BEIJING/NEW YORK: A New York-based start-up has found an innovative niche by enabling US retailers to engage directly with young Chinese consumers via livestreamed shopping events.

ShopShops, which also has offices in Beijing, Los Angeles and Miami, aims to make it easier for US retailers to extend their reach into China by tapping into the popularity of livestreaming, which is more advanced there than in the US.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, the company recently raised $6.1m in seed funding from Forerunner Ventures and Union Square Ventures, with further participation from Founder Collective, SV Angel and GGV Capital, among others.

Liyia Wu, founder and CEO of ShopShops, explained in a press release outlining the funding, that she also intends to expand her company’s service beyond China and to take it global.

“I started ShopShops to eliminate all geographical borders for fashion lovers, and to incorporate elements of discovery and fun into the online shopping experience,” she said.

“With today’s technology, there’s no reason why everyone can’t go shopping in local boutiques and mass market retail stores around the world, without having to step one foot outside their own home.”

In essence, ShopShops is a livestream, interactive global shopping marketplace that connects brick and mortar retailers with consumers on their mobile devices.

Its unique proposition is to host a live interactive shopping broadcast at a physical store that Chinese consumers can tap into, with bilingual hosts answering their queries, offering feedback and even trying on products.

According to ShopShops, its hosts – who often take part in these events before a store’s official opening hours – are a “new kind of social influencer that can convert interactions directly into sales”.

Another advantage is that consumers are able chat to a store’s manager or owner, if they want to, so enhancing their experience.

International luxury brands are also jumping on China’s livestreaming craze, Jing Daily reported recently, with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Dior and many more now livestreaming their fashion shows on social media platforms.

Sourced from Wall Street Journal, ShopShops; additional content by WARC staff