Live-streamed content is captivating young audiences more than ever. Twitch, the world’s leading live streaming platform for gamers has proved there is a big market for watching other people play video games in real-time. On the other side, influencers that partner up with brands to promote different products is nothing new. However, presenting those products within a live stream and enabling viewers to purchase featured items is a real success, especially in Asian countries. This is where Live Stream Shopping and influencers can do the magic.
In this article, we’re going to place the focus on influencers and brands in a Live Stream Shopping context. This partnership can revolutionize the way we shop and transform it into a social experience.
Live Stream Shopping for brands and influencers
An increasing number of brands begin to realize that live stream shopping is a powerful way to connect with consumers. As a result, Alibaba’s Taobao Marketplace has dominated so far, selling more than $15.1 billion in gross merchandise volume in 2018. Such platforms are great for fast-moving and practical consumer goods. As with any sales environment, as a marketer, it is truly important to find the most efficient way to reach potential buyers and therefore guide them through the purchasing process.
Beyond unboxing videos and try-on hauls, influencers can form partnerships with various brands and act as hosts during live-streamed shopping sessions. It can be looked at as the next step of making shopping a social experience. Influencers, also known as ‘key opinion leaders’ drive live shopping in China. Their role is to showcase products, try them on if possible, describe them for viewers, and answer live product related questions.
For brands, it is not enough to find an influencer with many followers to act as a host. Instead, the focus should be placed on finding influencers that inspire trust to their audiences. In China, Viya is the most known female Chinese influencer, with over 12 million followers on Taobao. Her followers trust her and are confident that she will never feature a product in her live stream unless she carefully tests it with her team. A successful influencer will most often have a team behind that success. In Viya’s case, her 200 employees filter products and strictly allow her to promote high-quality items from brands with a great reputation.
Another important aspect is to find an influencer with a follower base that matches your product and culture. Let’s assume that you own an outdoor brand. At first, you might think that an influencer with 2 million followers will be more efficient than one with 100k followers. That’s not true at all! If the one with 2 million followers is not passionate about outdoor activities, it is very likely that his/her followers are not either. On the other side, if the one with 100k is passionate about outdoor activities and apparel, his/her followers will most likely be as well.
Popular Live Stream Shopping solutions and Campaigns
Lazada (owned by Alibaba) – in South East Asia, Lazada has coined the term ‘Shoppertainment’. It is a term meant to highlight shopping with entertainment and social experiences, so that customers (viewers) can watch, play, and stay. Within this platform, live shopping streamers apply its ‘See Now Buy Now’ feature to complete sales. So far, 3000 live stream sessions were hosted on this platform in Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia. Among these sessions, there were streamed fashion shows involving both local and international designers. One of the most important events hosted by Lazada was its one-month Woman’s Festival (May 2019). It focused on female consumers aged 18 to 24 to support and highlight their roles as digital influencers.
Tmall (operated by Alibaba) – Tmall, formerly known as Taobao Mall is a Chinese online retail website for business-to-consumer. It serves local Chinese and international businesses to sell branded products to customers in mainland China. On 6 November 2019, Kim Kardashian partnered up with the famous Chinese influencer (Viya) and hosted a live streaming session on this platform. The main purpose of this partnership was to help Kim sell her KKW branded perfumes. It was a real success and the pair sold 150,000 units during a live streaming session. The partnership between Kim and Viya kicked off a bigger initiative, called the Wall of Fame program. It was created to attract Western brand founders to partner up with Chinese influencers and sell products within live stream shopping sessions.
Amazon Live – Amazon launched its Amazon Live Creator app, which enables sellers to live stream their own products available on the Amazon platform. Shoppers can buy featured products in real-time without leaving the stream and they can discover brands hosting live-streaming sessions on the product detail page and other placements where shoppers browse. The platform is intended for US professional sellers that are part of the Amazon Brand Registry and for US vendors.
In the long term, it is important for brands and influencers to diversify and find new partnerships when hosting live stream shopping sessions. As an individual streamer (influencer), featuring the same list of offerings over and over again will overlap the audience and will have a negative impact on sales. Today, live streams are widespread and are not restricted by a single channel anymore. Besides budgeting for such campaigns, brands and influencers can stream on more than one platform simultaneously, spreading out the message as accurately and effective as possible.