Live Commerce: The Video-First Future of Online Shopping
Date: June 15, 2021
When a customer enters a brick-and-mortar store, how you greet them — along with your subsequent interactions with them — defines their shopping experience. A study shows that more than half of shoppers will return to your store if they’ve had a good customer experience. This is precisely what’s lacking from online shopping, i.e., the touch of human interaction.
Technology has evolved to become a crucial part of our everyday lives. The digital transformation has clearly affected the way we do business today. Over the last decades, online shopping has grown manifold. In 2019, the e-shopping business was worth USD 3.09 trillion and is estimated to grow to $4.8 trillion in 2021. While customers enjoy buying things in the comfort of their living room, 70% of consumers still crave real human connections.
Live commerce bridges this gap by combining the personal help of the in-store shopping experience with online convenience. Live commerce uses live streaming in eCommerce, where real-time interactions between shoppers and sellers take place. It could be for selling an actual product during a stream or simply connecting with your consumers. The benefits of live commerce, as compared to the traditional shopping channels, with its various use-cases are enormous.
Live Commerce in China
The trend of live video shopping started in China in 2018, and the graph has skyrocketed since then. In the first six months of 2020 itself, more than 10 million live commerce streams were hosted.
The world’s biggest e-commerce website, Taobao, uses live streaming to enable business owners, solo creators, and farmers to communicate the value of various products.
In 2019, star saleswoman Viya Huang sold over $45 million worth of goods on Single’s Day. AliExpress LIVE saw 320,000 goods being added to the cart during a single live streaming session. Such is the power of live streaming, and this business segment is exploding.
How Are Different Companies Using Live Commerce?
Live commerce can be used on eCommerce platforms in a multitude of ways. Let’s look at how companies are trying to reap the maximum benefits of live commerce with its different use cases.
Collaborate with Influencers
The rise of Instagram fueled the market for influencer marketing. The global influencer marketing platform market size is expected to grow from $6.0 billion in 2020 to $24.1 billion by 2025, at a CAGR rate of 32% during the forecast period.
Influencers can help you expand your reach. These influencers are personalities on social media with a large fan following base and usually provide expertise in specific areas. Invite influencers to your live streaming sessions as an expert and allow them to interact with your audiences.
When you compare the live video with product videos, the live stream gives out honest and unrehearsed feelings. It naturally connects with the audience. Here is an example of one of the world’s largest online fashion retailers — Shein, offering the latest in cutting edge style and trends. Shein hosts a live stream with different influences every week on different trending styles. It has proven to be popular among their customers, driving more views and sales. You can watch one of its previous live stream videos here.
Organize Exclusive Sale Gateway
Create real-time sales with a limited time frame by setting up a live stream. It leverages two-way communication with consumers to grow engagement and interactions and ultimately get amazing purchase conversions. In live commerce videos, you can easily provide a link to the special product or service you are trying to sell.
This tactic was once used by Kohl’s, a department store retailer, to broadcast and sell products through live commerce. During New York Fashion Week, they streamed a live view of the LC Lauren Conrad Runway, where audiences could see the clothing worn by models on the catwalk and purchase the items instantly they were looking at through Kohl’s dedicated portal. Lauren Conrad is a TV personality and fashion designer.
Launch New Collections
Use Livestreaming to reveal new products, product lines, or even any exciting news. Create hype before a live stream so that it entices your audiences’ interest to attend the stream. Maybelline did it the right way by launching its new lipstick, Lip Flush Oil, on the live stream. It sparked conversations when young women saw Maybelline’s newest spokesperson, Angelbaby, putting on the new lipstick. They left comments like, “I want that color,” and “The lipstick looks so pretty.” This created excitement around the lipstick. Fifty key influencers were invited to live-stream to their fans during the launch event.
The result was amazing. About six million people watched the live event, and Maybelline had sold 10,600 Lip Flush Oil lipsticks. It broke its own lip product sales record on Taobao at ten times the daily average.
Bring Authentic Farm to Table
Not just restricted to the fashion industry, even farmers can live-stream daily and show their audience the authentic growth in their backyard. This allows them to sell directly to consumers instead of going through any middlemen and earn more money.
In fact, this method is tried and tested. A medium-sized fruit vendor in Sichuan province, Li Ziqi — broadcasts her orchards to 220k followers. This allows her to reach a wide range of consumers — and the viewers get to support independent growers and receive fresh produce directly from the farm. Watch one of her videos here.
Display Behind-the-Scenes Look
Every live streaming video doesn’t have to be about selling a product. However, letting your audience have a sneak-peek into what exactly goes inside making a product, introducing your employees, and giving a tour of your office can help build trust amongst them.
Live streaming a company party can also be a great way to share your company culture. Many companies use these opportunities to give their viewers an exclusive sneak peek into the newly developed product. Such curiosity can attract many viewers, build a community of loyal followers, and establish a good brand name.
One good example is how NBC News Los Angeles co-anchor Adrian Arambulo takes the audience for a quick tour around the studio before the 11 pm news. She also reads comments and replies to them while showing different areas of the TV studio.
Live streaming enables you to leverage audience feedback and instantly act upon the same. For instance, businesses can test their new product on their live stream and improve it further. If the product is in its early stage, you can easily conduct a brainstorming session with your audience. This is an effective way to gather real feedback.
Furthermore, the same method can be useful in understanding which direction your live stream should go in. Let’s say, you’re conducting a live stream for a fitness class and unsure about which body part to focus on, you could simply ask your audience to vote. It shows your audience that you value their opinion, and they can establish a personal connection rather than just watching a pre-recorded webinar. You will often find influencers on Instagram conducting live polls to understand their followers’ requests.
Conducting contests on a live stream can help attract many potential customers. You can, in fact, ask participants to share a link to your live show as a part of the entry requirement. As kids, we all loved live contests on the radio. You can apply the same thing to your live stream to shake things up.
A company named PTZOptics holds live trivia games on live stream and keeps track of the correct answers to award prizes at the end. This keeps your audience engaged. Besides, you can even use the live show to announce the results of a contest to expand your reach.
Conduct Q+A Sessions
Allowing your viewers to ask questions over a live stream initiates a real conversation between the company and customers. It shows that your company welcomes transparency, which can help build trust. In fact, it’s a great way to provide a new customer service experience.
On TMON Live, viewers could ask questions and get answers through real-time chatting. They didn’t have to go through the customer service ticketing system. During a live stream, the viewers could directly communicate with the host while a staff member answered all their questions. Holding Q&A sessions can help you build a strong community of your loyal customers.
Live commerce is destined to become mainstream worldwide within a decade. In a survey, 85% of millennials in the US reported buying a product or service after watching a video. Ecommerce platforms are integrating with third-party live streaming platforms like Swirl — a live video shopping mobile Saas to engage, convert and retain more customers.
So, are you ready to take the jump?