What if you could interact with your customers in real-time like never before?
A new phenomena is sweeping across the online shopping experience in Asia. Live stream shopping, or more simply cited as live shopping, is experiencing explosive growth, with over $15B (USD) in transactions occurring in 2018 alone. TaoBao Live, the live stream selling division of AliBaba, recently recorded sales of $2.5B on Singles Day (11/11).
Kleiner Perkins has recently reported that live streaming in China has become the most lucrative source of online revenue per hour, ahead of more established products such as video games, TV, and music.
So what is live stream shopping and why does it work so well?
Well, as the name implies, it’s a live stream, and for most of us it probably looks a lot like an infomercial or home shopping channel. It features a pitchman of some sort, be they a celebrity, influencer, brand advocate, or even just an enthusiastic product user, talking about their chosen product and interacting with their viewers. The seller can run demonstrations, model, or otherwise show-off their goods, their audience can ask direct questions and ultimately make an immediate purchase decision, and then complete the transaction within the live stream. That’s pretty much it.
Why has it found such a powerful niche in e-commerce?
The fact that it is live and interactive plays a large role in it. The seller and the viewer can converse, in near real-time and in a virtual face-to-face environment. It creates a true connection between the buyer and the seller, even if they are thousands of miles apart, in different states, countries, or even continents. The viewer can see the products being used and ask questions about the product - they are no longer reliant on a flat, one dimensional webpage or brochure to make a purchasing decision. This live and highly interactive experience restores a two-way interaction between the buyer and the seller; it reestablishes an “in-store” aspect to online shopping that has been missing. And when celebrities and influencers are added to the mix, it forms an even more powerful connection — the celebrity can directly engage with fans, and in turn, the fans develop a more personal connection with the celebrity, and are very likely to buy a product so they can “be just like their idol”.
So where does live shopping go next?
Well, we believe that we’ll see huge growth in live shopping, and likely many new and innovative campaigns and shows featuring product placements and sales opportunities coming soon to a device near you. However, we also see a broadening of live stream shopping to other sectors.
The same things that make live shopping so successful and appealing in the online shopping environment can also apply to anybody who engages with an audience using live video. Think of it more as a conversational commerce opportunity than a simple shopping experience. Just Imagine:
- a gamer selling merchandise while he streams his game to an audience
- wagering on a horse race directly while watching a pundit break it down in a video stream
- a celebrity soliciting donations for a charitable cause they support while engaging with fans
This conversational commerce is a game changer technology for anyone who uses live content to interact with fans, and finally offers a truly unique approach to monetization that has been missing with live content.