Ever since the earliest online stores opened in the early 90s, eCommerce has constantly been growing and evolving. As more people began shopping online and more competitors entered the marketplace, businesses have been searching for a competitive edge that will help them stand out, attract new customers, and keep existing customers coming back.
One of the latest advances in eCommerce is Live Commerce. This method is considered a return to sales fundamentals. Before the introduction and growth of online sales and even large-scale businesses like big box stores and shopping malls, people would interact with sellers and other customers in the buying experience. Although some of this personal interaction was lost in the initial eCommerce movement, it is now making a comeback with Live Commerce.
What is Live Commerce?
Live Commerce takes the convenience of shopping online from anywhere and adds the live experience of people interacting with sellers and brands in real-time. In the simplest of terms, Live Commerce is a live video streaming method in which viewers can make purchases. The streams can be hosted by brand representatives, influencers, and even celebrities which serve to increase conversions and sales in real-time.
Since Live Commerce is still relatively new, customers are quickly captured by its novelty and are returning due to the drastically improved shopping experience. Instead of just completing a transaction online, consumers are immersed in the opportunity to watch, interact, and buy the products they love.
When Did Live Commerce Start?
Live Commerce is not new. However, it is young enough that businesses have the chance to jump on the bandwagon and get a head start on this new way of connecting with customers digitally. The launch of the first Live Commerce experience dates back to 2016. eCommerce giant Alibaba tied a live stream broadcast to their online shopping platform. When it started, buyers were drawn to the idea of watching and shopping simultaneously.
Alibaba continued developing the concept, and in 2020 their Singles’ Day live stream event generated $7.5 billion in just the first 30 minutes. Live Commerce saw even more growth in the years ahead, especially when the COVID-19 pandemic kept people away from traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
But as the world starts to open up again, lifting restrictions that ban people from going to malls to shop, live commerce is still going strong and has evolved with a wide range of technology to offer from interactive features to convenience in shopping. Its popularity continues to grow, and businesses are transitioning more into this must-have platform.
Why Should Your Business Consider Live Commerce?
If you want to increase sales and revenue, you should consider adding Live Commerce to your overall eCommerce strategy. Why? Because Live Commerce is proven to increase engagement.
Engaged customers make more and larger purchases and can become more dedicated to your brand. Imagine exposing your products to thousands of viewers in minutes. You will no longer be waiting for people to visit your site when they are looking for something specific to purchase. Instead, potential customers will be drawn to your live stream by the excitement and buzz it generates. They will then be exposed to products they may not have even known about.
This is the model that worked exceptionally well for the QVC television network back in the 80s and 90s. By attracting consumers to watch their programming, they introduced people to new “must-have” products and made sales in real-time. Through the use of engaging hosts and limited-time offers, the network was able to increase impulse buying and keep consumers coming back for more.
ZALORA’s Live Shopping Success
Take online shopping platform ZALORA for example, they were able to increase sales by boosting engagements through live streaming. Although they are still in the early stages, ZALORA is already seeing a much more engaged customer base.
ZALORA recorded up to a 30.6% increase in new users during the Z-Live pilot week in comparison to the same period in the previous month. They can see exactly how much customers are engaging with the content, thanks to advanced analytics. Whilst subsequently being able to measure conversion rates and gauge customer sentiment by reviewing interactions and customer comments. Read more about ZALORA and BeLive’s partnership here.
Why Live Commerce Is Considered the new QVC?
Live commerce can be described as the new QVC with a modern, interactive twist.
In the past, QVCs were either pre-recorded or broadcast live, and when the viewers wanted to purchase a product, they would have to make a call or text through the hotline provided on the television screen. Usually, when the viewers make a call, it will go to a customer support agent in charge of handling the calls.
What makes lives stream shopping so convenient and engaging is that they aren’t pre-recorded. The way hosts, live sellers, or persons in charge of handling questions from viewers are the same – instant. No calls are needed because there is a chat box that you can ask the host directly and the question will be answered as the show happens when you are watching.
When a viewer wants to make a purchase, they just simply add the product to their cart… on the same website! The product catalog is already built in the live-stream shopping platform. With technology advancing rapidly, live streams are evolving to provide greater interactivity and immersive experiences.
Live Commerce Solutions
Live streaming in eCommerce is all about promoting and selling products through hosts and influencers, which they will be doing on their own social media channels, most often the location will be in China’s online shopping malls. It is like QVC but with charismatic, trendy anchors. It can also be described as a mix of informercial and variety shows.
Even when businesses understand the power and possibility of Live Commerce, taking the leap to get started may seem overwhelming. Companies may not even be set up to offer live streams. Even if they are, integrating eCommerce into streaming is an additional step that can be daunting. Fortunately, solutions are now available to assist sellers in adding Live Commerce to their overall strategy.
However, not all solutions are the same. Businesses can now access everything from existing marketplaces with limited options to fully-featured, custom-developed platforms with the exact formatting and tools needed to represent their brand.
BeLive’s LORA – Live Commerce Solution
Businesses that want to jump right into Live Commerce now have the option of adding live shopping without investing the time and resources you might expect. LORA, BeLive’s Live and Video Commerce tool, enables businesses to begin offering Live Commerce in just a few days, right on their existing website.
However, just because it is easy to get started doesn’t mean this is a limited service. LORA comes bundled with both interactive live commerce, AND video marketing features your business needs to succeed.
This monthly subscription SaaS gives brands access to packaged features that include, but are not limited to: multicasting live shows on your preferred social media platforms, live ratings, a full video editing suite that includes video branching capabilities, and shoppable videos, and interactive short video reels integration.
You can also customize the user interface to create an experience matching your brand identity. In addition, once you launch, you can monitor every aspect of your success with advanced real-time analytics and capture first-party data. An invaluable asset for brands and marketers as the world moves into a cookieless future.
BeLive LORA is the go-to live commerce platform of some of the world’s biggest retail giants like Trendyol, TUMI, Bath & Body Works, and MediaCorp.
BeLive’s End-to-End Development
While BeLive’s LORA is the fastest and easiest way to get started, businesses looking for more control and customization options may want to look at BeLive’s End-to-End Development.
BeLive’s professionals can help you develop a custom live stream solution for your brand that includes Live Commerce and other additional features. You can add trivia, live-ticketed events, training, conferences, and more with no coding or experience needed from your business. BeLive has already worked with companies like Grab, Zalora, Rakuten, HyperLive, Samsung, and L’Oreal to develop highly successful custom solutions.
Live Commerce Platforms Throughout the Years
Alibaba’s Tao Live
Alibaba’s Taobao Live has a share of 80% for live streaming while other large Chinese tech and e-commerce platforms such as Baidu and JD.com are joining the trend. Douyin, which is the Chinese version of Tik Tok and their competitor, Kuaishou in partnership with JD.com have shoppable live streams inside the apps as well as the leading fashion platform, MOGU. MOGU mostly features cosmetics and beauty aids, fashion, and food.
Bambuser offers Live Commerce that integrates with most existing eCommerce platforms. One of their unique features is private shoppable video calls which connect customers with brand experts for a one-on-one live shopping experience. This personal experience is in addition to a more traditional one-to-many online shopping option.
GoLive offers Live Commerce with many desired features plus the added power of artificial intelligence (AI). GoLive’s AI analyzes customer data in real time and turns it into actionable intelligence. As a result, companies can begin to predict customer behavior and takes steps to increase conversions.
Limited to sellers registered in Amazon’s Brand Registry, Amazon vendors, and Amazon influencers, Amazon Live allows sellers to create interactive live streams. They can interact with buyers, and followers are notified when streams go live. However, features are far more limited than freestanding solutions.
Instagram Live Shopping
Businesses in the US that already have “Checkout on Instagram” enabled can now add their version of Live Commerce. Select companies can interact with viewers in real-time to sell their products via the Instagram app. Videos can also be saved so shoppers can view them after the live stream has ended.
Get Your Live Commerce Experience Started with BeLive
Live streaming and online live selling are growing rapidly. It is estimated to amount to up to $60 billion annually. Last year, over 430 million people, which is about 30% of China’s population, viewed live streams, and in 2020 it is projected to reach 560 million, which is about 39% of China’s population.
Sales from live streams are expected to grow more than 100% in 2020 vs. 2019. In 2019 about 37% of China’s online shoppers made live stream purchases. By the end of 2021, there were approximately 703.4 million live-streaming users in China, representing a penetration rate of 68.2 percent among internet users. While Gen-Z and Millenials mainly use it, middle-aged Chinese and seniors are jumping on the trend.
Now that you’ve learned about Live Commerce, it’s time to search for the right tool for your business. BeLive’s LORA is a tried-and-tested live shopping and video marketing SaaS that could increase your brand engagements and convert your leads into shoppers. See how LORA works here and book a live demo today!