While there are many lockdown-triggered trends that the other side of the vaccination season is unlikely to see (“quarantinis,” zoom parties, DIY hairdressing), others have already become part of the retailer’s revamped manifesto. Later this month, a new US platform called Galaxy will be launched based on two of the largest: reselling and live streaming, with citizen seller broadcasters being the main talent.
At the heart of Gen Z – a demographic largely anchored in a “Brand of Me” consumer mentality where an online side hustle is now a given – the resale element will satisfy the growing appetite for sustainability (a market , which is expected to increase globally) 93% to USD 64 billion by 2024), while the livestream component is intended to capture the equally widespread desire for real-time, preferably interactive, entertainment. A sense of community and camaraderie, more often centered on music or games, will, the founders hope, be the glue that holds them together.
Here’s who’s behind this and a deeper dive into what they have in store:
Galaxy: The new platform Splicing Resales & Livestream Commerce
Galaxy / stack
The team: Side Hustle Tech Stars, rethinking entertainment
The new e-marketplace is the brainchild of a trio of cutting-edge e-commerce meet-entertainment tech specialists – Danny Quick, Nathan McCartney and Brandon Brisbon, a new generation of techpreneur who are not in the internship halls at Stanford or at Silicon Valley, but on a steady diet of internet culture, music fandoms, and an inherent affinity for the opportunities / plight of the aforementioned side hustler.
Far from suggesting that they have no form to speak of; Quick began his career developing innovative crowdfunding campaigns for music artists. He then led strategic growth and marketing initiatives on the social e-commerce platform Fancy before moving to Beyoncé’s agency / brand Parkwood Entertainment as Head of Product. McCartney’s previous positions include new media marketing for Damon Dash Enterprises (the music industry’s post-roc-a-fella start-up, Damon Dash and Kareem ‘Biggs’ Burke), SVP at Jay Z’s music publishing and management giants Roc Nation and Head of Music at telecommunications giant Verizon VZ. Brisbon stands for Hyper-Hacking – a software architect and seasoned tech sprint champion who used to build secure communications networks for the US federal government.
The three met on SuperPhone, a platform co-founded by McCartney and American musician Ryan Leslie, to “give developers the ability to build direct relationships with fans via SMS” (also known as CRM for SMS), before they started Stacks, the umbrella company that Galaxy lives under. Specifically, Stacks raised a $ 2.5 million startup round in 2020 funded by investors such as Floodgate, RGH Capital, Homebrew, and Snapchat.
How does it work?
The starting shot will be given with around 50 “dealers”, all of whom will have a micro-broadcast channel on the platform from which they will sell directly to fans. Each was chosen to have a clear niche (high-end vintage men’s t-shirts, a particular summer dress aesthetic) and to represent a new generation of style fans who are both increasingly apathetic about the runway and what Above all, the team says, “reject fast fashion marketing hype being sold”. The shows are broadcast in real time and fully interactive, allowing any number of viewers to chat with the host.
While the live broadcast model has been running in China for a number of years (see Mogu – a website dedicated to influencer-hosted fashion sales that has been on the clock for several years) and Depop still dominates the Gen Z resale sphere (it is so ubiquitous that there is now a Depop Drama Instagram feed, devoted to portraying beef between buyers and sellers, marks the first time the two models have been combined cohesively.
There may be other challenges for aspiring gamers like By Rotation – a platform that allows users to monetize their wardrobes by lending their clothes to others. However, currently the audience is limited.
McCartney uses the transformation of virtual, predominantly playful spaces into legitimate social meeting places during the distancing and describes the experience as “grounded in a dialogue that gives the feeling of being an almost co-creative experience. In many ways, we see how it reflects elements of Twitch [the livestream video platform, predominantly used for e-sports] Here people see the broadcast areas as portals from which they can start a conversation. ”
Galaxy’s Instagram feed shows its intention to build credible, community-centric retail … [+]
Galaxy / stack
The income model
In the interest of building a credible platform, there are currently no fees for listing a show, putting it into operation, or even selling it. According to Quick: “We don’t take any commissions or fees at all. We really focus on working with the best creative entrepreneurs in the world to create meaningful value for them. “The fees appear to be introduced next year with the introduction of a subscription option for merchants who want access to tools that are available in addition to the arsenal of standard features (see below) to help them grow their business. The message is that it will always be possible to get your foot in the door while the money is still talking.
A preview of a seller spot on Galaxy
Galaxy / stack
More discord than Insta? Programming + spontaneity
McCartney wants to emphasize his goal of keeping the Galaxy developers organically engaging audiences and thus keeping their seal of approval, comparing it to another mega-platform, Discord. The purpose chat app with more than 140 million users allows users to switch between hubs and channels based on their interests.
The rationale is based on a desire to build a community of kindred spirits and storytellers (“I still believe the # 1 that defines our lives are the stories we tell ourselves and each other,” says Quick), but how easy will it be to find your trunk in the midst of the noise of the TV? At least initially, Galaxy won’t have the necessary search tools to help users find sellers based on specific interests, nor will it be able to make IRL connections, e.g. E.g. to allow viewers to see if any of the salespeople are near them (although the team suggests this could come later).
It will start with some critical signage, however. Along with some basic nudges based on users’ consumption habits, there will be a format more similar to staging gigs: i.e. a combination of social programming – lists of shows (which reflect the MO of a platform like NTWRK, which are even called “QVC meets Comic” Con ‘) and impromptu shows that were dropped without warning to add to the buzz.
Behave like small business support
The key to Galaxy’s potential success is the creator’s advocacy backbone, which so many of the founder’s careers have focused on collectively: “Digital is of course the standard now, good or bad, but we’ve actually always been massive fans of Das has the ability to emotionally bring us back to a pre-digital, more human space, ”says Quick, referring to the strong appeal of providing support to small shopkeepers and young gangs.
Dealer broadcasters will apparently all have access to a single metric dashboard that will allow them to keep track of their audience’s behavior (spending, but also personal interactions) and have flexibility in the way they sell . For example, they will have an auction tool with self-set perimeters, the ability to include trivial gamification in the mix (“as a way for people to initiate common languages”) and, from summer 2021, the ability to create videos together with other sellers, who may be questioning their fan base. The team is also looking into ways to simplify post-air communication.
A typical seller-sender dashboard that amateur enthusiasts can delve into … [+]
Galaxy / stack
Rethinking Audience & Community Mechanics
The premise of a socially collaborative video format was actually born from one of the team’s pre-Galaxy prototypes called Snacks – a social video app that allows developers / influencers to talk to fans through video-based conversation loops. It has now been disbanded, but its legacy lives on in the group’s mission to make Galaxy a more authentic, uplifting social media space, where value is based on the quality of content and real interactions, as opposed to what is currently stifling Cat fight for volume – the ‘hollow likes that require only a nanosecond of attention – to make a living.
As Quick says, “By building snacks, we saw how the incentive and monetization ecosystem for Gen Z developers has broken (i.e., chasing a bunch of followers and maybe one day trying to monetize it). This important learning has helped inspire how we built Galaxy and who we serve. If you look at TikTok and Instagram, basically an entire generation has been trained to build a huge following only to try to monetize them later. We don’t think it has to be that way; We want our creators to outweigh their earnings over their preferences right from the start. “
Will brands ever get some of the action?
Right now, Galaxy’s focus is on building the kind of peer-to-peer solidarity that conveys the sense of community required to create a platform more than the sum of its digital innovations. But it is already being discussed as a possibility. According to Quick, “We have worked closely with developers throughout our careers and I think this is an opportunity we can offer brands. We can use our deep Rolodex and relationships to connect creator-sellers with brands to reinforce the brand message and reach consumers in new ways. “
In addition, there is the possibility of a “closed loop ecosystem” where our users can understand the history of their products that they previously belonged to and see how the price of those items has changed over time. Bringing these insights to brands is a natural extension of what we’re already doing. ” But not yet. At the moment, says Quick, the aim is to support those who are “taking their economic fate into their own hands”.