Examples of trends for the Millennial parent include Tru Kids announcing it would revive the Toys ‘R’ Us brand as well as a slate of new nostalgic toys getting a second life on the retail shelf with the help of technology. Tickle Me Elmo was creating a buzz across the U.S. in 1996. Now Hasbro hopes to find similar success with the launch of Hug Me Elmo. It is one of the first dolls to hug back when it' held. Speaking of classic brands finding new life after 25 years, “The Lion King” roared once again this summer with a liveaction remake of the classic Disney tale. One of the more notable toys from the lineup included Build-A-Bear’s plush inspired by Simba and the lion crew.
However, a new decade starts that will see even greater changes for licensing and how consumers shop. Technology will be the driving force of the 2020’s, so rather than focus on specific licensed properties, let’s look at how technology is going to enable licensors, licensees and retailers to sell more licensed merchandise.
To me, the most impactful trend in the 2020’s for our business of brand licensing is the concept of “See Now-Buy Now” which is going to revolutionize how consumers shop online. While still in its nascent stage, the idea behind the “See now, Buy Now” feature is that it will become embedded in Social Commerce, Video on Demand and Gaming on Demand (Cloud Gaming).
This shopping trend has begun to take hold of ecommerce in China as a result of several key factors: 1) Significant demographic of Millennial’s and Gen Z who are digital natives. 2) Faster adoption and comfort level of mobile ecommerce. 3) The close collaboration between the Chinese entertainment and media business (Video, Gaming and Social Media) working with brands and ecommerce.
China’s advanced ecommerce technology combining Entertainment and Social media as its gateway is working its way West.
Why “See Now, Buy Now” is a natural for licensing
Traditional advertising as we know it, ads in newspapers, magazines and linear TV is giving way to new forms of integrated content marketing, in other words, products and services become integrated into the media we consume, blurring what used to be a fine line between commercial and editorial/ entertainment. On social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and BuzzFeed, the concept of social commerce is growing quickly. This can take a myriad of forms, from a Social Influencer promoting a product they love, or a Social site like BuzzFeed highlighting their Tasty Videos with Tasty products imbedded in the videos. The end goal is always to sell product. Further revolutionizing commerce beyond social media, will be integrated brands and products in our mainstream entertainment.