Is Direct Buying the Future of Retail?



I’m sitting on my couch, looking at my phone as I watch Noah Thomas, a pitchman wearing glasses like Willy Wonka’s, sell a pair of Adidas sneakers via a live broadcast. “Adidas killed him lately!” Mr. Thomas reassures viewers before checking the brand’s recent collaborations and some facts about its history. It takes him a few minutes to access the sneaker on offer, but he insists that it is “a very coveted shoe” as the cameraman walks around the box that has not yet been opened. . “Here we go, boom, the beautiful ZX 10000 C,” he shouts, pulling out the all-white shoe. Mr. Thomas quickly goes over details like the rubber outsole and neon yellow lace-up strap. A few minutes later, he switches to a gray pair and redo all the spiel.

This frenzied digital shopping experience took place on Ntwrk, a three-year-old live shopping app that could be billed as “QVC for Hypebeastsâ€. At set times, store owners, designers and celebrities like famous jeweler Ben Baller and former “HQ Trivia” host Scott Rogowsky host live broadcasts to show everything they’re selling that day. . The feeds are like extended infomercials, with enough uses of ‘sick’ or ‘dope’ to suggest that Ntwrk’s target audience is primarily those born after, say, 1985.


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