Live Stream Shopping (The Future Of eCommerce?)

3 June 2020

As a digital agency in Melbourne, we’re always looking for the next big platform that’ll revolutionise the way our clients conduct business – and it seems that the latest craze coming out of China, live stream shopping, may just be that platform. An evolution of infomercials – live stream shopping has been popular in countries like China over the last few years and is now finally starting to grow in the western markets. But what makes it so unique? And why is now the perfect time for an eCommerce platform such as this?


A unique shopping experience

Live stream shopping has been a booming industry in China for the last few years and is only growing. This unique online shopping experience is about more than just selling a product online – which any standard eCommerce website can do. It’s about putting on a show. The people who host these streams – who can be anyone from celebrities to everyday people – entertain their viewers, give exclusive insights into the product, how it works, its history and also play virtual games with the viewers. This type of interaction is a much sought-after commodity that lets the hosts interact in real-time with the viewers.

This fast-growing market has also allowed everyday people to grow into celebrities themselves – as well as provided another income avenue for some. Taobao – an Alibaba-owned company – is currently the largest live streaming eCommerce platform with millions of users a year participating. As well as purchase items and directly chat with the hosts in real-time – the viewers can also send virtual gifts to the streamers (such as yachts and Porsches) which can then be exchanged for real currency.

Some of the more popular live streamers such as Viya – China’s top streamer – have earned a pretty hefty sum from these virtual tips. Viya brought in over $6 million in 2017 from these gifts alone.


Why is this platform doing so well?

We’re living in the connected age and it’s only getting easier and more prevalent to be connected with advancements such as the 5G network coming into effect and faster mobile devices being released every year. Live streaming itself has been a popular tool that socialites and celebrities have been using on various platforms for years so it’s no surprise that this has evolved into such a successful eCommerce venture.

The audiences are there – they want to use the same products that the people they look up to use so it’s only fitting that the streamers should sell them. The advantage this has over navigating an everyday eCommerce website is that you’re interacting with someone in real-time and that gives the experience an authentic touch that a lot of people are looking for.

For some businesses that already have an established online shop – investing in a live-streaming channel would be worthwhile as not a replacement, but a second avenue. And, with the right personality hosting the stream, the benefits can be quite rewarding. During the Singles Day shopping event on the 11th of November, 2019, Taobao raked in a total of just under $4.3 billion from that single day alone. This accounted for 7.5% of their total sales for 2019 which was around $56.6 billion.


New developments in the west

Amazon launched Amazon Live in 2019 to try and introduce live stream shopping to US audiences. Facebook has also just launched its version, Facebook Shops, in the US for Facebook and Instagram. This new platform boasts the same features that have taken China by storm over the last few years including real-time discussions with the streamers and simplified checkout methods.

Facebook has also stated that they’re working with popular eCommerce partners such as WooCommerce and Shopify to ensure that small businesses receive the appropriate support. This new platform is expected to become more widely available within the coming months – which could be a convenient addition to the eCommerce landscape given the current state of things with COVID-19.


Do you need assistance from a digital agency?

Setting up your own eCommerce live stream channel may seem like a simple enough task but to truly stand out you’re going to want to really nail it. Your host has to have the boisterous energy to interact with the audience and you’ll need the social media presence to bring in the viewers.

Through AWD Digital’s unique and tailored digital and social media strategies we can help you achieve all these things and give your live streaming channel the attention it deserves. This is the future of eCommerce and with the current retail landscape having shifted so drastically in Melbourne during the last few months there may be some lasting effects – which means there’s no better time to invest into eCommerce functionality for your business.

If you’d like to get in touch with our Melbourne-based digital agency to discuss future eCommerce opportunities for you and your business, then please don’t hesitate to contact us via the form on our website or by calling +61 3 9001 6255.