Having originated in China in 2016 with the creation of Alibaba’s Taobao Live, Western brands have adapted live shopping to suit their brand image and customers needs and online selling has never quite been the same since! Live shopping is set to grow even faster in 2022 and it’s here to stay. It has been estimated by McKinsey that it will make up 20% of global ecommerce by 2026.
We have collated all of our data, expertise and research to build our 2022 Live Shopping trend predictions!
It is no secret that the energetic, super entertaining and slightly chaotic nature of live shopping in the East might not resonate well with every shopper around the world! This has often been the pain point for a lot of brands in the past who haven’t wanted to alienate their consumers with a format that doesn't fit their brand image (e.g luxury brands).
However, 2021 showed us that the brands who have rewritten the rules and made the format their own, are the ones who are experiencing the most success! For example; Very UK used two influencers who were friends (Binky Felstead & Ollie Locke from Made in Chelsea) to casually talk through the collection and match outfits to suit different occasions. This made the event more of a styling experience rather than a blatant selling activity. We expect to see brands adapt the concept even further in 2022, becoming more experimental & creative.
In the past, live shopping has predominantly been adopted by fashion brands as the format lends itself so well to styling sessions, runway shows and showcasing new product drops due to the visual nature of the products. Industries/products that require more education & demonstration such as beauty, FMCG, wellness and tech have been slower to capitalise on the trend.
However, 2022 is set to change this as different industries test the format and adapt it to their needs. The space is also becoming much more accessible, with livestream providers offering cost effective plans, meaning that smaller brands can now enter the space. This widespread adoption will make livestreaming a mainstream form of commerce that customers not only enjoy, but expect! Live shopping will also continue to be a force to be reckoned with in the fashion industry, with Business of Fashion naming it one of the Top 10 2022 Themes.
Some brands have used live commerce for one-off events or for key moments in the year such as new collections, sales periods, black Friday or Christmas. Though these have been highly effective, in 2022 we expect to see brands integrate live shopping as a consistent and scaled up cog in their marketing wheels. Customers will be able to access a more constant flow of live content alongside a mixture of bigger, exclusive one-off events such as new product launches or influencer collaborations.
Tools such as Smartzer also allow brands to scale up their live commerce offering by easily enabling the creation of a seamless livestream experience that can be managed in-house by the brand, without the need to outsource to agencies. This means that brands can host live shopping events as often as they want to!
The knee jerk panic during the pandemic from brands, stripped of the ability to connect with their customers in person, was to leverage Zoom as a way of staying connected (and growing) their communities. This was especially popular amongst beauty brands who interacted with both customers and employees on the platform by hosting training sessions, beauty masterclasses and unveiling new product launches. Although it served its purpose during the pandemic, Zoom doesn’t offer any form of shoppability to customers, unlike live shopping. Brands are now discovering how interactive, authentic and community-building live commerce can be while simultaneously boosting conversions.
Live shopping platforms can bridge the gap between content and commerce, which Zoom struggles to do.
Some brands have an amazing offline presence, with experiential in-store experiences, beautiful flagship stores, and knowledgeable & passionate store representatives. Other brands have a highly digitalized, immersive and interactive online experience. Very rarely do brands get the balance of both!
Live shopping allows brands to fuse both worlds together by leveraging their stores for online live events. Ralph Lauren collaborated with Smartzer last year to transform a video tour of their flagship store in Milan into an immersive, interactive and shoppable experience. We see this as the future of retail, with stores eventually having a dedicated area for live shopping, where in-store reps can style new collections, and even customers can join in too by trying on their favourite items! This will serve not only as a USP to bring consumers to stores, but also serve a huge purpose to the online community who can see products brought to life and shop instant links to buy.
In 2022, we are already seeing some brands create their own in house studios for filming live content! We expect this to become the norm, with brands dedicating a space in their HQ, or hiring a live production studio to consistently create and broadcast live content. Brands can easily invite influencers, designers, experts or even consumers to come and join a live event or host in their studio every week. A series of episodes can easily be organised, produced and broadcasted all from the same place and the brand can keep a consistent theme. This may not work for every brand though; others may want to experiment with different locations and creatives!
We envisage 2022 being the year of brands really finding their groove with live shopping and this includes testing out different hosts. Finding the right host is key to running a successful live event as they set the tone of the experience! Many brands rely on influencers to run their events (e.g. Levi’s & Very UK), which of course can be very effective especially when considering the size of the influencers social media following and how much traffic they can drive to these events.
We are also beginning to see brands leverage people from within their business to host, or co host, a livestream with great success! There is no one more educated on a product, and no one more passionate about the brand than those who work at the company itself. This is also a fantastic opportunity for businesses to connect with their community. We are now seeing the rise in UGC and community-led initiatives which will undoubtedly make a splash in live commerce.
Many brands aren’t quite ready to relinquish control when it comes to live events as they can be a big jump from the pre-planned and vetted nature of Instagram! With Smartzer, brands are able to pre-record livestreams so that they can ensure everything runs smoothly on the day. This is also great for brands who want influencers to film their own live event (but want to make sure it’s aligned with the creative brief), or brands who want to roll out a lot of content consistently. They can pre plan everything and broadcast on time. We see many more brands experimenting with live commerce thanks to this failsafe option!
So much time, effort and money goes into ensuring a brand’s Instagram grid is as aesthetic, engaging and relevant as possible. So why not treat your website like this? Brands can create a dedicated area of their website to live shopping which can be filled with streams, recordings, countdown clocks and info on the next episode/series. With Smartzer’s live shopping tech, brands are able to instantly download a carbon copy recording of the event complete with shoppable elements. Customers who might have missed the show or who weren't quite ready to convert can access these recordings any time any place! Data shows that up to 30% additional revenue can be driven from these recordings.
The beauty of live streaming is that there is so much scope for experimentation. There really are no rules as brands can curate their own unique experiences. We expect that in 2022 we will see brands test out different formats, from VIP invite-only live events, different filming locations, B2B selling and even in-house training. The format goes beyond selling; it is a fantastic way of educating and connecting with people! Live commerce is expected to evolve even more over the next year and as it becomes a more mainstream form of selling, businesses will explore its many benefits!
In conclusion; live shopping is fast becoming an accessible form of commerce, entertainment and education and gives brands, big or small, the opportunity to connect with their customers like never before. Its a global phenomenon thats here to stay, and brands can easily and seamlessly build it into their strategies with Smartzer’s tech.