buywith, a Livestream shopping platform startup, announced today (Wednesday) that it has completed a $9.5 million seed round led by igniteXL Ventures, with participation from Fab Co-Creation Studio Ventures, Alibaba.com’s former President of North America and Europe, John Caplan and GM of North America, Kevin Ambrosini, Regah Ventures, Irani CVC, the venture arm of Factory54, and True Global Ventures.
Riding the wave of online shopping
Though the days of in-person shopping aren't fully over, there has been a clear trend in shopping online; whether you don't have time to go to the store, would rather avoid the crowds due to COVID-19, or simply like to stay in your PJ’s and do your shopping from the comfort of your own home, online shopping is on the rise. But different companies offer different online shopping experiences, such as Livestream shopping. Livestream shopping has gained popularity because live commerce is a key to increasing eCommerce conversion rates. And so, Livestream shopping is the next step in the evolution of eCommerce, bound to become the natural way buyers shop, as they are seeking better value, information, and a more engaging and immersive shopping experience. There has been a rapid growth of this channel in the East, and the trend is expected to follow in the West; in 2021 there was $300 billion spent in global Livestream Shopping sales, and the trend is projected to surpass $35 billion in the U.S. by 2023.
Israeli startup buywith is one company that has entered the Livestream shopping market. But unlike other Livestream shopping solutions, buy with hosts live shopping sessions directly on the brand's website, meeting the customers where they are and increasing the conversion rate to unprecedented levels in eCommerce. Retailers and brands use the buywith platform to host on-site Livestream shopping events featuring influencers, experts, and brand representatives, and an unlimited number of viewers can shop live and interact with the hosts and brand. Moreover, buywith does not require app downloads or code integration and creates a turnkey "Shop with Me" experience. They have also launched a self-serve marketplace where brands can select the host for their Livestream shopping sessions directly from the buywith’s growing vetted content creators’ community —this is another unique selling point that enables brands to easily scale their Livestream shopping campaigns with influencer-led sessions.
And so, using buywith creates increased integration, acquisition, and engagement with customers. With their platform’s fast and easy-to-implement technology, users can have an engaging, interactive, and guided shopping experience, which until now has only been experienced in physical retail stores. Since approximately 30% of shoppers walk out of a physical retailer having bought something, while today's eCommerce results in ~4% conversion rates globally, buywith is aiming to close this gap.
buywith already has partnerships with fortune 500 companies like Walmart, and other global brands like Steve Madden, and Charlotte Tilbury, as when they use buywith, companies delivered an 8X increase in eCommerce conversions, an increase of ~40% session engagement rate, and an average 10x ROI. With their success so far, the seed capital will be used to continue its growth; the company will use the investment to meet surging customer demand and grow its sales, marketing, and R&D teams across the globe, focusing on North America.
“Our makeup artists and social media influencers conducted dozens of live shopping sessions. By utilizing the technology, we achieved very high sales conversion and engagement rates. We also uniquely engaged with our audience. ״ - Alexandra Perry, Head Of Retail Marketing, Omnichannel, and Innovation at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.
buywith was founded in 2018 by Adi Ronen Almagor (CEO) and Eyal Sinai (CTO). It has offices in Tel Aviv, has recently registered a place in the U.S., and is opening offices in the UK to expand its European market presence.