We talked to Adi Ronen Almagor of buywith about Livestream shopping platform and COVID-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Adi Ronen Almagor: We are good. Thank you.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded buywith.
Adi Ronen Almagor: I started my career in the digital marketing and internet industry. I was in charge of the bloggers’ division in the Israeli Reddit called “Tapuz”. Afterward, I was the head of content at one of the biggest travel agencies and managed a team of content writers.
Since I was a child, I loved entrepreneurship and the eco-system. Both my father and mother worked in the high-tech industry as engineers and managers. 3 years ago, I had an idea. Over then, I thought it was a great idea, but we needed to pivot it a few times for it to be a really great idea. During this process, I found my true passion and destiny as a startup entrepreneur.
After participating in the New York Fashion Tech Lab accelerator, we understood a need in the retail, fashion, and beauty industries to find tools that help them monetize influencer marketing and get better ROI for those budgets. So, we at buywith developed a Livestream shopping platform that enables brands to use influencers, experts, celebrities, and store representatives to host virtual shopping events on the e-commerce site and create sales and high engagement.
How does buywith innovate?
Adi Ronen Almagor: We developed a unique technology that creates an exciting experience of shopping online with my favorite influencers and thousands of viewers, as well as buying the products during or after the live session. Think Live Instagram but on the e-commerce site. The influencer can navigate the site from product to product, give her/ his tips and recommendations, add value, create trust, and help the users purchase the right items for them.
This technology fits the new consumer habits of Millennials and Gen Z, who consume based on influencers’ recommendations and live video experience.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Adi Ronen Almagor: As we all know, COVID-19 affected the entire world and economics. We were lucky to be on the good side of the pandemic. The Livestream shopping trend got stronger! Before the pandemic, Livestream Shopping was strong mainly in China (a $63B market), and brands in Europe and the US started to try it out as well. Once COVID-19 started, brands and retailers started to understand that they must find ways to stay engaged with their audience virtually and monetize.
Today, during the pandemic, our clients are the top brands mainly from the fashion and beauty verticals, use our technology to launch new collections or sales virtually, conduct sessions with social media influencers, sessions with makeup artists, fashion stylist, and even with top models.
I believe that the pandemic accelerated the Livestream shopping trend in the west and made it a “must to have” experience instead of a “nice to have”, for brands and retailers that are actively looking these days for solutions in the field.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Adi Ronen Almagor: It’s part of being an entrepreneur! It’s crucial to listen to the market, learn, pivot, and measure.
The lean startup is valid during COVID-19! We, as entrepreneurs, need to understand the new market behavior and change the product, the team, etc. That’s the only way you can survive. Luckily, buywith’s solution had a perfect match to this crisis, and brands are reaching us out every day!
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and buywith in the future?
Adi Ronen Almagor: I’m surrounding myself with great friends, entrepreneurs, and advisors. Also, it’s always important to keep the company all the time with enough run-rate.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Adi Ronen Almagor: Our competitors are Livestream shopping apps and Livestream b2b solutions. We have major advantages. For instance, as a brand, you don’t need to do code integration to use us, as well as the end-user. You don’t need to download an app. In addition, the user experience we created is highly unique in the landscape and combines the e-commerce site. We also have some exciting things that are now under development, so stay tuned!