At 28 years old, Vikki Jeff left her secure paralegal job at Land Rover during Covid-19 to pursue her dream of becoming a presenter. OOOOO – the UK’s new number one shopping app and video commerce and entertainment platform has allowed her do just that.
OOOOO is a live-streaming video commerce platform that helps people earn a living doing what they love. Not only that, Sam Jones, the co-founder of OOOOO, has just launched an initiative where buskers/musicians perform live on the OOOOO app and make money from the sales of the products being sold. Luke Gittens, the first musician on OOOOO, made £500 in one hour.
The company was founded in 2020 by Jones (ex-Wish) and Eric Zhang (ex-TikTok) and they have offices in Oxford and Shanghai. OOOOO have studios in their offices in Oxford and are building studios in offices across the UK. They have also created a studio in Soho London, for creators to use, to access stock 24/7.
The app follows a mega trend in China for live shopping, already estimated to be worth US $180 billion a year in sales. Through the OOOOO platform, consumers can access real people reviewing real products in live shows, which they can buy in a couple of clicks from the OOOOO app. For merchants, OOOOO is a trusted layer helping to sell more products to informed consumers. This saves brands having to use the likes of Facebook or Google to find consumers.
OOOOO helps creators start businesses from their bedroom with a smartphone app – without worrying about marketing, logistics or inventory.
The app launched in November 2020 selling cosmetics products in the UK, with many live shows each day. Since then 100 plus brands have joined the exciting platform.
Oxford-based British entrepreneur, Jones is the former managing director at eCommerce unicorn, Wish (which is currently valued at US $14 billion). He spent many years living in Hong Kong witnessing the rush of live shopping in China and wanted to bring it to the west. Jones joined forces with China-based partner Zhang, a founding member of the successful consumer app Musical.ly, which was acquired by Bytedance and renamed TikTok. Zhang joined OOOOO from TikTok where he was a senior engineering lead.
As they watched TikTok climb to two billion downloads, the pair saw a space in the market for social shopping outside of China and quickly formed a team, which currently consists of 35 people globally.
The premise of OOOOO is to connect merchants with consumers via live shows, and reward the community for growing the user base, instead of buying adverts from platforms like Facebook. This has been a growing trend in China with apps like Pinduoduo which started in 2015, offering discounts to users who bring friends to the app. Pinduoduo is now valued at US $208 billion dollars.
As an example of how Pinduoduo works, a user can buy a product for US $100 dollars, or they can bring several friends to the platform and all buy for US $70. Basically, the platform is saving money buying ads – and passes this benefit directly to the consumer. This is social commerce.
OOOOO have been busy recruiting real people to make videos from their homes and learn how live commerce works. This includes training, but the company is at pains to ensure that people remain as real as possible. Jones said: “The last thing we want is fake salespeople, there are enough of those on TV. We want real people who only share products that they love. If they do this, we pay a % of commission to them. We help them build a brand and a business for them online.”
OOOOO now have 15 people trained on the platform to run live shows. The company intend to grow this to thousands of employees worldwide.
Live shopping is already recognised as a career in China by the government, with schools teaching people how to sell. OOOOO imagine some similar ideas in the west and are already developing training courses to help people market themselves online.
The app launched in the cosmetics industry, under a channel name of cosmetics.tv in the OOOOO app. The company has become one of the world’s largest owners of domain names for this domain format – adding many other channels which they intend to launch in 2021.
OOOOO will launch the following channels in 2021, which they own, sneaker.tv, shoes.tv, handbags.tv, jewellery.tv, electronics.tv, gym.tv, toys.tv, perfume.tv, supplements.tv, drinks.tv and more.
Jones added: “Amazon are so good at what they do. We are targeting cultures, such as wine, toys, handbags – where people have high levels of passion. Where there is a culture, there is a conversation – this is best suited to a platform where there is live chat, interaction, and a chance to watch live video. This is not just a shopping platform – it should be entertainment first. Connecting people to vineyards, toy factories and people’s beauty counters, all live.”
The company set up just ahead of the Covid-19 outbreak but have accelerated as the retail industry has collapsed. Jones explains: “Our view is that the retail industry will never truly recover from this year. Instead, people will form new habits and seek new ways to earn a living. We want to be part of this inevitable shift.”
With the insane explosion of TikTok’s success and the surge in online shopping due to Covid-19, will OOOOO be the new e-commerce giant?
A Q and A with OOOOO content creator Vikki Jeff
What is your Insta handle?
What is your YouTube channel?
Bloom With Vikki: youtube.com/channel/UCSOCP3ql4Sx_TBrdIijnf1Q
What is your profession?
As of Monday, I am a full time OOOOO presenter! Previously I was a paralegal at Jaguar Land Rover where I provided advice for marketing, advertising and sponsorship.
Where are you from?
Sarratt – near Watford, Hertfordshire.
Where are you currently living?
Sutton Coldfield (Birmingham).
What’s your story and how did you become a content creator?
I’ve always loved creating videos and have done it in my free time for years. I loved drama at school and always secretly wanted to be a presenter. But I was (and still am) a massive geek and loved to learn. When it came to choosing what to do after school (10 years ago now), I shied away from chasing my presenter career ‘dreams’ and thought I’d do something ‘sensible’ – so I did law.
Content creation wasn’t really a thing back then, and certainly not a career pathway! Having gone down the legal route and spent the last three years as a paralegal at Jaguar Land Rover, when the pandemic kicked in, it really started to sink in that you only live once – anything could happen tomorrow, so why not chase your dreams? I’d had the idea of setting up a YouTube channel for years, but never had the balls.
At the start of last year, I bit the bullet and started my YouTube channel – ‘Bloom With Vikki’, providing careers advice for students and graduates. It started to take off and I loved it. I was researching, content writing and filming my videos every spare minute I had. From that came a cheeky stint in the summer with MTV (I was cast as the waitress on Celebrity Ex In the City), and after that, my dreams of being a presenter came flooding back. And then, this little thing called OOOOO came up.
Before I knew it, I was being invited to be a super creator on the show, doing lives and creating tonnes of video content, and the next thing, I’m quitting my paralegal job and joining OOOOO as their full time presenter! It’s been a whirlwind year, but now I’m starting out on the career pathway of my dreams with the most incredible new company with the most amazing team, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Why did you join OOOOO?
My first ever job was as a sales assistant John Lewis in the beauty / fashion accessories department, and I loved it. I’m a proper beauty, fashion, handbags, shoes junkie. As an OOOOO presenter – presenting and talking about amazing products and creating videos every day – it’s a combo of everything I love! I’ve always wanted to be part of a start-up too, so I am thrilled to be a part of the amazing journey that OOOOO has started.
What do you love about the app?
Before I buy anything online, I have to read the customer reviews first. Bad reviews = I am not parting with my money. OOOOO gives you a chance to get a real insight and taste for products before you part with your cash, which I think in genius. It’s real people providing real, honest reviews. OOOOO only lets us promote products we love. Every content creator has their own vibe and story. Everything about the app is fresh, fun, and fast-paced. As a content creator, it’s so easy to use and it’s evolving constantly. Real hot tech.
What is the main source of income for you?
Now I’m full-time…OOOOO!
What is the most money made using OOOOO?
All content creators on the OOOOO app have an opportunity to earn commission for any sales they make through their product reviews. I’ve done a few shows with some super-hot products that have flown off the (virtual) shelves. Some products have even sold out on the lives, so commission is amazing!
How has Covid-19 affected business?
With more people being forced to shop online, OOOOO has thrived. What’s amazing is that it offers the craziest deals whilst giving people a little bit of entertainment/fun – and something to fill their lockdown time with too. What I also love about OOOOO is that it supports smaller brands and gives them a platform to promote their products which is so important – especially right now!