Alex Macura is the founder and CMO of Your Digital Assembly. A full-funnel agency that supports online businesses with their digital growth.
We are witnessing a rewriting of retail as we know it. The see-now-want-now mentality displayed by modern consumers is driving the trend of live video shopping that we see sweeping across e-commerce and online shopping platforms.
Where did it all start? China has been way ahead of us when it comes to live video shopping. With a tech-savvy market of around 1 billion internet users, China has led the world in digital consumer markets for years. Consequently, live streaming e-commerce is a popular way to promote and sell goods through influencer streams. A livestream hosted by popular influencer Viya was part of Taobao’s Singles Day 2019 sales event that attracted more than 43 million customers. In 2022, livestream shopping is projected to reach about $423 billion in revenue in China.
The overwhelming evidence of success in the East has not gone unnoticed by e-commerce businesses in the West. Some are trying to play catch-up:
• Livestream video shopping has been called the “next big thing in retail.”
• Instagram and Instagram Live have been upgraded to include shopping capabilities.
• Facebook is working on a native livestream shopping tool, positioning itself as the new QVC.
• Walmart partnered with TikTok to offer its goods via livestream.
The long and short of it? If you own an e-commerce business and you are not planning on jumping on the live commerce bandwagon soon, you may be left behind.
What is live video shopping?
It is called many things: livestream shopping, live online shopping, live video shopping. No matter what you call it, I think it is here to stay.
To conceptualize live shopping, think of it as a slightly different way of using social media platforms: Instead of simply liking a post or following your favorite influencer, you can now directly purchase the products they promote right there and then.
Why does it work?
There’s still something powerful about human connection and the value of discovery—wandering into your favorite store, having interesting conversations, learning stories behind the products and getting inspired. Live video shopping gives all of this and more.
Brick-and-mortar stores can deliver a personalized shopping experience to their customers by tending to their needs and wants in person when they walk through the door. When e-commerce transformed the retail landscape, people exchanged traditional, personalized shopping for convenience and comfort. Order from anywhere in the world, and it is delivered straight to your front door.
But consumers want more.
Live stream shopping brings the age-old practice of in-store personalization into online times. Except, instead of a shop assistant, the person advising you is a social influencer who loves and uses the products that you are sure to love and use. Same concept, different channel.
Why should e-commerce stores start live video shopping?
Due to poor user experiences, engagement rates via traditional e-commerce checkouts often drop. Developing a relationship with your customers, or at least making them feel connected to you, is no longer a given—it needs work. Campaigns you thought would work don’t always convert. Competition for attention and engagement is fierce.
Brands and businesses are always striving to improve their relationship with their target audiences by staying in frequent contact with them. In this digital age, live streaming has become a popular and effective way to stay connected with audiences. Streaming live videos enables enterprises to receive instant feedback from their followers while streaming.
Live streaming tech no longer limits personal connections with brands, and many people prefer to engage with their favorite brands in real time. For this reason, enterprises and entrepreneurs who take advantage of this desire to connect can maximize revenue generation and exposure through live streaming.
What are the benefits of live video shopping?
These are just some of the many benefits:
• Real-time results: Live shopping gives e-commerce companies the ability to showcase their goods and allows consumers to buy products in real time.
• Heightened engagement: Online video shopping is a highly engaging experience, more than simply clicking and filling up a shopping cart. Users can also leave comments.
• Social trust: Trust queues can work wonders in overcoming objections and guiding users through their purchasing journey when sellers flash reviews and recommendations on the screen.
• Early-adopter advantage: This is still a relatively new trend and allows early adopters to stand out from competitors.
How can I get started with live video shopping?
Define your target audience. Much like all business models, you need to identify who you hope to reach through live streaming shopping.
Identify the key influencer. This is important as live video shopping is primarily social media oriented. The influencer will bring their audience and add legitimacy to your products.
Sort out your back end. You will need an in-house moderator to handle comments, questions and more when you go live. This is important for a smooth, streamlined event.
Focus on marketing. Advertise on your online and offline channels—whatever channels your ideal audience frequents. If you don’t do any marketing, nobody will come!
Prepare for day zero! Now that you’re set up and ready to go, wait for people to join the live video shop before you get started with the live shopping. Simple is best. Don’t overdo the show. Keep it simple.
Don’t forget your website. Remember to make your live show available on your website. Don’t hide it, as on-demand is highly sought after.
I have found that the more frequently you broadcast your shows, the better ROI you’ll find. To keep shows regularly live streamed, get buy-in from all stakeholders as it is a time and resource investment. However, if you keep the shows and concepts simple, then success can be more easily achieved. Create a content calendar to keep you on track, and—if possible—set a dedicated team in the business to “own” the live shopping shows.
As you start out, don’t set the bar impossibly high. Rather, start low and slow, and learn by doing. The more you do it, the greater success you may find in live streaming shopping.