Livestream Shopping: what it is, advantages and how to set up an effective strategy

Livestream Shopping is emerging as a new marketing model for selling products online, interacting with users and acquiring potential customers in real time. In this article, we deepen what is this new trend coming from China, what are its advantages and how to create a successful Live Commerce strategy.

The development and spread of the Internet have greatly contributed to changing consumer purchasing habits: in recent years, hundreds of e-commerce sites, virtual shops and marketplaces have been developed. These allow users to purchase products and services with a few clicks and without the need to physically go to a store. Although shopping online has become a common habit over the years, there is one event that has further accelerated this trend: the lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic period, shops around the world were forced to close for long months, while digital continued to grow exponentially, becoming the only mean that allowed users to continue to communicate and interact with other people and with the outer world. During this period, we have witnessed a real boom in online purchases and a new online sales mode has been developed: Livestream Shopping. This is a phenomenon that originated in China, but is rapidly spreading around the world. In the US, for example, the Live Commerce market is expected to be worth over $25 billion.

Today, despite shops have resumed their activities, Livestream Shopping continues to be present and will overwhelm the e-commerce sector. So, let’s see what Livestream Shopping is, its advantages and how to set up an effective campaign.

What is Livestream Shopping?

The term Livestream Shopping or Live Commerce refers to a new online sales practice that exploits live streaming on platforms and social media to present, promote and sell products and services.

Often, this sales modality is called “the heir of infomercial”. As it happens in telesales, brands rely on well-known TV personalities to advertise their products and services, presenting their peculiarities and advantages to convince the audience to purchase. This concept has been transferred to digital: companies choose celebrities, influencers and creators who, through a live demonstration, present the product and test it in real time, highlighting its main advantages, characteristics and reasons to buy it. Users can thus learn about new products and buy them without even leaving their house and in a more engaging and interactive way than simply buying online. Today, in fact, consumers are no longer satisfied with traditional shopping experiences but prefer more immersive and engaging ways.

The main difference with respect to infomercial is that with Live Commerce, the communication is two-way, as users have the opportunity to interact through comments and questions, and to receive assistance in real time. The attention to the customer combined with the right dose of entertainment and engagement make this practice very effective for commercial purposes.

What are the advantages of Live Commerce?

Engage users

Live Commerce allows to create a direct and immediate communication channel, bringing brands closer to consumers and allowing them to establish a direct dialogue and solid relationships. During the live stream, the company, or the streamer who sponsors a product, will speak directly to users, answer their questions via chat, clarify their doubts and provide additional details. In this way, the customers experience will be similar to that of physical store, as buyers will have the chance to talk and for advice to the sales staff.

In this sense, live streaming helps to establish a more engaging and intimate communication with consumers, giving them an excellent shopping experience.

©Ecommerce week

Speed up and improve the purchasing process

Before buying online, many consumers use search engines to find reviews, product data sheets and more detailed information. This often takes time and can discourage the user from purchasing. Through live streaming, users will be able to observe a product, listen to its description and characteristics and see it in the context of its intended use. In short, they will attend a virtual demonstration of the product and will be able to take a purchase decision more quickly.

In addition, during the live stream, the streamer will provide viewers with a direct link to the company’s e-commerce or online shop. As a result, users will be able to select the products they want to purchase, add them to the cart and place the order in just a few clicks.

During the live stream, the streamer will provide users with the direct link to the cart in order to complete the purchase.

Strengthen the community

E-commerce sites have numerous tools to establish and consolidate relationships with their target audience. Blog posts, newsletters, social media, webinars, etc. are some of the tools used for this purpose. Alongside these tools, which are based on one-way communication, now brands can rely on live streams to continue to cultivate the relationship with their audience, offering a more human and less virtual shopping experience.

How to set up a successful Live Commerce strategy?

Although Live Commerce is a new way of buying online, which certainly lends itself to experimentation, there are some steps to follow to set up an effective strategy.

Choose the products to promote

The first step to take into consideration when creating a Live Commerce strategy is the choice of products to promote. Presenting all the products in our portfolio in a single live stream would be counterproductive as it is necessary to dedicate the right time to explaining and presenting each individual product. For each event, we have to identify the product (or products) that we want to highlight. This choice can be based on various factors including, for example, the latest products launched on the market, special occasions (Christmas, Black Friday, etc.), any current promotions, and so on.

Then, we have to create an editorial calendar listing all the promotions and launches of new products so as not to be caught unprepared and plan all the activities to be carried out in advance.

Optimize the e-commerce

Before “going on air”, it is essential that our online shop is optimized in the best way to offer visitors an optimal user experience. We need to prepare product sheets using impactful titles and descriptions, captivating images and dedicating a space to the reviews of other customers, as well as to the FAQs.

For each product sheet, Shein, a Chinese company that sells fast fashion clothing online, shows the detailed description of the item, details regarding size and fit as well as reviews (often with photos) of users who have previously purchased it.

Choose the most suitable format

In recent months, livestreaming has become a fundamental tool available to companies to continue to be present in the life of consumers. However, not all live streams are the same as there are different types of formats to choose from. The choice, of course, will have to be based on the type of product to be promoted, the target audience and the chosen platform. While tutorials are the ideal format if we want to showcase the features of a particular product, interviews can be exploited when we want to talk with an expert of the sector or interview a consumer asking him for their opinion about a product.

In addition to choosing the format, we have to take care of the gear to be used: let’s equip ourselves with a webcam, a microphone and a ring light and make sure that the audio and video quality is optimal.

Choose the most suitable channels

A fundamental phase in setting up a correct Live Commerce strategy is choosing the channels that best suit the needs of our brand. Identifying the right platform is not always easy and sometimes several tests are necessary before we can understand which is the most advantageous for our brand.

To identify the correct platform, let’s focus on the business goals to be achieved, on the product or services that our company offers and above all on what our target audience is. The most used platforms for Live Commerce are divided into:

  • Live-streaming platforms integrated with corporate e-commerce sites;
  • Social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube;
  • Livestreaming services including Amazon Live, Taobao Live, Marlene;
  • Teleconferencing systems such as Google Meet, Teams, Zoom, etc.

Trust influencers and creators

The success of a Livestreaming Shopping campaign also passes through the choice of the influencer or streamer. It is essential to choose a streamer who is able to present our products effectively and to interact and engage with users.

For example, we can evaluate the possibility of collaborating with micro influencers, i.e., those who target a specific niche of users and who have recognized skills within a specific sector (e.g., travel, lifestyle, food, etc.). For these reasons, they are able to attract the attention of a specific audience segment which is really interested in a particular topic. The fact that users consider the influencer an expert on a specific topic will play an important role in communicating the qualities and advantages of the advertised product.

Case study: Motivi

In June 2020, Motivi, an Italian womenswear brand, pioneered Live Commerce for the first time to allow people to virtually discover and purchase the new collection. Over 200 shop assistants, who prior to the pandemic provided customer assistance in physical stores, have transferred their skills to a specially developed digital platform. Now, through live shopping sessions, they present the clothing items, potential clothing matches and accessories. Those who attend the online shows can interact in real time, asking questions about the products shown, and ask shop assistants to wear the clothes to understand sizes and fit.

Finally, during the live stream, clickable product sheets are made available on the users’ screen, with the related colours and sizes available. This way users can quickly select the items they want to buy and add them to the shopping cart to complete the purchase process.

In this way, Motivi has been able to respond to the restrictions of the pandemic by creating a phygital shopping experience, which combines digital technology with the traditional shopping experience.

Summing up

In recent years, consumer shopping habits have been completely disrupted due to the spread of e-commerce sites and online shops. This already existing trend was reinforced during the pandemic, highlighting how digital will play an increasingly important role for businesses. Live streaming commerce is a way to combine the power of digital (which means the ability to reach new targets and new market segments and to communicate directly) with the experience we are commonly used to experiencing when shopping in physical stores.

Although it is a growing trend, statistics lead us to think that it will be an established habit soon enough, preferred by many brands.

Are you ready to start selling your products with live commerce? eos is the right partner to help you create an effective Livestreaming Shopping strategy. Contact us to discover our services!

Published by

Ilaria

Since I was a child, my school career has been driven by a passion for what I wanted to do when I was grown up. So I graduated in modern languages and cultures at the University of Pavia and now I'm studying journalism and communication at the University of Bergamo. Today I do what I like most: I work in the technical publishing industry dedicating myself in particular to social media and digital marketing at Eos Mktg&Communication, the publishing house of the international ipcm® magazines. If I had to describe myself in three words according to my hobbies and interests, I would say: globetrotter, shopaholic and motorsport-addicted.

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