Livestream shopping, or interactive shopping using live video streaming, provides brands with a unique opportunity to foster intimacy with consumers, and it’s already taking off in markets across the globe. Deloitte reported that China has the largest livestreaming market in the world, generating $4.4 billion last year. Alibaba’s livestream channel, Taobao Live, helped struggling farmers directly engage with their customers, drawing in over 400 million viewers in 2018.
Across the Pacific, Amazon Live featured livestreams showcasing products from various brands. One eCommerce company, Wayfair, used its “Wayfair on Air” livestream to support its “Way Day” sales event.
It’s only the beginning for this burgeoning online social experience. Check out these three reasons why livestream shopping will carve out a spot in the US market.
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A Popular Medium Among Young Shoppers
If your target audience includes Generation Z, experiment with livestream shopping to reach them. 63% of people aged 18-34 watch livestreaming content regularly, as the medium perfectly taps into the younger generation’s drive for real-time content and their appreciation for spontaneous, unedited formats.
To make the most of this trend, US brands must prioritize:
- Influencers: Gen Z consumers generally like forming real connections with real people. Hire influencers who share your brand’s values to livestream their shopping experience at your stores. Collaborate with micro influencers who have 1000-5000 followers on social media and have them showcase and review your products via livestream. When choosing an influencer partner, make sure they have high engagement levels, a close affiliation with your brand, and are well known by your target demographic.
- Interactivity: Recreate the experience of shopping with friends by featuring livestreams with two-way conversations between the influencer/brand and your customers. Inspire consumers to ask questions, share thoughts on their favorite items, and send requests to hosts during their stream.
- Existing Platforms: Stick to platforms already popular with your audience, like Instagram and YouTube. Both social media platforms make livestreaming easy and allow for real-time chats with viewers.
The Rise of Social Commerce
30% of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest users in the US have purchased a product after discovering it on one of the social platforms. Like social commerce, livestream shopping promotes a sense of familiarity that makes consumers feel more comfortable about their purchases. Check out these strategies that make livestream shopping a social experience:
- Livestream Shopping Holidays: If you have your own shopping holiday (e.g., WayFair’s Way Day or Amazon’s Prime Day), use this medium to strategically position your event. Wayfair’s livestream during Way Day helped boost the retailer’s per-day sales by 325%. Make the most of your campaigns by livestreaming on multiple social media platforms and featuring special discounts as well as the original sticker price. After the sale, send emails that explain how to use newly purchased items or give other tips that’ll enhance buyers’ experience with your brand.
- Interact With Your Audience: Ever wonder how shopping channel QVC engages consumers for two hours every day? The key is making shopping conversational instead of strictly transactional. Establish a relationship with consumers by bringing products to life with compelling stories and background. Limit your upselling and train hosts to turn a practical need into an emotional desire and lifestyle aspiration. Have hosts read consumer recommendations and give on-the-go product reviews for an unscripted peek into your brand.
Consumers Want Instant Gratification
Impatient consumers are increasingly looking to buy and own products instantly. Smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase immediately using their phones. Here are two examples of brands already using streaming to shorten the path to purchase during live events:
- Shoppable Fashion Shows: An increasing number of fashion brands are allowing consumers to buy the products featured during runway shows in real-time. Tommy Hilfiger, for instance, allows consumers to shop runway looks on a dedicated website. When using this strategy, create an interactive and seamless user experience so that consumers can quickly purchase a complete look. Consider integrating your mobile app with recognition tools so that consumers can shop looks by taking screenshots of the items.
- Shoppable TV: 45% of US consumers use at least one digital device while watching television.
Noting this change in consumer behavior, brands are now investing in shoppable live TV moments. In May, Lacoste presented shoppable TV ads during Novak Djokovic’s matches at the French Open. The 20-second ads that ran on NBCUniversal allowed viewers to scan QR codes on their phones. This directed users to a webpage where they could purchase items from the Lacoste x Novak Djokovic collection as they watched him play.
When considering this strategy, explain how the QR works and direct consumers to a mobile-friendly landing page. Use a tracking and reporting system to identify how many users interacted with your promotions.
Should We Proceed With Livestream?
While it’s too early to tell if livestream shopping will gain the same level of traction we’re seeing in Asia, the approach is slowly attracting fans in the US. Livestream shopping has promise, but it’s important to note that American customers have a short attention span and don’t like being forced into purchasing decisions. When experimenting with livestream, avoid coming off as just another invasive advertising medium. Stick to educating and engaging customers, and see how your fanbase reacts.
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