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Live Flea Market: Live Shopping as a New Tech Trend

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Status: 31/07/2022 08:25

Live shopping platforms are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. At WhatNot, collectors can sell used items such as baseball cards, stamps or action figures.

By Marcus Schuler, ARD Studio San Francisco

Jen sells second-hand clothes every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday on the WhatNot internet platform. Her husband is not visible to the user: he runs the computer in the background, activating new auctions. Jen lives in Clemmons, North Carolina. His channel has about 85 live viewers.

Sometimes the sound cuts out

Grant and his team, on the other hand, are already playing in the Premier League at WhatNot. The channel has about 400 viewers on average. Viewers don’t seem to mind that the sound sometimes cuts out or the camera shakes. Grant and his pals sell coveted baseball and football team trading cards. Some card collections cost several thousand dollars.

Whatnot is a mix of ebay, flea market and YouTube live streaming. The platform is one of the fastest growing online marketplaces in the United States. “We call ourselves a live shopping platform,” says its co-founder Greg Lafontaine. “What sets us apart from the rest of the market is that we broadcast live and we have social media features.”

Anyone can open their own live shopping channel on WhatNot.

Image: whatnot.com screenshot

Offer for the “Smartphone Generation”

In 2019, Lafontaine left her job at Facebook in Silicon Valley and moved to Los Angeles in Southern California. He founded the WhatNot platform there with his friend Logan Head the same year. The original idea: collectors should be able to sell baseball cards, rare toys or comic books in an interactive online environment.

The 34-year-old says today’s generation has grown up with smartphones. However, many online platforms have not developed further. The average viewer spends two hours a day on the platform watching videos and chatting with other members.

If you want to sell items on WhatNot, you can do so at an auction or at a fixed price. In the meantime, used electronics, clothing, and artwork are also sold here. The palette grows every month. Anyone who already has a large following on social networks such as YouTube, Instagram, TikTok or Twitch will find it easier to use WhatNot. Salespeople don’t have to start from scratch.

Vertical take-off thanks to venture capital

Co-founder Lafontaine secures venture capital despite looming US recession. Just last week, WhatNot received another $260 million in funding in Los Angeles. The company is currently valued at $3.7 billion.

The platform currently has 170 employees at its Los Angeles headquarters. In January 2021, there were eleven employees. By the end of this year, 300 people are expected to work at WhatNot.

This industry is already booming in China. It already achieves a turnover of 600 billion dollars. Companies like Amazon and Facebook are also experimenting with live sales channels. At Amazon, however, they look much more like professional television. The amateur nature of many channels on WhatNot makes the offer all the more attractive.

New technology trend: live shopping

Marcus Schuler, ARD Los Angeles, July 27, 2022 10:57 a.m.

Source www.tagesschau.de

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