Gaining popularity after the pandemic, livestream eCommerce is projected to grow 300% by 2024, moving products worth 35 billion US dollars. But why is it so popular, and does it have the staying power needed to be a long-term gamechanger? At Ziffity, we think it’s definitely possible that live shopping is the exciting – and lasting – new trend in the world of eCommerce.
Picture a content creator on a livestream unboxing their favorite line of makeup products. They enthuse about the shade, explain how to use the product and why it’s superior to its competitors, while chatting about their lives and various topics of interest. You may even have seen a stream of this kind. They’re entertaining and informative and extremely watchable.
Now imagine customers on the same livestream, with the option to buy that product directly, without leaving the stream or the platform. That’s live shopping. It can be integrated into your own eCommerce website or conducted on an established livestream shopping platform, conducted by your own promoters or third-party influencers.
With live shopping, you can put a real face behind your products, interact with potential customers in real-time, and showcase your products by pegging them to the reputation of the content creator behind the livestream. Businesses are beginning to see significant benefits in terms of customer engagement and conversions. They’re also seeing fewer product returns.
So, why should you opt for live shopping, how can you integrate it with your existing eCommerce setup, and does it make sense for your specific business needs? Read on to find out.
Why live shopping?
Through live shopping (also known as livestream shopping, live commerce or live selling), digital retailers can effectively communicate on a one-to-one basis with a large online audience by selling products during a livestream. Think of QVC and other tele-shopping networks. The retailer promotes the product live on TV and watchers can order online via a live telephone line. Livestream shopping is similar, but has a few major benefits:
- Greater interactivity between retailer and consumer in the form of comments, likes and reviews
- You can even incorporate polls and surveys into the livestream
- Access from any device, anywhere
Tele-shopping is primarily used by older shoppers, while livestream shopping gives sellers access to a younger generation.
The live shopping story has thus far been largely dominated by Chinese shoppers, since the beginning of the pandemic. However, the live shopping story in the United States and Europe is booming, and American live commerce retailers are expected to have sold products worth $35 billion by 2024.
Who should opt for live shopping?
While it isn’t limited to a particular product, industry, audience or category, live shopping is usually used for B2C and D2C categories. It’s most popular in sectors you may expect: consumer goods that are low-involvement and easy to purchase on impulse. That includes fashion, beauty, fitness, home decor, home improvement, and tech devices.
These are all segments where unboxing, usage or how-to videos are very interesting to the average consumer and social media user. That’s especially important because live shopping buyers don’t necessarily get involved in the stream for the sake of the shopping. It’s more about the entertainment and engagement of watching an influencer – often one they’re following anyway – on their livestream.
As you can imagine, it’s fantastic for brands where the promoter is an influencer. In the United States, smaller D2C brands are leading the way when it comes to live shopping. Catherine Zeta-Jones, for example, is selling her range of makeup products via the talkshoplive platform.
What kind of content should I be looking at?
The content can and should be informative in kind – demos are very popular for livestream shopping, since they showcase the benefits of the product – but the fun quotient should take priority. Livestreams incorporate live video content and two-way communication.
An integrated eCommerce module is the key differentiator from regular influencer livestreams, as it allows viewers to seamlessly buy (or bookmark/add to cart) products directly without leaving the video.
Selling through live shopping platforms
Third-party live selling platforms allow retailers to host live broadcasts during which customers can sign up, make a purchase, ask a question or leave feedback in real time. These platforms assist brands with setting up their live shopping channels and selling through video livestreams. Some popular platforms include:
- Bambuser – offers one-to-one selling as well as one-to-many
- CommentSold – provides a live inventory ticker
- Channelize.io – strong track record across multiple industries
- GoLive – empowers retailers with AI-powered analytics
- NTWRK – prioritizes exclusive product launches
- Popshop Live – allows sellers to host shows from their iPhones
- Smartzer – includes a ‘replay’ feature
- Streams.live – allows users to sell NFTs via live video
- Talkshoplive – “the first online platform for livestreaming and home shopping shows with a built-in buying experience”
- Taobao – the undisputed Chinese market leader, owned by Alibaba
Integrating live shopping with eCommerce websites
While there are benefits to selling on an established platform and communicating with their audience, you may prefer to own your entire selling journey by integrating live selling into your eCommerce website.
Established eCommerce platforms can work with a livestream shopping application to allow you to provide this channel as well through your website. Magento integrates with Channelize.io; Salesforce Commerce Cloud with Bambuser; and BigCommerce with Facebook and Instagram Live Shopping, for example. All these integrations are designed to be user-friendly, and are easy to implement with the support of an experienced tech partner such as Ziffity.
The latest trends in live shopping
Live shopping is brand new, especially in the West, and most bigger brands are still figuring it out. At its core, however, the concept is straightforward. Consumers find video livestreams entertaining. Consumers like to be entertained while they shop. It’s that simple!
- Maximize reach by inviting top influencers as guests.
- Leverage live commerce as a special promotional tool for exclusive product launches.
- Using live shopping, you can better understand the voice of the customer by mining comments, through surveys during the stream, and of course post-purchase.
- You can also use live shopping for one-to-one shopping for higher involvement products such as jewellery or automobiles.
Live shopping + Social commerce
Social commerce, “the integration of social experiences and eCommerce transactions in a single path to purchase, enabled by a platform”, currently stands around 10% of all eCommerce and is estimated to grow to 17% of eCommerce revenue by 2025. It is increasingly merging with live commerce to create a more integrated, seamless experience.
Read our recent blog post: “Social Commerce – Creating a Social Planet”
Though live shopping rose to prominence on dedicated live shopping platforms such as the Chinese app Taobao, social media platforms are themselves now working to make live shopping easier. Some companies partnered with major social media platforms (Walmart with TikTok and Sephora with Facebook) to enable specific live shopping campaigns, but the platforms are now looking at options where all content creators can sell through their livestreams.
Facebook’s Live Shopping Fridays hosts major beauty, skincare, and fashion events every week. Instagram has recently launched live shopping, allowing you to engage with potential customers and sell in real time. TikTok has rolled out a live shopping feature that “allows brands to seamlessly integrate products from their TikTok Shopping experience into a live session”. YouTube is testing the waters with shopping via live streams with selected creators. Amazon’s new streaming platform is featuring daily shows on shopping-friendly subjects like cooking, fitness, and makeup.
The main benefit of bringing shopping to the social media platforms is that it unifies the experience. Customers remain on their favorite apps as they shop, and add items to the basket as they watch their favorite content creators. It makes new product discovery and community engagement easier and more convenient for the consumer.
What’s the market potential of live shopping?
Live shopping has only really begun gaining steam since the beginning of the pandemic. Coresight Research projects that the US livestream commerce market will hit $25 billion by 2023. Big tech has been investing big in live shopping with Amazon Live, Google’s live shopping on YouTube, Facebook Live Shopping and Instagram Live Shopping, in addition to livestream shopping projects in the pipeline at Twitter, TikTok and Pinterest.
So how do I optimize my live shopping experience?
- By understanding your audience
- Use data analytics, including Google Analytics
- By building and managing a community
- Since your livestream is your marketing, ensure that your content creators have a positive personal brand that followers can believe in
- By promoting the sessions
- Market the livestreams, especially in the early days; influencer partnerships could be a good fit
- By offering AR-powered tools
- Think virtual trials and demos
- By using content that’s educational as well as entertaining
- Build a reputation as a subject matter expert
What can I expect from my investment in live shopping?
In 2020, 34% of Gen Z was interested in shoppable livestreams. In 2021, that number leaped past the 50% mark. Through live selling, you can create a much more personal relationship with your customers, presenting the human face of your brand and engaging with a community rather than selling to a customer.
Instant gratification is a powerful force. Livestream shoppers see a product, like it, and buy it immediately. Perhaps for this reason, livestream shoppers are 40% less likely to return an item than other online shoppers.
From the business point of view, live shopping is extremely scalable and helps you stand out from your customers.
And most importantly? According to Mary Ghahremani, CEO of Bambuser, conversion rates of livestream shopping are as high as 40%.
Live shopping is a huge benefit to retailers since it reduces the consideration period, increases customer engagement and boosts conversion. Thanks to easy integrations with eCommerce websites and user-friendly sign-ups on third-party live shopping platforms, live shopping is a way for retailers of all sizes to scale and grow their businesses – and their brands. Talk to Ziffity today to discuss how you can get started with adding this exciting new channel of selling to your online store!