“Today’s consumers crave easy access to product recommendations and simplified online shopping more than ever before,” said Eric Nyman, Hasbro’s chief consumer officer, in a statement.
Hasbro is not the only big retailer investing in livestream shopping. Ulta Beauty, American Eagle and Kohl’s are among the retailers running events this holiday season. It’s a smart way for brands to take advantage of consumers, eager to shop, who might be more receptive to product demonstrations or celebrity recommendations. Hasbro rival Mattel did not return a request for comment about holiday plans.
Executives who are familiar with the livestream platform said the strategy is often about more than just racking up sales—it could be an opportunity for Hasbro and its brands to improve engagement with its core customers, for example.
“With livestream, there’s lots of goals you can achieve—it’s not necessarily always an end game, not always closing a sale,” said Christine White, senior marketing director at Ulta Beauty, said during a panel discussion today the Ad Age Next: Streaming conference. “It’s probably starting with understanding what is the connection you need to create with your consumer and how can you best do it—figuring out those formats early on is crucial to success.” Ulta will be running a TikTok livestream shopping event this year for the holidays.
But brands still need to make sure they are entertaining and educating about products, experts say. When pet retailer Petco hosted a doggie fashion show earlier this year, looks went too fast down the runway and consumers missed seeing the actual products, Jay Altschuler, Petco’s VP of media transformation, said at the Streaming conference. “We learned the pacing is critical,” he said. “We need to give consumers the time to learn and gauge and understand the products.”
For Hasbro, the livestream offering expands an already growing entertainment division for the Pawtucket, R.I.-based company. In its most recent quarter, entertainment revenue was up 76% due to TV programs like “Yellowjackets” and films such as “My Little Pony: A New Generation.” For the quarter, reported in late October, total revenue rose 11% to $2 billion. Despite some supply chain issues, which could result in fewer products on shelves, executives are planning to double down on advertising this holiday.
“We have aggressive advertising plans for this holiday season, shifting more dollars this year into the fourth quarter, to drive point of sale,” said Deb Thomas, Hasbro’s chief financial officer, in prepared management remarks following earnings. “We will, however, closely match this expense with inventory availability.”
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