As eCommerce businesses continue to implement and iterate on their strategic plans 2023, it’s clear that this year, every KPI will be linked to increasing revenue. But the real question is how will this be different from previous years? How can eCommerce increase sales during challenging economic times? What’s going to be the game-changer this year? To answer that, we first need to look at consumer trends and demands.
Changing consumer trends
We saw consumers rely more heavily on eCommerce during COVID-19 as online retailers focused on convenience and the contactless nature of online shopping from desktop, tablet, or mobile devices. The online shopping experience became more effortless, friendly, and accessible. Additionally, increased use of social media opened new opportunities to directly speak to consumers through the trusted voice of influencers across consumer demographics and categories.
While many studies have shown how much consumers love the efficiency of eCommerce, the current online shopping experience process lacks the opportunity for personal connection.
A recent Forbes article stated Gen Z and millennials “prize convenience and a social conscience. They want shopping to be at once seamless and personal.” Similarly, McKinsey found that in 2021, six in ten Americans under the age of 25 had completed a purchase on a social-media site and a Morning Consult survey found the same age bracket likely to attend future live shopping events.
Finding growth with younger generations
Now in a challenging economy, how can eCommerce businesses find new ways to drive growth? Connecting with gen Z and millennial consumers will be the key. To reach them, taking advantage of their demands for mobile convenience and a more personal shopping experience provides an amazing opportunity for growth.
How? Live shopping.
Benefits of live shopping
Static images and big data can only do so much to influence a sale on a website or app. Real-time video and chat bring online shoppers much closer to a personalized interaction with your products.
With social shopping that uses live video, chat, and bi-directional interaction, online retailers can:
- Enhance customer engagement: Customize a sales pitch on the fly based on real-time feedback to overcome objections and personalize demonstrations.
- Create a sense of urgency: Add real value to flash-sales and time-based call-to-actions for live shopping events.
- Cross-sell and upsell: Seamlessly upsell and cross-sell related products or services in real-time based on customer engagement.
- Build trust and community: Create genuine online communities of shoppers and build trust that increases loyalty and boosts sales.
- Gain data insights: Track shopper engagement in real-time and adjust marketing and sales strategies based on live insights.
So, will it work? After the introduction of livestream shopping in China, related eCommerce sales went from $62.30B in 2019 to projected growth of $623B in 2023, in just four years.
Live shopping and other real-time engagement (RTE) channels provide an opportunity for eCommerce to surpass the incremental sales growth seen from traditional marketing channel optimizations
Creating a new user journey
eCommerce is predicted to shift major ad spend to social media in 2023. Social media platforms have attempted to capitalize on this and pursue various live shopping strategies, with hit-and-miss success. For instance, TikTok for Business offers a pass-through approach (linking back to a brand’s website instead of completing purchases in the app) and Meta’s live shopping for Facebook and Instagram shut its doors in 2022. One theory for the middling success is social media platforms don’t have the physical goods to sell. The shopping cart and shipping process was and is too messy.
Knowing all this, eCommerce brands have an opportunity to flip the script in 2023 and add social features to their own apps and sites. Instead of relying on the success or failure of one-size-fits-all live shopping experiments from social media giants, brands can now own the entire experience.
Using a real-time engagement platform for eCommerce, brands can include innovative features like:
- Real-time shopping cart feedback so the livestream host can congratulate shoppers and encourage others to complete a transaction.
- Omni-directional livestreams where shoppers can interact with hosts and other social shoppers.
- Multiple ways for shoppers to interact with a host, such as, polls, emoji reactions, live auctions, live testimonies, and rewards.
- AI-driven moderation tools, real-time speech-to-text transcription and multi-language text translations.
- Time-based offers to create a sense of urgency for real-time sales and promotions.
- Support for simultaneous livestreams for millions of users from hundreds of influencers for authentic user-generated content to connect with younger shoppers.
Social shopping will be key to driving incremental sales from Gen Z and millennial shoppers. By owning the experience, online retailers can boost customer engagement, create a sense of urgency, build trust and community, and gain valuable real-time insights. Social shopping can help to boost revenue and grow a brand’s customer base with younger consumers
Agora’s Real-Time Engagement Platform has proven experience supporting innovative live shopping use cases. With scalable interactive live streams, audience engagement tools, and the full flexibility needed to build a branded live shopping experience, Agora is here to help you build a social shopping experience to unlock new revenue streams.
Ready to get started? Schedule a demo today.