Saks expands livestreaming platform Saks Live for holiday

Saks is expanding its Saks Live livestreaming experience for the holidays. By leaning on its network of fashion and beauty experts, it building out its channel to engage consumers. 

Since launching Saks Live in February, the livestreaming platform on the Saks website has hosted 42 events. The retailer also participated in Klarna’s first-ever livestreaming event in February, in partnership with Cosmopolitan and other brands. Given the expansion of Saks Live so far, incorporating holiday gifting became a priority for the company. From November 2 to December 16, the Saks Live platform will host a dozen events with experts and influencers acting as hosts. They’ll include stylist Bettina Looney, influencer Chriselle Lim, socialite Nicky Hilton Rothschild and Stacey Bendet of Alice + Olivia. Since last year’s website revamp, Saks now offers shoppable editorial content, product recommendations and other personalization features to its shoppers.

Luxury fashion in the U.S. and Europe has only started to enter the livestream space, with retailers like Moda Operandi experimenting with the format. Emily Essner, chief marketing officer at Saks, hopes that more luxury players like Saks will join in the interest in livestreaming. “We’re providing an opportunity for customers to easily engage with our brand while participating in live interactions with some of the most well-known fashion and lifestyle insiders,” she said.

The Saks Live experience is powered by Bambuser, a live events platform. Brand representatives from Saks detailed the platform’s ease of use, “Customers join via the link and view the website. Then have the ability to chat directly with the presenter and shop while experiencing the event.” There is also an archiving feature on the live homepage to access and view past events. As each event has a coordinated theme, such as glam beauty or dressing staples, Saks Live is able to provide a diversified offering with both hosts and product ranges. 

U.S. retailers like Macy’s, Walmart and Nordstrom are also experimenting with livestream commerce. Shopping experiences leverage the dedicated followers of the influencers who take on the role of hosts. While the livestream market has already taken off in China, experts believe that the demand in the U.S. may not reach the same level, due to issues like the lack of engaging social platforms and the lack of dedicated audiences. However, projections for the market look promising. A report from Coresight Research suggests that livestream shopping could reach $25 billion by 2023 in the U.S. 

Saks wants to solidify its position as the leading luxury e-commerce destination in the U.S. through its partner tastemakers. “We strive to feature a mix of experts in their respective fields, including influencers,” Essner said. “Ultimately, our goal is to provide customers with insights and advice that can help enhance their personal style and lifestyle. We want to give access to engaging experts who can deliver a unique point of view.”

As the platform will be tested during retail’s busiest time, the takeaways from the holiday season will dictate whether Saks dedicates future Saks Live sessions to product categories outside of fashion and beauty.

Get news and analysis about fashion, beauty and culture delivered to your inbox every morning.