The transformation of any industry occurs due to the emergence of new opportunities, for example, new technologies, or changes in external factors, such as the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. As the world went into the biggest lockdown ever, people had to look for new ways to make money, have fun and shop from the comfort of their homes.
Thus, technologies such as live streaming, combined with online shopping, have led to the emergence of livestream commerce, which has contributed to the digitalization of the shopping culture.
The new trend was especially welcomed by the Chinese. The revolution of the Chinese live shopping online market is impressive. For example, the audience of “live-streaming queen” Viya reached 43.15 million people during one broadcast. And on the Taobao marketplace, where the first live streams with sales allegedly began, the streamer sold 55 cars per second, setting one of the world records.
Live streaming vendors now trade everything from fresh fish to rare collectibles, including NFTs. They lure shoppers with sweepstakes, discount coupons, and live-streamed product benefits, creating a sense of urgency and scarcity. At the same time, video streaming software developers are constantly creating new features for more diverse and exciting shopping, which includes gamification and entertainment shows using VR technology.
As a result, video shopping streams have become not just a new way to buy something without leaving home, but also a virtual place for shoppers to hang out. Why not? Here they can chat with like-minded shopaholics, send reactions to advertised products, ask questions of experts, and maybe even famous influencers.
It is no wonder why, given all the benefits of using live commerce as an effective marketing method, European countries and the United States are also trying to catch up with China’s success in this area.
How does live commerce create value?
Live commerce helps to add value and differentiation to a brand, and also attracts additional web traffic. By means of a media channel, a real performance is arranged for the client, the main object of which is the advertised product or service.
Viewers like to watch something new, creative and inspiring. And with the right use of live commerce tools, streams will be exciting and intriguing, keeping the already gathered customers for a long time and attracting new ones.
Another area where live commerce has worked well is conversion. Some brands, having successfully demonstrated their marketing skills with live streams, have increased conversion rates up to 30%. For comparison: the conversion rate that online stores bring is 10 times lower. In addition to being easy and fun to watch, well-designed streams have another feature that works well for a quick increase in sales. It’s a special tactic of creating a sense of urgency and scarcity with time-limited promotions, coupons, and limited collections.
Benefits of Live Commerce for Brands
The effect of the show gives the audience a “feeling of complete immersion”, will interest potential shoppers and involve them in communication. In this way, the distance between the brand and the audience is reduced, and trusting relationships are built. Well, trust is the key to success.
Livestream shopping platforms is a convenient technological solution that simplifies communication between the brand and the end consumer, allows tracking the results, and also helps to evaluate the effectiveness of implementing the live format on the brand’s e-commerce website.
Thanks to livestream shopping, brands can:
- demonstrate a high level of personalization and service;
- increase engagement and the level of returns to the site;
- increase brand awareness and credibility;
- attract additional loyal traffic, especially representatives of generation Z;
- capture the attention of users for a long time;
- stimulate purchases through various mechanics – promotional codes for a discount, gifts and deadlines;
- increase the level of trust in the product due to the credibility of the blogger and the openness of the brand;
- increase conversion rates and sales;
- quickly get feedback on goods, reduce the production cycle and supply chain;
- get a unified IT platform that allows storing, processing and transferring data on customers, stocks, orders, payments, service level and more;
- collect and process real-time customer analytics to provide a personalized customer experience based on data collected across all channels.
Live Stream Shopping: Trending Technology or Future Standard?
To answer this question, you need to travel back in time to 1994, when shopping from home began to take off. By this time, many people have become accustomed to ordering goods that they have seen in the mail catalog or on TV, by phone. However, in the same year, a new way to purchase goods at any time of the day directly from home appeared – this is an online shopping service, requiring a PC or Macintosh equipped with a modem. In August 1994, the New York Times wrote about the first Internet retail transaction where a user bought a CD by Sting.
A year later, Amazon.com and Ebay entered the online marketing arena. It was then that the society very actively began to discuss futuristic super-innovative possibilities. In general, people understood that e-commerce would revolutionize the shopping experience. However, there were also many concerns regarding hackers, scams, security, and obscene content. Newspapers often urged readers to refrain from entering bank card details online, citing insufficient fraud protection. Perhaps they were paid for by tele-shops and ordinary retailers, disgruntled with the loss of their customers.
What we see now unequivocally proves that progress has overcome any fears and concerns. People make online purchases by entering their card details without hesitation. They chose speed and convenience, they chose the future. And even those who, for some reason, refused to enjoy the benefits of online shopping, probably gave up during the lockdown.
Live Stream Shopping has even more advantages over conventional online shopping. In addition, society is now more prone to digitalization than the society in the 90s, when the emergence of new technologies really frightened with its futuristic nature. Online shopping has become a bridge to make the transition from traditional in-store shopping to livestream shopping less painful.
Therefore, we can confidently conclude that livestream shopping is the future standard, and the future is not far off.
Key Characteristics of Livestream Ecommerce
To maximize the success of selling through live-streamed videos, they must have the following necessary features:
- Cross-Platform Integration.
If your brand has a website, but you don’t have your own streaming app yet, you can use ready-made solutions, which are full on the market. When choosing a platform, look for one that can easily integrate into your site, preferably without losing video quality and feature set. The interface of some platforms can be customized and branded, so you can customize it to match the design of your store.
Thus, you will increase traffic to your site and the client will not be distracted by your competitors’ products, as if you were streaming on some huge marketplace.
If you don’t have a website, consider social media platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, or e-commerce marketplaces where viewers can watch your streams and buy products without leaving a live video.
- High level of interactivity, communication and gamification.
It is very important that the stream viewers are fully involved in what is happening, interacting with the host, sending reactions and questions, as well as chatting with other stream viewers.
The possibility of direct interaction of stream participants in live mode is the main difference from watching regular video reviews. This is, in fact, comparable to going to a regular store where you can consult directly with a sales assistant. To achieve this, it is necessary that the platform has a clear and interactive interface with a full set of tools, such as chat, emoticons, etc.
The host will also need to be smart and lively in order to activate passive viewers. Encouragement in the form of discount coupons, prize draws, and sometimes a good sense of humor will help increase the involvement of viewers.
- Creating a feeling of scarcity and urgency.
To speed up live-streaming sales, streamers often trigger viewers’ urgency, making them believe that they need to seize the moment, otherwise the chance to take advantage of a bargain will be missed.
This can be achieved in the following ways:
Increased discounts and a large number of gifts: the product may be available all year round, but discounts and gifts will exclusively go to people who attended the online event. In order to distinguish between the loyal stream audience and ordinary users who accidentally stumble upon a product at a discount, some companies require that live viewers enter a unique promo code at checkout, which entitles them to even more gifts and cashback. The promo code is spoken at some random moment in the stream, which encourages users to stay longer. This practice also helps users develop a mental model that equates livestreaming to receiving special discounts and gifts.
Limited stock of goods: the number of discounted goods is usually limited. The facilitator may emphasize, “Only 7,000 units left at such a crazy price.”
Time-limited Coupons: A lot of live streamers receive $3-5 coupons that expire within a few hours. This tactic encourages users to make quick and impulsive purchases.
Rewards and giveaways for users who made a purchase during the stream. During the live broadcast, the presenter periodically announces a surprise giveaway, in which only those viewers who have purchased something can participate. These bonus prizes further motivate users to make a purchase.
Companies profiting from livestream shopping today
To make sure whether your business really needs live commerce or not, will help examples of companies that are already working in this area.
Nordstrom is a luxury department store chain and one of the largest fashion retailers in the United States.
The company began experimenting with new sales formats even earlier, reducing the number of department stores in favor of an online store. And in 2021, Nordstrom is taking things a step further by entering the live e-commerce market with its Livestream Shopping channel. Now regular streams host famous personalities and experts who share the latest tricks, tips and trends in the fashion and beauty industry.
Nordstrom reported net income of $20 million in the first quarter of 2022, almost 40% of which came from its websites and apps. In the Digital Commerce 360 database, which sorts online stores by online sales, Nordstrom is ranked 20th.
Tommy Hilfiger, the world-famous clothing brand, has also shown great results by trying out live streaming sales. The brand not only managed to reach 14 million viewers for its online shopping stream, but also sold all their hoodies in less than 2 minutes.
According to ecommerceDB analytics, the brand’s e-commerce revenue has increased compared to previous years, and amounted to $382.7m in 2021.
We already mentioned this company when we dived into the history of the development of the retail industry. Amazon was one of the first to rise to the challenge of progress and experience the benefits of e-commerce. In 2019, Amazon began to take advantage of live streaming shopping by launching its streaming service. On the platform of the e-commerce giant, dozens of leading brands stream simultaneously, bringing huge income to their owners.
Live Commerce Best Practices
Research your brand, audience and competitors
Before you start incorporating live stream shopping into your marketing strategy, think about your audience and what video streams would suit them and which platforms would be the right place to host them.
Consider whether your brand has enough presence online, on social media like Facebook, TikTok or Instagram. Keep in mind the communication channels you use to connect with your customers and the social media they use. Also, study your competitors who have already explored this area: their successes and failures. All this will help you build the right strategy and use all the tools of live commerce as efficiently as possible.
Select your ad products, video format and streaming platform
Choose the products or services of your company that you are going to talk about in your stream. Think about the benefits they have, what makes them stand out from your competitors.
Also, decide on the video format, whether it will be a tutorial, an online auction, a direct sale, or an online event dedicated to some kind of holiday, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In the future, these formats can be experimented with by adding new ones.
If your brand doesn’t have a website, but has an active social media page like Instagram or Facebook, use those networks’ streaming platforms and tools. Thus, it will be easier for you to bring your audience together, which is already on these social networks.
If your company has its own website, choose a platform that is easy to integrate into your virtual environment while maintaining quality and customizing functions for your business needs.
In order to create a serious image for your brand and fully adapt the possibilities of live commerce to the needs of your business, you should consider developing your own streaming platform.
Let everyone know about your scheduled stream
Make an intriguing teaser about your live commerce event and share it on social media. Make an email newsletter, informing your customers about it. Don’t forget to mention the nice bonuses that those who join the stream can get.
Be creative and natural when streaming
While there should be a set stream plan, don’t get too attached to it in order to sound natural and authentic. The audience will immediately notice the memorized text and insincerity, which will only push them away from continuing to watch.
Avoid monotonous enumeration of your product’s benefits. You don’t want to make your viewers fall asleep, do you? Remember how the marketers of a new phone model, emphasizing its indestructibility, broke nuts with it or threw it out of the window. Be unpredictable and creative in how you present your product. Make jokes, use elements of gamification, in other words, put on a show!
Reward your audience
Your customers and potential customers have given you attention and time by joining the stream, which means their trust and loyalty should be rewarded. This can be done through contests, quizzes, gift baskets, or other gifts. Some hosts notify the audience that during the stream, a unique promo code will be spoken. Since the time and context of when it will be spoken is unknown, viewers are encouraged to stay in the stream longer.
Invite co-hosts and interesting guests
Influencers, who may be popular bloggers, celebrities, or experts in your field, can help build trust in your brand. In addition, a fairly popular person can attract their subscribers to you and your audience, and subsequently your clientele, will grow many times after just one stream with the right guest.
End your stream properly
As the stream nears its end, make a catchy call to action. For example, follow a link to buy a product. Also, invite viewers to join the next live broadcast. Remember: your audience is potential regular customers.
After studying the opinions of experts, cases, statistics and prerequisites, we came to the conclusion that live commerce is a new stage in the evolution of the retail industry, which will be with us for a long time. Therefore, now is the time to contact a video streaming app development company that will help you set the right strategy and integrate e-commerce solutions specifically into your business.