Could live shopping be the future of retail?
For years now, the rise of eCommerce has generated conversations about the “death of the high street.” Online shopping is ingrained into our daily lives thanks to the convenience of being able to buy at the click of a button.
Yet, the in-store experience of browsing products in person and speaking to salespeople for more information is something eCommerce businesses have struggled to compete with — until now.
Live shopping is the latest eCommerce trend for acquiring, engaging, and converting new customers. It turns online shopping into an interactive, engaging experience by combining the technological capabilities of eCommerce with the entertainment value of social media and the nostalgia of at-home shopping models.
With more than 55% of shoppers using online video when shopping in-store, it’s no surprise live shopping is taking the eCommerce industry by storm.
So, what is live shopping, and how can it boost conversions for your online store?
What is live shopping?
Live shopping, also known as livestream shopping, has digitized the home shopping experience through the use of social media, apps, broadcasting software, and websites.
Using teleshopping (think QVC or the Home Shopping Network) as a model, live shopping modernizes this concept by adding digital, social, and engagement elements. It combines the broadcast aspect of teleshopping with the eCommerce function of online stores and the communal aspect of social media.
Alibaba launched the first live shopping channel, called Taobao Live, for the Chinese market in 2016. Its premise was simple: to evoke the teleshopping experience of the 1990s and early 2000s with livestream broadcasts that let people simultaneously watch and shop online product presentations.
Nowadays, we can see many retailers and eCommerce platforms leveraging live shopping for their consumers. According to Coresight, live shopping generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019. By 2022, Chinese sales are expected to reach $423 billion.
As interest in live shopping grows, we’ve seen the addition of new features such as chat function, live Q&As, reviews, and influencer marketing. These app additions intend to improve the customer experience and thus increase the popularity of live shopping.
Apparel and fashion items are the most common to be featured in live shopping with a 35.6% share, according to McKinsey. The category is followed by beauty products (7.6%), fresh food (7.4%), consumer electronics (4.6%), and then furnishing and home decor (nearly 3.6%).
We expect these numbers to go up as consumers continually seek new experiences with the brands they follow.
Any eCommerce owner who wants to boost conversions should take advantage of live shopping to enhance their buyer experience and build closer relationships with their buyers.
What are the benefits of live shopping?
Live shopping apps can help eCommerce retailers and marketplaces increase the value of online shopping for their consumers.
The benefits of live shopping include:
- Accelerate conversions with immersive shopping
- Provide the emotional experience of retail therapy
- Offer real-time feedback and support
- Improve brand appeal and build customer rapport
To help you understand what this could mean for your online store, let’s explore each of these benefits in more detail.
Accelerate conversions with immersive shopping
Live shopping can accelerate conversions by offering greater immersion.
With the addition of live interaction through Q&As, reviews, and chat, live shopping creates a sensory experience for online shoppers that can’t be achieved when simply browsing online marketplaces.
Types of immersive experiences you can incorporate through livestream shopping apps include product tutorials and demonstrations, interviews with industry/product experts and trusted influencers, or “behind the scenes” videos that offer a sneak peek of the product.
Interactive in-event elements such as games, quizzes, and prize draws can also help keep viewers entertained.
Keeping live shopping viewers engaged can help move them along the customer buyer journey, guiding them from the awareness stage through to purchase. Companies using livestream shopping have reported conversion rates of up to 30%, which is 10 times higher than traditional eCommerce.
Provide the emotional experience of retail therapy
Live shopping adds an emotional aspect to online shopping.
Emotion often plays a huge role in our shopping behaviors. In fact, one survey found that 40% of shoppers use retail therapy as a way to destress. People shopping in-store are also more likely to impulse shop and add more items to their cart compared to when shopping online.
By offering online shoppers a direct line of communication with their favorite brands, live shopping helps bring the emotional experience of in-store shopping to the eCommerce world.
Being able to recognize and use emotional data could be one of the most important opportunities for companies, according to Deloitte. The emotional connection between a brand and a consumer is what drives brand loyalty and advocacy. Sixty percent of long-term customers use emotional language to describe their connection to their favourite brands. This shows how emotion can nurture brand loyalty and help transform one-time shoppers into lifetime customers.
Offer real-time feedback and support
Livestream shopping encourages buyers to make a purchase by giving them real-time information and interaction such as reviews, product recommendations, and the opportunity to ask questions. This real-time feedback loop helps keep customers engaged for minutes or even hours, which, in turn, increases the likelihood of them buying.
Before making a purchase, shoppers will typically go through a research phase where they weigh their shopping options and consume information to help them make a purchase decision. Hosting a live shopping event that features product demos and gives viewers the chance to chat with retail advisors in real time could help sway on-the-fence customers.
Improve brand appeal and build customer rapport
Live shopping events are an effective tool for generating brand awareness and prompting trials.
Engaging influencers or industry experts as co-hosts or guests on live shopping events can add authenticity and credibility to your livestream shopping. This relationship will also allow you to connect with people who follow and trust these influencers or experts. This expands your reach outside of your usual network of consumers and can increase your brand appeal.
Get to know your customers and use this information to feed your live shopping topics. You can then build rapport with your customers by opening up a direct line of communication and offering them an experience that meets their needs and interests.
Winning the trust of your ideal customer can, ultimately, drive more conversions for your online store, making it a win-win situation.
Who uses live shopping?
While Taobao Live by Alibaba may have been the first live shopping platform, they aren’t the only retailer riding the trend; many retail giants, individual sellers, and online marketplaces have also recognized the capabilities of live video shopping.
Luo Zhenyu, a famous TV host in China, used various livestreaming platforms to auction off his personal book collection during a live shopping event that was almost three hours long.
In 2020, Walmart and TikTok partnered on a pilot test of a live shopping event using TikTok’s new shoppable product feature. This event, hosted by Walmart, would allow TikTok users to shop Walmart’s fashion lines without having to leave the TikTok app. It also made use of popular TikTok creators to produce an interactive and social experience for viewers.
Popular teleshopping company QVC has also launched its own live shopping app within its website. Online shoppers can visit the QVC Live Stream online to shop items on-air, much like their traditional TV broadcast.
From small retailers to large household names and designer brands, retailers around the world are embracing live shopping.
How to add live shopping to your sales toolkit
If you’re interested in incorporating live shopping into your online sales toolkit, you need to familiarize yourself with the live shopping process. This will result in a seamless and successful transition to the live shopping experience.
Livestream shopping platforms
First, choose the best livestream shopping app or platform to meet your needs. When doing this, consider if it’s an app your audience is familiar with and is willing to use.
You should also review the app pricing structure and whether they charge a commission on sales or have minimum entry requirements for new sellers. Run a comparison of the apps you’re interested in before making a final decision.
Live shopping events on social media
Twitter announced they’ve added livestream shopping to their platform in November 2021. The social media site has an easy-to-use UI and different ways to engage shoppers, such as a hashtag prompt to join the conversation, shoppable banner, and shop tab beneath the livestream broadcast.
Social media giant Facebook offers a live shopping feature to online retailers that want to connect with their audience and sell to them in real time through the Facebook Page live video feature.
Before selling products live on Facebook, retailers will need to set up:
- An eCommerce Facebook page
- A Facebook Shop
- Live shopping in the Facebook Commerce Manager
If your customers tend to hang out on Instagram, you can also use Instagram Live Shopping to sell your products on an Instagram Live broadcast. To showcase their range of growing eCommerce tools, Instagram hosted a successful “10 Days of Live Shopping” event in conjunction with various celebrities and major brands.
Live shopping for Amazon retailers
If you sell products on Amazon, you can tap into Amazon Live, Amazon’s own live shopping platform. Using the Amazon Live Creator app, you can host livestream events to help online shoppers discover your brand, see your products in action, and shop with you online.
This app is a great way to amplify your product reach on a competitive marketplace, especially during popular seasons and important shopping days such as Prime Day or Black Friday.
Livestream shopping platforms
Outside of social media and digital marketplaces, online retailers can use independent livestream shopping platforms to host their own live shopping events. These apps can seamlessly integrate with your existing eCommerce store and offer easy, real-time checkout flows so viewers can shop with your brand without leaving the stream.
Shopify sellers have access to a number of livestream shopping app integrations. One popular option is Baaz. This app allows Shopify sellers to transform their traditional eCommerce store into an interactive experience that better connects with customers and increases conversion rates.
The live shopping app Hero allows sellers to switch between one-to-many video and one-to-one chat to offer customers personalized support. Meanwhile, Livescale offers gamification and interactive content to drive engagement and encourage impulse purchases. Other live shopping platforms include Flux Panda and Maestro. Do your research and choose an app that offers the right features for your audience and live shopping event type.
Wrapping up – Use live shopping to boost conversions
No matter the size of your eCommerce store, you can leverage livestream videos to engage your ideal customer and boost conversion rates.
Shopify and Amazon sellers have the benefit of seamlessly integrated livestream shopping platforms, making it even easier for them to provide online customers an interactive shopping experience.
At MyFBAPrep, we can make your livestream shopping experience even smoother by handling your D2C fulfillment and warehousing needs. This way, you can maximize your conversion rates through livestream shopping while we handle the influx of new orders for your Amazon or Shopify store. You bring in the customers, and we handle the logistics — it’s that simple.