Live-commerce or Livestream shopping is utilised by brands to promote their goods on a digital platform, creating an immersive experience where viewers can ask questions and buy products instantly. It can be a great way for some businesses to sell as the live streams are entertaining while encouraging viewers to stay longer. They can create a sense of urgency to buy, with some companies reporting conversion rates being 10 times higher than normal e-commerce rates.
In China, live-commerce is highly popular with the live-streaming e-commerce market in China reaching about 1237.9 billion yuan in 2020, seeing significant growth from 120 billion yuan in 2018. The market is expected to continue growing and reach 4.9 trillion yuan by 2023. Live stream shopping is so common that in a 2020 survey, two-thirds of Chinese consumers said they had bought products via live stream in the past year. Meanwhile, in most western countries, live streaming is more commonly associated with gaming and entertainment and live commerce is still a new concept. In 2021, live stream e-commerce was predicted to reach 11 billion U.S. dollars in online sales in the United States by the end of the, which is far behind China however, western retailers are starting to realise the power of live streaming and introducing it into their strategy.
There are two main established forms of live commerce; one method is that businesses will independently sell their products via a live stream platform they built and the other is through an established platform such as TikTok. The normal format of live commerce is there is a host, showing off and demonstrating products with a live chat feature and a buy option. Some bigger businesses will have different channels, for example, you can watch the electronics channel and then switch to beauty.
Live commerce hasn’t quite broken through into the US and European markets yet for a number of reasons. Firstly, platforms are not as advanced as in China which is a major barrier, also content should not come across as a hard sell but this is normal in China.
The US and Europe may be more familiar with live commerce in the form of teleshopping, which is a channel that shows off products and you can call up to purchase them, most of the time it is live. Teleshopping is much more popular with the US and European markets but teleshopping companies are now also live streaming online as well. A teleshopping company, Ideal World now has a digital studio, dedicated to online streaming and an online marketplace which is becoming increasingly popular for the company.
Influencers play an important role in the popularisation of live commerce in the US and Europe. Influencers have a connection with their followers and when they sell live, they interact with viewers and the stream is less of a hard sell which is what China is used to. Influencers are great at shifting products due to their strong relationship with followers and they will often do more than a normal live stream by styling products, showing behind the scenes, giving tutorials and much more. Influencers are a really powerful tool that businesses should utilise to tap into the live-commerce market in the US and Europe.
BrandLab360 are a company that produces virtual environments, whether that be for wholesalers to sell their products on a virtual showroom or retailers to create a unique, virtual shopping experience for customers. Livecommerce is integrated into their environments, sellers can have a video call with their buyers or customers can invite their friends to shop with them in a virtual environment again over video call creating the future for online shopping.
Would you ever buy products through live commerce? Let us know below!