Live Streaming Ecommerce May Be The Next Big Thing
Live streaming eCommerce is growing and slowing taking over the eCommerce industry. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, this new niche is becoming a fertile ground for retailers in and out of China. In 2019 alone, iiMedia reported a revenue increase of over $61 billion from the live shopping industry, and it is expected to double that figure this year.
The pandemic is the reason many physical stores have been closed for so long. As a result, store owners, brands, and businesses are venturing into live streaming to keep in touch with their customers. This happened for the first time in 2014 when Mogujie, an eCommerce site that deals in fashion, streamed live to their buyers. Following suit was Taobao Live, the live streaming arm of Alibaba, which had a 719% spike in new-users after the first stream. With this, it is no secret that live streaming eCommerce is becoming a big business in China.
So what’s the difference between TV ads and live streaming eCommerce? Is there a growth opportunity for live streaming e-commerce in other parts of the world? Here’s what experienced people in the eCommerce industry think.
What Is Live Streaming eCommerce?
Owner of Pro Video Talent, Donna Davis, defines live streaming eCommerce as “the use of the power of live media to sell products and or services.” Firms are now marketing training courses, tangible products, decent services and even going as far as asking YouTube audiences to pay to get answers or to get a shoutout. Online stores are boosting sales by persistently discovering original and artistic ways to control the live streaming industry.
A lot of times, live streaming seems like the perfect knockoff of live television broadcasts like the Home Shopping Network. Donna says the similarity is advantageous. By validating products, getting feedback from viewers, and hosting live question and answer sessions, you build the interest and passion for customers in your marketplace. Nowadays, live streaming is like an upgrade from live TV. Absolutely anything from TV can be replicated on live streaming platforms, and even better. However, instead of looking for contact information after watching a TV ad, viewers can click on the products/services they are interested in right from the live stream.
The Evolution of Live Stream Shopping
After Mogujie and Taobao broke the internet, live streaming took off. Billions of dollars have been generated in revenue from this novel industry and millions of products and services have become household names through its engagement.
Brands need to take advantage of eCommerce and live streaming. The world is slowly sliding into recession due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Buyers are home and physical stores are closed but smart businesses are going online and harnessing the power of the internet to thrive in their respective fields. The pandemic provides new and established brands an opportunity to become familiar with technology and try out more methods to provide a better experience for their customers. It could even be the ride of a new era of live technology on multiple digital platforms.
The beauty of online streaming and sales is that it is an easy hack and does not require a lot of skill to understand. A key disadvantage of TV ads for brands is that it is cost-intensive. Businesses have to pay large amounts to cover production and airtime. Also, it is nearly impossible to buy a stable or consistent time slot to advertise your products or services. Any major or high-priority event can disrupt your paid program.
A great substitute is television shopping networks. However, there’s usually a restriction on the amount of and the types of products/services that are given airtime, even with the aggressive competition.
Some Challenges Brands Face With Live Streaming eCommerce
It is a surprise that so many brands are wary of live streaming eCommerce, despite its numerous advantages. The illusion of perfection and not being able to control the viewers’ reaction to and reception of the advertised product or service might be too much of a risk for some businesses to handle. However, these seeming imperfections are what give the brand its authenticity. This gives an impression of ”realness” which makes the brand more relatable to old and potential customers.
With live streaming, online businesses can begin to build confidence in the new sales and marketing channel by starting small. Davis said, for starters, you can stream on your smartphone using a streaming platform like Facebook or YouTube to exhibit your product and show viewers how to buy it. “Take it up a notch with a Zoom call shared to your Facebook page,” she suggested, “and get customers to tell your audience how they use your products.”
By doing this, the brand can build excitement around its product, educate their viewers, and foster trust through product exhibitions and customer feedback and reviews. “If you’ve already got a following and a few thousand dollars to invest, hire a professional live streaming company”. According to David, ”they can help you develop your broadcast show.”
Being a first-timer to the online shopping industry can pose a lot of challenges, but it’s nothing you can’t handle with a little determination. Small brands have become successful overnight
from putting in work to curate an active online presence for their business. There is no limit to what your business can achieve if you decide to go against the odds and put it out there. You might do it wrong the first few times but you will appreciate it when you finally get a hang of it. With the right team and commitment, there is no limiting what your business can amount to.
Live streaming eCommerce may or may not become as popular as it is now in China in the rest of the world. That is, to say the least. There has never been a better or globally acceptable time to experiment with sales channels than now. Brands with physical stores are struggling to stay afloat and make it out of the COVID-19 pandemic in one piece. Online streaming provides such businesses with the opportunity to venture into a better and more sustainable channel of reaching customers. Any business that does not harness the latent power that the live streaming industry possesses will have too many regrets in the long run.