We are excited to announce our recent investment in ShopShops and welcome them to the USV network.
ShopShops is an interactive global commerce network. Right now, a group of fashion forward US based hosts livestream themselves browsing, trying on merchandise, and reviewing product across a wide array of retail stores so that Chinese shoppers can watch, comment, interact, and purchase in real time on various platforms. Over the coming months and years, this will expand to create a web that connects customers and merchants around the world in an engaged community moderated by a decentralized network of hosts. ShopShops handles payment, fulfillment, and logistics to make sure international consumers receive the goods they bought on the platform.
ShopShops is an example of our thesis around broadening access. It allows consumers to find and buy product from makers and retailers across the globe as well as connect with other users who share tastes and interests. Similarly, retailers can quickly and easily expand their reach to customers quite literally a world away.
The opportunity to build a major commerce platform that satisfies a different set of consumer needs than Amazon is particularly exciting. We believe that consumers’ desire for fun, experience, connection, and community remains strong despite the growing access to speed and convenience. Many of ShopShops users come back as much to watch and follow the hosts they feel connected with and similar to in style, shape, or personality, as well as to chat with each other, as they do to make purchases.
The progress and opportunity in livestreaming makes it the right time to start a platform like ShopShops. Real time viewing allows customers to relate to both product and community in a new way. They can interact with the hosts, who they feel inspired by and connected to, and impact the direction the stream takes. It is a combination of the fun and experience of browsing through a store with the convenience of doing it all from a mobile phone and the excitement of having a style guru you admire to help. This engagement creates not only a customer but a fanatic one that tunes in more, buys more, and is an evangelist for ShopShops.
Additionally, ShopShops offers new life to the long tail of offline retail that’s struggling with the rise of online commerce. Retailers can try the platform, sell through their merchandise, and broaden their reach in a fast and low friction way.
Lastly, Liyia Wu, ShopShops founder and CEO, is uniquely positioned to build a special platform in this category. She has a core understanding of each side of the three sided marketplace (consumer, brand, and livestreaming platform), and deep empathy for her customer and what they are looking for in both product and experience. For the first stretch of the business, Liyia both created the product and hosted all the live-streams herself. She prioritizes quick iteration to get to a product that customers don’t just use, but obsess over.
We look forward to working with Liyia and the team as they work to build a dominant global commerce platform.