How live stream shopping could propel "hybrid" event innovation

Forced digital advancements have allowed the events industry to reach audiences amid the global pandemic. Now, "hybrid" events combine the best of in-person and virtual formats: They offer engaging face-to-face connections and immersive online experiences that can compel previously inaccessible audiences.

New research from LinkedIn, based on interviews with more than 1,800 marketers across 13 countries, shows how rapidly things have changed. Of these, 85% had held a virtual event in the last year and 28% said that between 91-100% of their events are now virtual.

Although 75% of the marketers surveyed want to continue to host virtual events over a year from now, 78% said they wanted in-person events to return once it’s safe to do so. Despite this, the move towards completely in person events is tentative. Event marketers are anticipating that in the near future events will be 40% virtual, 36% in-person and 24% hybrid events that combine the best of both worlds.

As opposed to a one-time, face-to-face interaction, a digital live stream event environment delivers content to both live and on-demand audiences. This allows organisers to deliver the concept of the "continuous event" to generate ongoing engagement with a core audience even after the live event ends.

Several key events will be exploring this innovative new hybrid approach including London Fashion Week, London Wine Fair and Watches and Wonders in Geneva. Vital advancements in interactive video technology could see brands harness live stream shopping to connect businesses and consumers throughout their 2022 events and beyond.

London Fashion Week 2022

Running from Friday 18 to Tuesday 22, February, the event will be a physical-digital hybrid, with catwalk shows, presentations, appointments and events from over 131 designers.

This is not LFW's first hybrid event and certainly won't be the last. Advancements in live stream technology mean that viewers are given a front row seat to the shows from home. Events can be accessed via the website as this new, accessible and inclusive format has given emerging creatives a crucial platform to reach new audiences. As a result, hybridisation has made fashion week even easier to explore.

Last year, LFW explored interactive and shoppable video options with the luxury accessory brand, SEVDA LONDON. Presented by the British Fashion Council, the form of streaming commerce features women modelling the brands latest handbag release. The viewer can click on the products to find out more and the option to "SHOP" with the call-to-action. Consumers can also click to reveal the side bar that shows the whole collection to shop the video.

2022 could see LFW explore more immersive digital formats. Live stream shopping has been a highly talked about subject throughout 2021 and into 2022 with viewers tuning into their favourite designers in real-time to shop the hottest collections from streams. This conversational, entertaining channel not only connects designer brands with customers but creates a community for fashion enthusiasts to discuss, learn and engage.

Watches and Wonders Geneva 2022

From March 30th to April 5th 2022, the city will be the epicentre of the watchmaking world for the first physical edition of Watches and Wonders Geneva.

The event has been maintained digitally over the last two years and has confirmed how important gathering watch industry experts at the event can be in generating business and dialogue.

This year, W&W Geneva 2022 will have a hybrid format, with both a physical event, for those attending in Geneva, and a digital version, via the platform. New product presentations, new launches, keynotes, panel discussions and talks can therefore be followed on-site, but also remotely, via the online platform, either live or in replay.

Almost 40 watch and jewellery Maisons representing the main industry players will be present. Alongside the prestigious brands and leading Maisons, the Carré des Horlogers will play host to 15 independent artisan-creators. Guests will have an opportunity to discover or rediscover each brand, by literally touching the exceptional pieces on show for the very first time.

The event poses a key opportunity for brands to utilise live stream shopping technologies. As a hybridised event, customers could shop in person and online with streaming commerce giving at home viewers a fantastic window to connect with the event and purchase exclusive pieces in real-time.

London Wine Fair 2022

The organisers of the London Wine Fair have revealed that 2022’s spectacle will take place as a hybrid event for the first time, with a combination of live and digital elements in May.

Retailers and brands will be able to buy, sell and discover wine, browse virtual stands by producer, importer, grape type, region and wine name and order samples to their door. There will also be unmissable tastings and masterclasses. Plus, the intelligent AI-powered matchmaking platform ensures brands and consumers can make meaningful connections.

"We are now looking forward to this year being a real milestone both for The Fair, celebrating its 40th live event, but also in terms of how physical and virtual elements can dovetail to make a really ground-breaking event. From speaking with our exhibitors, we know there is a huge appetite for getting back to Olympia and back to normal trading and we look forward to delivering a really special 40th London Wine Fair in 2022.”

Said Hannah Tovey,  event director of London Wine Fair.

Live stream shopping experiences have the ability to transport consumers virtually to events. Brands can learn more about Winemakers and find their perfect product thus replicating the benefits of in person events, online with streaming commerce.