Livestreaming, AR, Influencers and the Future of Online Shopping

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

Livestreaming, AR, Influencers and the Future of Online Shopping

The time for online shopping is now.

The pandemic has ushered in the era of ecommerce as Americans embrace curbside pickup, next day deliveries and grocery pick-up services. There's likely no going back as an increasing number of consumers get accustomed to shopping online.

Now, retailers are taking experience to another level with streaming, data personalization, augmented reality and other features that are only likely to grow digital shopping habits.

Here are three trends sweeping ecommerce and the Los Angeles companies that are fueling it:

AR and Livestreaming Usher in New Virtual Shopping Experiences

Makeup and clothing retailers that relied on in-store shoppers have turned to augmented reality features to lure customers — from their own homes where they don't have to social distance.

YouTube and Amazon both launched livestreaming services this year, letting consumers shop for clothes or try on makeup from their phone screens. Meanwhile, Google's new augmented reality platform built with Toronto-based ModiFace pairs ecommerce sites with the virtual try-on technology.

In Los Angeles, two venture-backed livestreaming shopping companies are making waves. Popshop Live launched in 2019 and this year closed a $3 million round in July as CEO and founder Danielle Li watched users spike in a push from businesses to stay afloat.

"Retailers who have one to three locations quickly realized they're getting nearly the same amount of traffic," said Philip Soriano, Popshop Live's head of operations. "People come to us and will probably stick around even if the foot traffic comes back."

Meanwhile, L.A.-based NTWRK offers livestreamed shows featuring limited-edition gear launched by celebrities and designers. The video commerce platform, founded in 2018 and backed by Live Nation Entertainment, recently partnered with Snap to stream interviews with designers and creators about items they're preparing to drop.

Popshop LivePopshop Live Became Essential for LA Boutiques During the Shutdown. Now It's Got $3M to Grow

Entertainment and Shopping Have Teamed Up

From platforms like Popshop Live to Instagram's new Reels feature, tech companies are harnessing influencers and networks of users to promote consumer products.

As companies feel the pressure to build an online presence, many are turning to influencer marketing campaigns to ramp up sales. And marketers only expect that trend to continue.

MagicLinks, an L.A. social media marketing company, found that across a sample of 4,500 ecommerce retailers, sales directed through YouTube influencers jumped 80% year over year in the quarter from June through August. The company said influencer-driven sales were up 115% across customers, including Target, L'Oreal and Best Buy.

Other marketing agencies said they've increased budgets for influencer content since the pandemic. Even bigger companies are giving it a shot: Tito's Vodka and Superdry to name a couple.

"Any brand that wants to connect with Gen Z, and sell whatever product or service they have, has to engage (with these platforms)," Glenn Ginsburg, SVP of global partnerships at influencer marketing agency The QYOU told dot.LA. "Moving forward I think we'll see brands start to build deeper relationships with influencers."

Better Recommendations Are on the Way

Personalization has swept ecommerce as companies are ramping up product recommendations online. AI is now becoming more precise in helping companies steer shoppers toward products that fit their profile.

Gabriel Nipote is the co-founder and COO of Halla, the L.A.-based machine learning company builds algorithms for online groceries to make smarter food recommendations. Unlike retail where shoppers are comfortable, online grocery shopping is starting to gain market traction.

It's there that the gaps to machine learning are clear. For instance, some online markets during the pandemic offered customers product substitutions that didn't resemble what they ordered.

"There are special places on Twitter and Reddit for people to complain about their tortillas being replaced by bags of flour, or receiving recommendations for hygiene products while browsing bagels," Nipote said.

And because shoppers have only recently started coming around to grocery shopping online, data is still scant and difficult to draw broad conclusions from. As more shoppers fill shopping carts online, Nipote, whose startup team has doubled since March, expects more tech solutions for personalized shopping to launch in 2021.

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.


Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

Read moreShow less

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

Read moreShow less

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis ( Please send job changes and personnel moves to

Read moreShow less