Livestream shopping is used by brands and retailers to promote and sell products on digital platforms. Think of it as TV shopping but with more of an interactive approach, incorporating live chat with the hosts as well as a (typically) more authentic, less polished presentation.
For the last several years, live shopping has seen a meteoric rise in participation and revenue. Live shopping in China has grown from $62 billion in 2019 to an estimated $480 billion in 2022. The European and North American markets are also projected to experience strong growth for the next few years.
When Europeans were asked about live streaming interest in an Arvato Supply Chain Solution survey, 70% said they would be open to it. Livestream shopping is expected to reach more than $25 billion in 2023, with many major retailers, social media platforms and brands launching their own programs.
Can It Rescue Us from Ecommerce Boredom?
For years, ecommerce has meant reviewing thumbnail images of products, scrolling down multiple pages in an endless search. A typical ecommerce experience involves little interaction except for an occasional chatbot, which can be more of a nuisance.
The boredom of ecommerce was first identified 24 years ago when CNET proclaimed, “Ecommerce is getting boring these days, and that’s a good thing.” It’s a good thing if you are a selling a low effort, streamlined experience, such as replenishment for household products. But boredom is a terrible thing for long-term loyalty and mutually beneficial engagement with customers.
Enter livestream shopping, which has proven to be a great diversion and option for consumers who have visited physical stores less often and spent considerable time isolated. It energizes the ecommerce process through a mashup of live TV shopping, social media and direct interaction with an expert or influencer host.
While livestream programs in Asia appear to have initially focused on key opinion leaders and influencers, Western culture seems to focus more on their own employees as shopping hosts. In multiple livestreams across major brands and retailers including Amazon, Avon, Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and QVC, we’re seeing a focus on building long-term communities tied to a particular interest or category. Each retailer and platform will need to devise their approach based on their specific customer need and category offering.
Why It’s Important for Engagement
Over the past several years, we’ve seen a shift toward more digital touchpoints across the shopper journey. Discovery has become decidedly more digitally driven. With all the increase in content viewed and read online, consumers are fatigued by the one singular experience of ecommerce. Livestream shopping offers up an appointment to learn more about a brand or category and how it’s used in an engaging and entertaining way.
Real-time mode is important in meeting the needs of today’s consumer, and delivering information in video is commonly the preferred method of information consumption. According to a 2021 survey from Wyzowl, consumers watch over 19 hours of video a week, up almost 8.5 hours in the past four years. Additionally, video is an overwhelmingly effective way to explain a product or service. In fact, 88% of consumers say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.
Extending the Life and Value of Live Commerce
Many major brands and retailers are already producing dozens of livestream shopping programs per month and receiving tremendously insightful product feedback from their most engaged consumers. Additionally, professional hosts, store management and influencers are creating outstanding educational video content that can be repurposed for other uses in the organization. Given the possibility of so much feedback-driven insight and a continuous stream of video content, how might you incorporate livestream shopping into your brand?
Ideally, you want to bring all that information into a central place, using a product master data management solution to ensure a systematic, consistent approach to acquiring new data and assigning any relevant consumer feedback to enrich product content. Further, appropriate informational slices of videos relating to specific products could follow a workflow to ensure quality, proper attribution and timely additions to websites and other marketing channels.
All indications show that livestream shopping’s popularity will continue to grow across the world. As you implement and refine this strategy, keep in mind how you might best capitalize on the opportunity to engage with consumers in real time, using that data and content to improve your business.
Brian Cluster is Director of Industry Strategy, CPG and Retail for Stibo Systems