How can Live Stream Shopping help brands and influencers?

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 LiveAmazon 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. 

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.

Event marketing on Instagram. 5 ideas that will get you going

We’ve talked about the importance of social media in marketing. It offers us access to billions of users around the globe. Today I want to focus on Instagram, the platform that seems to be on everyone’s lips. With around 700 million accounts and over 400 million daily active users, Instagram had a fabulous growth in the last 4 years. And considering the fact that over 60% of its users are under 35 years old it’s clearly obvious that Instagram is great if you want to bring Millennials to your events.

smart phone placed over a laptop

So, without any further introductions, here are 5 ideas that will help you if you are planning to use Instagram to increase ticket sales.

Instagram is all about visual impact

Don’t forget that Instagram is the place where people come to see beautiful pictures. So for your Instagram profile, you should always have your camera ready. You can use pictures from your previous events (high-quality pictures with people having fun are perfect) or pictures with your crew setting up the place. A good way to show your progress is to use before/after pictures with the slide options; you can use up to 10 photos in just one post, showing your progress in setting up the place. If you want to edit your photos you can use Canva, a tool that allows you to edit photos directly into the Instagram format (1080px X 1080px).

Another powerful feature of Instagram is the Story section, where you can add both photos and videos. We talked about this section in a previous article that can be found here.

It’s easy to use Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads are a great way to ensure a greater reach for your posts. Just like Facebook, Instagram allows you to promote your posts so more potential customers hear about your business. There are four types of ads on Instagram: Photo Ads, Video Ads, Carousel Ads and Stories Ads.

Instagram is owned by Facebook so if you ever used Fb to set up a paid campaign you will find it very easy to set one up on Instagram. if you just want to promote a previous post you will be able to set up an Objective, select an Action Button, Audience, Budget, and Duration.

User-generated content works wonders

What will convince you to buy a certain product/service? The brand promoting itself or a customer that used it and can offer you a full review? Well, it seems that 76% of the consumers think that brands are not very honest when promoting themselves and believe that average people are, so they rely on user-generated content more than they rely on one particular brand’s marketing. Instagram is a great way to use this type of content because we all love to take photos, especially when having fun. Are you planning a festival? Create your own hashtag and your own location so people can tell the world where they are having fun. Planning a conference? I’m sure that attendees will love to take pictures with the speakers; repost those photos for some great user-generated content. There are many ways to use Instagram for USG, Hubspot went the extra mile and gathered some of the greatest campaigns.

Influencers can help you

Influencers love Instagram and you should take full advantage of it; it’s a great way for you to increase your number of followers or even convert some Instagrammers into attendees. How? Set up a partnership with an influencer in your niche so a post promoting your event will reach his tens of thousands of followers. This is the best tactic if you aim for a fast growth of your number of followers. If you want to set a strategy based on influencers you can read more here.

“Link in Bio” to the rescue

As I’m sure you know, Instagram doesn’t want you wandering around the Internet, so there are no active links on Instagram apart from the one in your Bio. It may look like a downside, but it’s not. You just need to learn that is OK to change the link in your Bio. Do you want to inform your followers on how to use your NFC cashless payment system? Add in Bio a link to an article that explains how this technology works. Are you selling tickets? Change the Bio link with so it leads to your tickets.

Instagram is a growing star, that’s for sure. And it’s great if you want to create an online presence. But, as I told before, you should test everything to see what really suits you. Remember that the vast majority of Instagram users are under 35 years old, this could be a very important information for your marketing strategy.