Raise your hand if you love shopping! OK, OK, maybe not everyone is a shopaholic, but most people enjoy buying things at least once in a while. For many customers out there shopping is not just a chore or necessity, it’s a way of life. And they are the ones who move the eCommerce industry forward and who demand it constantly evolves. They thrive in the digital world where there’s an ocean of purchasing opportunities made accessible and affordable, and they want more. In return, online stores embrace the advancement of technology and are always on the watch for new ways to make sales happen. This consumer-provider cycle has brought a new hot trend on the marketplace – livestream shopping. And people can’t seem to get enough of it.
What is Livestream Shopping?
Livestream shopping (LSS), also known as live eCommerce, live shopping, and live selling, is an online shopping event where the customer can make purchases in real-time, while a video, presenting products, is streaming live. The event can take place on a third-party platform, such as social media, on a mobile app, or on a designated subdomain of the online store.
The live shopping session is usually hosted by a popular public figure – an influencer, a celebrity, or even the CEO of the company, who demonstrates the qualities of the product and answers user questions. While the event lasts, customers can interact with the host, make various requests regarding the products, and can purchase what they like. Depending on the platform where the streaming happens, there can be an in-app checkout available or the customers can be redirected to the seller’s eCommerce product page checkout.
Often, but not always, discounts and offers on the products’ retail price apply for the duration of the livestreaming, and might be available for a limited time afterward.
Simply put, livestream shopping is the love child of eCommerce and shopping TV channels.
How Do We Know It’s Going to Be Big?
Livestream shopping has been very popular in China for quite a while and flourished even further with the outburst of the 2020 pandemic. The eCommerce market in the country is enormous and this has become the hottest of online shopping trends. Consumers there just love livestream shopping.
It has been estimated that the Chinese live eCommerce market will reach $305 billion USD in 2021, which is a 384% growth compared to 2019. To put it in other words, live online shopping will account for 15% of all eCommerce purchases in the country in 2021, and the predictions are that the number will reach 20% in 2022.
History shows that with the innovative nature and fast evolution of the Chinese market, almost every trend that goes big there later enters the American market and reaps success – like social commerce, in-app payments, and group shopping, for example.
Big platforms like Facebook, Amazon, and TikTok (which is actually the US twin of the Chinese Douyin) are already giving livestream shopping a try, and the trend’s popularity is growing fast.
If you are looking for new ways to connect to your audience and grow revenue in the process, read on to find out the top 5 benefits live retail can have for your eCommerce business.
Benefits of Livestream Shopping
Lifestream shopping can be an affordable way to quickly give your sales a boost, build brand awareness and find new customers. It’s a fun and entertaining way for people to get to know your products and your business, and become involved with what you do.
Also, it can be viewed as a digital read of a proven selling approach of the past – teleshopping channels, and we know how big that trend was in the ‘90s.
The difference now is that the core audience of eCommerce live selling is the younger generation, a.k.a. the Gen Z, who are known for their big pockets and the habit of breaking the bank on any occasion. Of course, other generations are not immune to the temptation as well.
Here are some of the most lucrative advantages of livestream shopping:
1. Provides a Digitalized Brick-and-Mortar Experience
If there is one thing that eCommerce has been missing, it is the brick-and-mortar vibe of shopping. In the offline world, visiting a store is not simply about making a purchase, it’s an experience that involves human interaction and a touchpoint with a different world. You enter a space where you are surrounded by novelties and interesting products, you look around, ask the shopping assistant about the items you like, see how products work, touch them. This is something you simply cannot do online. Or at least it used to be.
Live streaming eCommerce allows you to deliver the best of both worlds. Your customers can enjoy the comfort of their home, and at the same time virtually be at the shop and ask the host questions in real-time. The host, on the other hand, can show them how the products work, give them close-ups, and make a demonstration of their qualities.
The digital experience can even be better than visiting a shop. Well, yes, there is still no way to touch a product online. But you can have your favorite celebrity or influencer as a shopping assistant and that doesn’t happen every day.
Live shopping can be entertaining and fun for the customer while bringing profits to the store.
2. Quickly Generates Enormous Sales
The best thing about live shopping events is that they can help you quickly generate enormous sales. If you do your marketing campaign well, people will know about it and will be looking forward to it. Once they are watching and they are having fun, they can invite other people to join. All you have to do is provide an exciting experience they’d want to share with others.
That’s why it’s so important to choose the right host for the event, it has to be someone who can fascinate people and make them want to buy what you’re selling.
For example, one of the most popular livestream influencers in China, Li Jiaqi, once managed to sell 15 000 lipsticks in five minutes, yeah, you read it correctly. He’s become popular by trying on lipsticks to show how they really look on the lips, rather than just demonstrate it on his hand skin. In just a few years, his liveselling videos made him a millionaire.
In this video you can hear some of his insights into his success, and the benefits of livestream shopping:
The moral of the story here is, that if you approach live retail the right way and know your audience well, you can make sales go through the roof.
3. Inspires Impulse Buying
Livestream shopping is not just a shopping event, it’s a show. What’s more, it is a show the customer is involved in. People get excited because they feel like a part of something, it gives them a sense of belonging. And they want to make this feeling last and turn it into a story to share with their friends. This setting alone is enough to make them want to purchase something.
But livestream shopping also inspires the fear of missing out, one of the driving forces of impulse buying.
People will want to buy the product while the eCommerce live event lasts not only because it might be discounted, but because they see other people buying it right now, before their eyes. If they like the product and want it for themselves – and since there is a cool person recommending it, they probably do – they will make a purchase. Otherwise, it might be all out after the show is over and everyone else will have it but them.
For you, impulse buying means more sales, but in this case, also a boost in brand experience. New and returning customers will remain with the feeling of community and excitement and will associate these emotions with your business. The experience you provide is something that differentiates your brand from the rest and can make a customer pledge their loyalty and return for more.
4. Builds Brand Awareness
As mentioned, livestream shopping events are usually hosted by popular influencers or celebrities. These public figures have a loyal audience of followers that more than often are willing to take their word for it when they recommend products.
Associating your products with popular influencers can build brand awareness and make your business more popular among customers.
However, to make sure that the audience that watches live selling is more likely to become returning customers, you have to choose your host very carefully. It has to be someone who is close to your industry or whose followers can directly benefit from your products. This way you can be sure that a reasonable percentage of the live shopping event visitors will find your brand interesting and will become returning customers.
5. Can Boost Sales Volume of Underperforming Products
Maybe you have been underselling products that are good, but for some reason are not gaining enough popularity and are piling up in your storage rooms. Live eCommerce can be a way to increase the sales volume of these.
The host can pay extra attention to the products you’d like to sell more of, and highlight their good qualities. Or you can add them to special packages available only for the duration of the eCommerce live event. Also, mentioning that items are not that popular yet, and implying that the users who are online now, can be amongst the first ones to possess them, can make people feel like trendsetters, and inspire them to buy.
Livestream shopping events give you an opportunity to speed up the selling process of items and boost your sales volume. This approach can deliver results much faster than other marketing strategies and can increase your revenue and free up space in your storage rooms.
Also, who knows, maybe now that it’s been recommended by an influencer, the underselling products can now become top-performers.
Live shopping might not be anything new under the sun, but its digital version – livestream shopping, is the hottest trend in eCommerce right now. And, from what we’ve seen, it’s here to stay.
If you are quick enough to catch the wave of its novelty, it can give you a headstart before the competition. By starting early, you’ll have enough time to find the formula that works for you and experience the benefits of live eCommerce first hand.
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