An exciting new trend is taking place in the world of eCommerce—live commerce. Live commerce is a new form of online shopping where customers make purchases during live streaming video events. This exciting new way of online shopping is already extremely popular in Asia and it’s beginning to make waves in the US. In this article, we’ll explore what live commerce is, and what it can mean for your business.
What Is Live Commerce?
Live commerce enhances eCommerce with live streaming video events, combining the personal help of in-store shopping experiences with online convenience. A celebrity, for example, gives a live product demonstration or endorsement. With live interactive video streaming, customers can interact, comment and even directly ask questions of the presenter. In the live stream, links allow customers to learn more and purchase directly during the celebrity presentation, then return to the live stream and participate.
The live commerce experience is designed to mimic the experience of shopping in a store. The stream can include embedded video and links to further information for measurements or sizing, material, and various ways to wear the product. This combines the best aspects of a live store experience with the ease, convenience and speed of the conventional online shopping experience.
The Popularity of Live Commerce in Asia
Live commerce is broadly pioneered throughout Asia. Alibaba’s Taobao platform developed a culture of live influencers who communicate the value of various products. Taobao’s aggressive development of the live commerce concept enabled a practice that has helped support brick-and-mortar retailers.
Live influencers, known as Key Opinion Leaders, have been pivotal in this effort. China’s top influencer, Viya, was able to generate the equivalent of $51 million USD in a single day. Viya and Kim Kardashian partnered in a live stream to sell 15,000 bottles of perfume in just a few minutes. The Asian securities brokerage, Everbright Securities, reports that the live commerce market is worth $63 billion USD as of 2019, a 220% increase from 2018. This business segment is exploding.
How Live Commerce is Conquering the US Market
U.S. online retailers are not sitting idly. Amazon recently launched Amazon Live, which is currently livestreaming product demos and influencer efforts. The total revenue from live commerce in the U.S. is estimated to be $1 billion dollars as of 2018, but this number is expected to grow exponentially.
Also rising in this scene is TalkShopLive. TalkShopLive currently has just 2 million users, but sales for this platform are up seven-fold from 2018 to 2019. Another platform, CommentSold, has seen a jump in sales from $326 million to $1 billion USD.
The Benefits of eCommerce Streaming
The benefits of live commerce and eCommerce streaming are immense. Many of these are extensions of the promise of web-based eCommerce including distribution cost reduction, customer experience improvement, the tracking and measuring of marketing efforts, and brand loyalty.
Reduce Distribution Costs
Live commerce reduces overhead costs when products are sold directly to consumers from a warehouse instead of being shipped from brick-and-mortar locations. Live commerce also creates an easier order-of-operations and processes for receiving an order, having a label created, and easily shipping to consumers so that they receive their order as soon as possible.
Improve the Customer Experience
The influencer acts as a customer service representative and floor salesperson. They demonstrate features, discuss how the product works in their daily lives, and answer customer pain points. They can also compare and contrast different products, and talk about the pros and cons of each. The influencer-as-brand-ambassador interacts directly with customers, helping to increase customer value for retailers.
Track and Measure Marketing Efforts
Targeted email campaigns, directed social media messaging, and other forms of inbound marketing and promotion can be used to maintain customer loyalty and satisfaction. Live commerce communicates with audiences through email newsletters, coupons, and paid media campaigns.
The influencer-as-brand-ambassador creates long-term brand loyalty as customers connect more and more with the person selling the products. The customer value increases for retailers as people create a personal relationship with the ambassador.
The Future of Live Commerce
Live commerce is destined to become mainstream in the U.S. within the next ten years. While live commerce platforms in the US are currently disorganized and don’t offer the best user experience, this will change. Amazon will most likely dominate this space, but other players will likely emerge. A new generation of U.S. buyers will come to enjoy the human touch and convenience that live commerce offers.
Broadcast sales platforms such as QVC already have shown that Americans enjoy live content that also sells. New eCommerce platforms to support other interested retailers simply need to be developed.
An influencer-based live commerce sector will likely be as successful in North America as it is in Asia.
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