup experts in real time on top of ulta.com and engage with the platform through gamified features. Having worked with many direct-to-consumer brands in the beauty vertical over the past three years including MAC Cosmetics, Estée Lauder and IL Makiage, Ulta Beauty was a natural partner since it is home to so many beauty brands.”
Buywith was founded in 2018 and has raised $9.5 million in funding, with investors including Fab Co-Creation Studio Ventures, founded by Odile Roujol, former CEO of Lancôme, and John Caplan, Alibaba.com’s former president of North America and Europe.
Other players in the livestream shopping space include Ntwrk, Verishop, Whatnot, Bambuser and Popshop Live.