How Live Commerce Is Transforming The Shopping Experience

SocialB Digital Marketing Blog Last modified: 28 Jul 2021 by Lynsey Sweales
Ecommerce | Social Media

If you haven’t heard of live commerce, you soon will, it’s coming your way on a digital channel you love!

What’s live commerce?

Live commerce is entertaining and interactive broadcasting, combined with instant purchasing, intermingled with live commerce offers from retailers and brands, all performed on digital platforms in a nutshell.

Whilst a relatively new channel and shopping experience, live commerce has the capacity to create massive value, and it’s waiting for you to take full advantage.

Where did live commerce start?

This fresh e-commerce uprising came about in 2016 with the Chinese retail giant, Alibaba’s Taobao Live. Fast forward to 2021 and Alibaba’s Taobao Live announced in April this year, their plans to double its live-streaming to 2,000 channels and reach annual sales of 100 million yuan ($15.4 million) each.

In five years, live commerce has transformed the retail industry in China, with two-thirds of Chinese consumers reporting they bought on a livestream in the last year.

In the West, we’re playing catch up, but those who are starting are seeing noteworthy sales. It’s estimated that if we follow China’s model, live-commerce-initiated sales could account for as much as 10 to 20 percent of all e-commerce by 2026.

What’s the impact of live commerce?

Consumers can watch and shop at the same time with live commerce, while the audience participates through a chat function or reaction buttons. Think how immersed we get with social media and the massive success of channels such as Tik Tok. Now put the ability to buy with ease into the mix and it’s a winning combination when it comes to ecommerce.

It ticks many of the boxes as well as being entertaining, it can fast forward the customers journey from awareness to purchase in super quick time.

Who’s shopping via live commerce?

With the top categories on live commerce being apparel and fashion, followed by beauty products and food. It is, therefore, not surprising to hear than millennials and generation Z are the big purchasers, although middle age customer demand is growing too.

Live commerce best practices

As with any new and emerging channel, there are some best practices and lessons that can be learned when starting out with live commerce.

  • Depending on your budget, brand or size of organisation, it’s a good idea to start by testing products using social media channels such as TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. There’s also marketplace which includes Amazon Live, Taobao, or Tmall and see what the response is.
  • As with any online/digital activity, tracking performance of livestreams for numbers of views, conversion rates, best-selling products etc is essential so you can measure your success or find out what you can improve on.
  • Think carefully about your products, for example, do you want to launch a new product, offer special deals, clear old stock or concentrate on your best sellers.
  • Consider your target audience, put your customers shoes on and understand what is important to them and the best platform etc to get them to notice you.
  • Live commerce and impulse purchases go hand in hand, so ensure your products look great on screen and do your research on price point.
  • Ensure whoever hosts your livestream, usually a key opinion leader (KOL) key opinion consumer (KOC) understands your products and customers to be able to sell and interactive appropriately.
  • Popular formats that work well on live commerce include tutorials, interviews, behind the scenes and brand stories. Alongside games, quizzes and freebie giveaways, but the key is to always make it entertaining to your audience and keep their attention.

Live commerce is gaining traction and there’s no doubt this dynamic channel carries weight with online audiences. As an e-commerce marketing agency, we’re excited to see where live commerce goes next.

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