Live commerce brings home shopping into the mobile age
Live commerce, a new retail trend that brings a traditional TV shopping channel into the live-streaming era, is growing in popularity as retailers look for new ways to connect with consumers.
Live commerce is similar to TV home shopping in that the host promotes products on a media channel, but it’s broadcast live online, allowing viewers to instantly communicate with the host by sending messages on platforms like YouTube Live.
Retailers try to lure viewers to watch the shows by offering benefits, like giving out freebies or offering free deliveries. They don’t just sell products in the live commerce videos, but also hold events that require active participation from viewers.
Live commerce shows often feature popular social media influencers and YouTubers to increase interest and pull in established fans.
Live commerce, as we briefly mentioned above, is a service that is combining live video streaming with the ability to interact with sellers and to buy immediately, whether that be from selling an actual product during a stream or receiving support from a social community. The benefits of live commerce, compared to traditional shopping channels and e-commerce, continue to be proven with use-cases around the world. For example, AliExpress, an Alibaba subsidiary, launched a live commerce service called ‘AliExpress LIVE’, which saw as many as 320,000 goods being added to the cart per one million views during a single live streaming session. These incredible conversions are the reasons many companies are flocking towards live commerce.
If western brands hope to use live commerce to cater to the next generation of young, digitally native online shoppers (according to a report by China Tech Insights in China, 83.1% of live streaming users are under 30), they must recognise live commerce for what it is – a form of entertainment. And they must invest in hosts and in consistent and regular content: Alibaba’s ecommerce platform, Taobao, boasts 4,000 livestream hosts, who generate 150,000 hours of content each day.
Do all that and there are still any number of reasons (demographic, economic, cultural) why live commerce might not take off in the same way and on the same scale that it has in China. For instance, ecommerce is just over 10% of all retail sales in the US, and close to 37% in China.
Either way, live commerce is worth exploring, and agencies and marketers could do worse than look at its successes for examples of how to entertain and sell at the same time.