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Khalifah Hafiz

Published on

January 28, 2021


ecommerce, Live Shopping, Social Commerce

Over the last few years there has been a rapid increase in a relatively new phenomenon over social media. While live streaming itself is not new, live shopping has popped up as a new sub-genre of live streaming and become an extension of eCommerce. In fact, according to research by Coresight live shopping accounted for USD$60 billion in global sales in 2019 alone.

Streaming and Selling

Although there is no one country uniquely responsible for the rise of live streaming, China single-handedly takes the lead when it comes to live shopping. The Chinese were early adopters of eCommerce in general, attesting to the growth of Jack Ma and the globally renowned Alibaba. eCommerce was projected to rake in a whopping RMB$1 trillion for 2020, an increase from RMB$892 billion in 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic further accelerated the live shopping phenomenon with people stuck at home due to lockdown restrictions. People turned to live shopping during these times as it was the closest possible match to an in-person shopping experience.

Breathing Life into Live Shopping

The live shopping phenomenon found its perfect operating space within social media platforms. With the smartphone usage at an all-time high, social media is the perfect playground for live shopping aficionados. Although not exclusive to social media, online shopping websites are also playing host to this new trend. Take Taobao for example. In China, the online shopping website is the number one platform for live shopping.

Statista: Leading live streaming platforms respondents shopped from while watching shopping live streaming in China as of May 2020

The reasons why consumers are drawn to live shopping can be credited to the mechanics or journey that they go on. Some “retailers” have simple product showcases, while others deliver more interactive “auction-style” experiences. Products are showcased for a limited period and in some circumstances with limited product quantities. A timer indicates the amount of time that the product is available for consumers or for consumer bids (in this case making it an actual e-auction!).

Now probably one of the most important mechanics to a successful live shopping stream session is the host. Influencers are the key to this game! But, just how impactful and important are they?

Kim Kardashian’s TMall livestream

To illustrate this, last year’s Singles Day shopping event (or 11.11 as its more commonly known), popular Chinese influencer Viya, with a following of over 9 million followers on TaoBao, invited celebrity Kim Kardashian to her live shopping stream to discuss and showcase the products, including Kim Kardashian’s own signature fragrance. The result of this influencer-power? 150,000 bottles sold in seconds. Talk about celebrity power!

Time to Get Your Own Smartphone Tripod

If you are looking to add live shopping into the mix here are some takeaways for consideration:

  • Identify your platform of choice
    This should be the channel where engagement is strongest for you. Also consider what features these channels have that are dedicated to live shopping streams. Deciding which platform works best for your audience is the foundation for starting a new live shopping feature.
  • The Star of the Show
    This could be someone within your team that has a natural charm on camera. Otherwise, you should consider sourcing an external host for your stream. As previously mentioned, influencers can provide solid growth or give additional traction to your stream through access to their amassed followers. To find out how to create an authentic influencer collaboration check out this blog here.

Ready to experiment with live shopping and social commerce? Get in touch with our social media experts today.

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