Livestream Shopping: The Biggest Trend Of 2021

Livestream shopping has been building huge momentum over the past few years, and is showing no signs of slowing- it is now being hailed as the next big thing in interactive social commerce.

The trend that started in China, is now thriving internationally, with more and more brands jumping on the bandwagon. But what is the value of a livestream?

What is live stream shopping?

Livestream shopping is typically hosted by an influencer or celebrity, but more recently, brands have started using members of their own team- to leverage their knowledge and expertise of specific products. The host highlights specific products during the event, and viewers are able to click and purchase the product instantly.

Audiences can also interact with the stream by commenting in real time, helping brands further strengthen their relationships with customers. It serves as a simulation of the in-store shopping experience; where sales were traditionally made through talking through products face to face.

Live stream shopping in China

Live stream shopping has been a huge phenomenon in China for a while now; the fast paced, chaotic and colourful streams have become habitual for many Gen-Z and millennials across the country. The shows are usually hosted by popular influencers who feature different products from brands in each stream, with some products often selling out in minutes.

The trend first emerged in 2017 on platforms such as Taobao, Weibo and WeChat, and the industry is now estimated to be worth $66billion, and is responsible for 20.3% of China’s total online sales. In the first half of 2020, there were more than 10 million live streaming sessions, proving how popular the format is amongst Chinese buyers.

Live stream shopping in Western markets

It is no surprise that the extremely commercialised and high energy formatting of Chinese live shopping events are unlikely to gain traction in Western markets, where customers prefer a softer sell. However, many brands have jumped on the trend by tweaking the format to suit their brand and their customers- it is no longer a market exclusive trend.

Many have leveraged highly aligned influencers, as well as brand representatives to host the live, talk through products, and answer any questions customers may have. The result is an authentic, natural and intimate shopping experience that allows brands to communicate directly with their customers- as they would do in store- but on a mass scale.

In the US, the livestreaming market is expected to surpass $25billion by 2023. Platforms such as Amazon and Facebook have already enabled live stream shopping events; Facebook, for example, launched Live Shopping Fridays where consumers can enjoy shoppable live videos from beauty and fashion brands. Amazon has a streaming platform, which hosts daily shows on fitness, makeup and cooking- which indicates the exponential growth of the live streaming market.

Why should brands integrate live stream commerce into their strategy?

There are many reasons why shoppable live streams have huge value to a brand- the applicability is virtually endless. The first of which is communication and relationship building; after hosting a spring 2021 livestream, Aldo noted a 308% increase in engagement rate and registered 17,000 views on its website in the first five days after the event. The brand used the event as a way of reconnecting with its customers and building an emotional connection.

Secondly, live streams can help shoppers make more informed purchase decisions by showing them the product in action and giving consumers the details they need before buying- it can help push tentative customers over the line. Furthermore, research shows returns are 50% lower when a product is bought off a livestream compared to traditional e-commerce channels.

Data shows 84% of consumers say a brand’s video has convinced them to make a purchase and 96% of people have watched a video to learn more about a product or service. During live streams, there’s more product information than traditional ads, and it’s often coming from a host consumers already know and trust.

Live shopping allows pretty much anyone who has something to sell to create their own shopping channel that is also a social network and an e-commerce platform- a hybrid model that is very low in cost. Brands, influencers, small businesses can foster a sense of community and trust among their target audience that is more valuable than just social or digital commerce alone.

See case studies from brands we have worked with here!

How does live commerce create value?

Firstly, live shopping helps to accelerate conversion, it is entertaining, informative, interactive and  immersive, keeping viewers watching longer and bringing the products to life as if it was an in store interaction. The customer is able to better justify how they would use, style or enjoy a product. It also telescopes customer decision journeys from awareness to purchase, which has been traditionally difficult to follow with other marketing activities.

Secondly, live streams are a fantastic way of improving/growing brand appeal and differentiation. Done well, live commerce increases a brand’s appeal and distinctiveness and pulls in additional web traffic. It is also a cost effective way of building more content for a brands e-commerce site, social media and other channels where they can share the post-live video as a shoppable on demand experience.

In conclusion, shoppable live streams are one of the biggest phenonmenons of 2021, and are no longer exclusive to China; brands can tailor the experience to suit the shopping behaviours of their customers- the future is now!

If you would like to learn more about how Smartzer can help your brand, feel free to book a demo here!