Live stream shopping – the »new« big thing on various social media platforms. These days, it is becoming increasingly difficult to go to the fashion shop around the corner or to the local consumer electronics retailer. Nevertheless, customers do not want to miss out on the first-hand live experience.
This is where live stream shopping comes into play. However, the question is: how can brands and companies jump on the bandwagon and create a first-class customer experience that resembles an in-store visit as closely as possible and boosts sales? We take a closer look in today’s reading tips of the week.
Live Stream Shopping: Just Like in the Store?
Online shopping is booming. Well, there is no alternative at the moment. At the same time, the retail sector is suffering from the pandemic. The bridge between shopping experience and convenience is live stream shopping – the home shopping of the modern age.
However, instead of customers shopping for stylish gold chains or trendy transitional jackets at QVC or HSE24, buying habits are shifting, not particularly surprisingly, towards e-commerce – and now also towards social media.
Live streams are increasingly used on social media platforms to present products, conduct Q&A sessions and ultimately generate sales. What made home shopping channels such as QVC and HSE24 so appealing in the past was the fact that you could be there live, be one of the few customers and, last but not least, have various products presented to you by celebrities. It is pretty much the same for live stream shopping on social media, where there is also a mixture of shopping and entertainment.
Unlike back then, however, live shopping allows fans and followers to exchange information and experiences with each other. The community effect is strengthened. You get tips from people who are also interested in superfoods. Or vintage sweatshirts. Or dog toys. It is just like in a store, except that you do not have to be afraid to talk to strangers face to face. The Internet makes it possible.
Live stream shopping is currently one of the most popular marketing tools for promoting products online and boosting sales. This form of shopping is genuine and does not require big commercials, making it a personal experience for fans and followers and those who would like to become one of them.
Live Stream Shopping: Pioneering Work by China and the USA
In China, commercial features have always been an integral part of social networks, so it is hardly surprising that live stream shopping has also been a hot trend there for some time. In 2019, 37 per cent of all Chinese online shoppers already made live stream purchases, which accounted for about nine per cent of the total e-commerce market’s revenue. That is quite a lot.
Especially when looking at TikTok, it comes as little surprise that live shopping is part of everyday business there. In August 2020, TikTok introduced the first shoppable live stream, initially offering a limited clothing collection. This marked the first time that TikTok users were able to purchase products from a page during a live stream without having to leave the social network. Convenience meets shopping experience. There we have it again.
However, the Western world is following suit. Amazon has recently launched Amazon Live, which offers shopping options through make-up tutorials, cooking shows and fitness shows. Shopping and learning something at the same time, just like that. Lately, Facebook has also increasingly developed similar shopping tools, which big brands such as L’Oréal or Estée Lauder are already using.
Instagram Live is another powerful platform to boost sales. Depending on the target group and group of buyers, companies should keep an eye on this feature. The past has shown that the social network likes to copy features that have proven to be successful (whether on Snapchat or TikTok). In other words: it is only a matter of time before live stream shopping (without having to leave the platform) is rolled out there as well.
Live Stream Shopping in Germany
Those who still order their skin creams from QVC also go to a travel agency to book their trips. This certainly makes it difficult to get them excited for live stream shopping. For everyone else, this kind of live experience is definitely a new, hands-on form of shopping – even in Germany.
Many companies have followed suit in recent months. A Düsseldorf cooking school, for example, not only offered online cooking courses during the lockdown, but also cooked live on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook for its followers, who could then order the ingredients required from the online shop.
What works on social media platforms obviously also works elsewhere (e.g. online shops). ESPRIT, for example, has been offering great live shopping events for some time now. You do not need a social media account to participate in these events, but can simply join by entering a name and start chatting live. Users can then select their desired product and add it directly to their shopping cart. This is thoroughly thought through home shopping.
The innovation potential of live stream shopping is enormous. It is important for companies to embrace the trend and provide the right tools for influencers to drive online sales. When retail stores eventually open again, live stream shopping will not disappear. So why not send influencers into brick-and-mortar stores and have them start a live stream there once it is possible again? Hybrid is the key. Be innovative and creative and position yourselves as pioneers.
Our 5 Reading Tips of the Week
Live Commerce: Everything You Need to Know [Digital Ethos]
ESPRIT Live Shopping [ESPRIT]