Retail & Commerce
The Future of E-Commerce Is Already Here
Just as online shopping transformed retail twenty years ago, live streaming shopping promises to transform e-commerce today.
A few months ago in our Webinar on China and South Korea (if you still haven’t watched it, you can do it now through this link), we talked about some of the trends that were having special relevance in the context of Coronavirus and, by using Artificial Intelligence, we were able to predict that many of these were going to have a fundamental role in the immediate future of the western world.
We discussed about how the contactless economy was inevitable and growing and early anticipated the shift to domestic travel fuelled by economic uncertainty and fear of contagion. We also talked about a particular trend that, although it seemed very alien to the culture and habits of Western consumers, is showing radical growth in the present, just as we forecasted. We are talking about Live Shopping.
What is it about? Live Shopping combines e-commerce with live-streaming and entertainment and dominates the market in China. For instance, Alibaba’s popular Taobao marketplace has a dedicated livestream channel where retailers and brands can broadcast live videos or work together with influencers to stream and market their products, and users can buy them with just one click at the very same moment they see them on their screens.
This trend has originated in Asia several years ago but has already reached Europe and the United States and, according to our data, is expected to keep growing and reaching more and more consumers from different industries. Just as online shopping transformed retail twenty years ago, live streaming shopping promises to transform e-commerce today.
While it bears some similarity to the “Shoppable Television” trend of a few years ago, this new way of shopping is especially interesting because of the active and immediate participation of consumers. Users who are connected to the streams of different brands or influencers, can make questions, ask the hosts to try the products and learn about their different aspects in realtime, something that is very disruptive compared to traditional advertising and marketing methods.
Several western brands are already using this technology to address their curious consumers with innovative proposals.
Fashion brand Gina Tricot has been one of the pioneers in holding a live-shopping event to promote its new summer collection. Taking advantage of the fact that people have been much more connected to their mobile devices due to the impossibility of leaving home, they summoned their clients to a live shopping session hosted on their own website. There, two influencers showed and tried each of the pieces from the collection, gave discount codes and sent links to each of the items to facilitate the purchase process.
The luxury e-tailer Moda Operandi has also joined the trend with a 30-minute live stream hosted by designer Johanna Ortizo, showcasing her Resort collection of party dresses from her Colombian base.
In the same line, new platforms that seek to simplify the process of going live-stream for brands are being constantly launched.
Livescale is one of them. This new eCommerce platform integrates with both Shopify and Salesforce and showcases products alongside a live-streamed video. It offers integrated transactions on video, making it both a marketing and sales tool. Thus far, Livescale has seen tremendous success . The company says the tool boasts a 35% higher engagement rate to help convert leads into sales (with a 9.5% conversion rate) due to the reduced purchase period that overcomes consumer hesitation and increase spontaneous purchases.
But this is not all. In addition to the growth of this trend expected in the West, it is believed that it will also undergo some changes and incorporate new features to seduce brands and customers. For example, virtual and augmented reality are expected to be the next steps for turning live-shopping into an immersive 3D experience that allows viewers to observe and study products from different angles, just as if they were in the store.
In conclusion, live shopping is already among us and will soon become a key tool to connect with consumers and boost online sales.