Updated: Nov 8, 2021

The way we shop online is changing as we know it. With faster technical advancements, it is no wonder that retail is transforming for the better.

2021 has seen a vast majority of brands move towards more online modes of selling. The pandemic is not over yet, so many merchants are taking extra digital precautions to ensure that their revenue is not compromised by the closure of bricks and mortar stores.

Even over the past few months, Ecommerce has seen some big names develop new, innovative ways of selling with huge players including Netflix, TikTok, Samsung and more.

Netflix Hub at Walmart digital storefront goes live

Netflix Hub at Walmart is pitched as the "biggest online retail destination for Netflix consumer products in the US."

It includes a Stranger Things music collection and action figures, Squid Game apparel, Cocomelon dolls and an Ada Twist lab playset.

It also promises customers “exclusive experiences to engage with popular Netflix shows in innovative ways.”

For example, a crowdsourcing opportunity called Netflix Fan Select will allow fans the opportunity to vote for merchandise they’d like to see from favoured Netflix shows. And then Walmart merchants will bring them to life.

“More than just the go to destination for your everyday needs, Walmart is now the official one stop shop to bring your favourite Netflix stories home. Go grab your Walmart snacks, new Netflix merch and snag the best seat on the couch,” says Jeff Evans, Executive Vice President, Entertainment, Toys and Seasonal, Walmart U.S.

Gen Zs pick TikTok for Black Friday and Xmas shopping

Six in ten Gen Zs will do their Black Friday 2021 and Christmas shopping using alternative methods such as Pinterest, TikTok and Alexa, according to research by Brightpearl.

Four in ten people prefer new social buying channels, shoppable video and live shopping events as they combine entertainment and shopping - much like traditional malls do.

But what is shoppable video or shoppable content?

This can range from on-demand video to live stream shopping events. Content has an interactive video overlay that viewers can click to bring up product information. This could be colour, price, size, links to product pages or even the option to add the item to their bag. With 57% of 18- to 24-year-olds turning to non-traditional ways of spending over the last year, these formats have seen a huge increase in popularity and ROI.

In 2021, Gen-Z shoppers look towards brand apps or even social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram for shoppable video solutions. As a result, brands are harnessing the power of interactive video platforms to create dynamic and immersive clickable content that not only engages, but informs and converts. Live stream shopping events have proven to be especially effective at creating a sociable and personalised way to shop online with the realtime element pushing impulse purchases.

Samsung took advantage of shoppable video technology to provide customers with an exclusive event where they could buy discounted products in realtime:

Forget offline vs online. The big word in retail is hybrid

Despite rapid advancements in streaming commerce to push more users online, this does not mean brands should abandon in person commerce. The key word now is hybrid, that is, the blurring of online and offline and the pursuit of one customer experience.

If you want proof, look no further than Amazon, which last week opened the doors to the first Amazon 4-star store outside of the US.

Customers can purchase online and collect orders at the store as soon as the next day. It also offers parcel free, label free returns for items purchased both in store and online.

Digital price tags are located alongside each product with the item price, average star rating, and the number of customer reviews.

Amazon account holders will pay the price as they would on the UK site. Prime members will receive exclusive perks and deals throughout the store.