Can live streaming bridge the e-tail/retail gap?

Al Sambar, left, Liyia Wu and Ophelia Ceradini.

In a retail environment where people are staying home to shop online more than ever, getting and keeping a consumer attention can be difficult. One new way that is on the rise? Live-stream video selling.

According to several experts in a session at the National Retail Federation’s annual retail conference NRF 2021, live-stream video selling is going to be a huge part of online shopping’s future.

Lauded by converts for its high customer engagement levels, relatability and ability to replicate in-store experiences, live-stream selling involves explaining, demonstrating and selling product on a live video that viewers can then purchase directly from through embedded links. It essentially gives sellers their own instant shopping channel, offering businesses the opportunity to sell directly, answer customer questions immediately, offer special deals, and involve different company personalities and even celebrities.

“This isn’t just about shopping,” said Liyia Wu, founder and CEO of China-based live-stream selling platform ShopShops. “This is about creating a live experience that you’re sharing authentically with an audience. They’re trying to find things that are interesting and excite their lives, so its about sharing your knowledge, your experience with the viewer, and it sells.”

HEARTS Awards auction exceeds fundraising goal

Dallas Market Center and ART, the creative home furnishings network, announced that the HEARTS Awards auction exceeded its fundraising goal.

The online auction, which featured more than 70 one-of-a-kind plates creatively transformed by artists, designers, celebrities, influencers and special guests, raised more than $10,000 for No Kid Hungry, a national campaign to end child hunger.

The top-earning plates were:

  • “Piecemeal: Cotton Candy” by Alexander Julian, which raised $915;
  • “Cobalt Vase Plate” by Anna Bond, which raised $545; and
  • “Boca Grande” by Kelly O’Neal; which raised $305.

“Thank you to the organizations and individuals who worked so hard to help us raise funds and feed families,” said Sharon Davis, executive director of ART. “We look forward to hosting an in-person awards event this summer where we may gather together and celebrate leadership.”

“Generous artists and bidders helped us exceed our goal and providing relief to those in need during a challenging year,” said Cindy Morris, president and CEO of Dallas Market Center. “It is a tangible testament to the giving spirit of our industry community.”

The HEARTS Awards is a one-time special event being held in partnership and solidarity with 13 industry organizations to honor 13companies that have shown outstanding leadership,

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John Frierson named president of The Novogratz

The Novogratz, the interior design, development and product design brand created by Cortney and Robert Novogratz, named John Frierson as its new president.

John Frierson

Frierson joins the company after a stint as president of Fred Segal, founder of the Lifestyle Group at Creative Artists Agency, as well as owner of his own branding and licensing agency based in New York and Paris, The Novogratz will have new opportunities to enhance their business from a retail perspective worldwide, create new and exciting collaborations, as well as increase their e-commerce business exponentially, taking their business to a new level.

“Our brand has been growing quickly in recent years. As we have accelerated the home and digital business over the past year, we’re adding top talent to our team,” Robert Novogratz said. “We couldn’t be more pleased to announce the addition of John Frierson as president of The Novogratz. He’ll bring new opportunities and a fresh vision to our rocket ship.”

“The Novogratz is one of the fastest growing brands in the design and lifestyle world, with number one selling products in all the digital channels that matter,” said Frierson. “Their color-driven, playful boutique style in accessible products and price points positions

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Atlanta Market continues to rebound

Even the displays got into the act when it came to safety precautions.

Last week’s Atlanta Gift and Home Market here, the second major trade show of the new year, continued a pattern of the slow but steady return of physical markets to the industry.

While attendance probably hovered around the 50% mark, exhibitors working the show reported retailers were coming off strong holiday seasons and needed goods for spring and throughout the rest of the year. Most exhibitors said they came into the show week with modest expectations that had been surprisingly exceeded in many cases.

Masks were very much the standard wardrobe for everyone working the Atlanta gift and home show last week.

But clearly the business of shows remains a work in progress as evidenced by activity in the halls of AmericasMart:

  • Health and safety precautions were front and center with mask wearing, temperature checks and hand sanitizer stations far more prevalent than tote bags, product demos and mimosa bars.
  • Buying activity, as it was in Dallas, was strongest in stay-at-home product categories like home entertaining, outdoor, kitchenware and the ever-ubiquitous candle business.
  • Buyers and sellers were continuing to reinvent the show process with video selling sessions,