Live Shopping is here to stay

published on 18 October 2021

Time to ‘Go Live’

We’ve all seen the late night/ early morning television shows and channels such as Teleshopping and QVC, but have you ever considered this may have been the beginning of live shopping? Perhaps Teleshopping wasn’t exactly ‘live’ but this could have been the root of the live commerce we see today. 

Why will live shopping be the next biggest thing? 

Going back a few years to China in 2016, Alibaba’s Taobao Live combined ecommerce with live streaming to allow viewers to watch and shop at the same time from the comfort of their homes. Live commerce combines instant purchasing of a featured product and audience participation through a chat function or reaction buttons. In a 2020 survey, two-thirds of Chinese consumers said they had bought products via livestream in the past year. McKinsey Digital analysed the data from China and concluded that, by 2026 live-commerce-initiated sales could account for as much as 10 to 20 percent of all e-commerce.

More recently in May, Facebook launched their live shopping feature, but have now announced they will have multiple live shopping events just in time for Black Friday and Christmas in the US.

Facebook said:

“Some of the biggest brands, including Benefit Cosmetics, Cocokind, Macy’s, Paintbox Nails, Tanya Taylor, Ulta Beauty, Vuori and Walmart, will host live videos that allow you to shop the latest holiday trends from the comfort of your home.”

With Facebook comes Instagram and they’ll sure be joining the live shopping event on the social media app at the same time. 

Speaking of apps, US retail giant Macy’s has a new feature for their App that will soon see ‘Macy’s Live’ added to the update. Every week, the app will host a series of live streams, “Macy’s customers can chat with Macy's stylists and hosts, see product reviews and recommendations in real-time and get a closer look at featured items. After the live show, shoppers can view archived shows and shop on-demand,” the company said. 

Retailers are now taking the path of live shopping for at least one of two main reasons. 

Number one; accelerating conversion. What does that mean? Well, it’s turning viewers into consumers and accelerating the customer decision journey from awareness of a product to purchase of that product. Viewers need something of an incentive to watch a live stream or to make an actual purchase. Time-limited tactics such as one off offers can be used to generate a sense of urgency, making people want to make that purchase there and then for a great price. 

Another reason is improving brand appeal and differentiation meaning if live shopping is done well and there’s a huge audience, it can increase the brand’s appeal and popularity pulling in new web traffic. Live shopping can also bring in new clientele and customers whilst strengthening relationships with existing ones. 

Live shopping is one of those things that's a very new concept and people may just fall into doing it. It works for some companies and not for others. The majority of livestreamers come from the apparel and fashion companies making up 35.6% of the total livestreamers. Only then the other categories such as beauty, fresh food, consumer electronics, furnishing and home decor and automobile and local online-offline sales (e.g. tickets) make up the rest of the livestreamers varying from between 0-8%. 

Most retailers try to do livestreams to keep their audience and customers engaged with their company. Especially during the pandemic, retailers had to be creative with how they could still make sales whilst not physically being open. Although, as much as retailers tried to keep their customers coming back, after the pandemic it is said that 61% of 18-24 year olds are less loyal to brands now more than before the pandemic. The reality is that so many Gen Zers are now looking at what ‘TikTok made me buy’ coming from a multitude of retailers. 

Would you make purchases from a live stream? Do you think that eventually all shopping will become virtual? Let us know what you think about live shopping on Twitter @goldlistapp

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