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What is Live Stream Shopping?

Live streaming continues to become more and more popular in the online world. Viewers seem to be more interested and engaged while watching live videos compared to videos on demand. Due to its effectiveness and popularity, brands within Asian countries and not only decided to sell their products in a virtual environment, the so-called ‘Live Stream Shopping’ (LSS). Owned by Alibaba, Taobao Live has dominated the market so far, selling more than $15 billion in gross merchandise volume in 2018. In response, Amazon developed its own Live Stream Shopping channel, entitled ‘Amazon Live’, which is expected to change and introduce the US market to a different shopping approach. In this article, we are going to dive a bit deeper and identify different parties involved in the Live Stream Shopping model and how this trend gained so much interest in Asian countries.

What is Live Stream Shopping, exactly?

Many relate Live Stream Shopping to the traditional home shopping channels, where viewers can tune in, see what is for sale and proceed with the purchase immediately. Although the concept behind it is quite similar, Live Stream Shopping comes with additional features that make it more appealing and efficient for both end-users and businesses using it.

Key LSS Features

  • Live

As the name already suggests, most of the time, Live Stream Shopping is broadcasted in real-time (live). Instead of uploading pre-recorded videos (traditional teleshopping), Live Stream Shopping is designed to keep customers engaged and make promotions available only for the duration of the live stream. It can be presented to a broad audience as a ‘one-time deal’ that might not be available tomorrow. It creates a psychological effect, called “Fear of missing out” (FOMO), which creates an immediate reaction within 24 hours, especially among millennial consumers.

  • Highly Interactive Content

During shopping sessions, viewers can ask product related questions and leave comments (reviews) while the host presents specific product features. This makes it a two-way conversation which is a key differentiator between traditional teleshopping and Live Stream Shopping.

  • Embedded link to complete purchases

Including product links is a common way that enables viewers to check out and purchase presented items in real-time. Unlike traditional teleshopping where we would have to place an order by phone, Live Stream Shopping takes this step away and contributes to a user-friendly checkout process. Every product that is presented by the host has an embedded link included in the Live Stream. As a customer, you can consider yourself checked out just by clicking that associated product link.

  • Authenticity of Presented Products

Forget about video editing or Photoshopping. Live platforms provide the authenticity that modern buyers want. With shopping sessions taking place solely live, buyers are inclined to trust sellers, since they are watching them use, wear, and test their list of offerings in real-time. On the contrary, traditional teleshopping products can be very tricky because there is a lot of video editing and Photoshopping involved. You can only be certain regarding the quality of a placed order after it reaches your door. Product authenticity is another important feature that has a positive impact on purchase behavior and satisfaction.

Live Stream Shopping in China

There are predictions saying that just as online shopping transformed retail twenty years ago, live streaming promises to transform e-commerce today. In China, numerous farmers, business owners and freelancers present their list of offerings through live stream platforms rather than in physical stores. They hire influencers with a well-defined and relevant follower base to act as hosts and test out different products in front of the camera.

In 2019, live streaming commerce surpassed 433 billion yuan ($61 billion) in transactions and as we speak, it is getting a serious boost from the pandemic. In 2020, a report is projecting that China will hit 916 billion yuan ($129 billion) in transactions, which is a considerable increase. The Chinese population seem to appreciate the way in which Live Stream Shopping engages them with the product and sometimes with a well-known influencer. They consider the process of purchase to be more social and interactive compared to the traditional way of browsing web pages.

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