Delving into the livestream shopping phenomenon

E-commerce livestream shopping

The lockdown may have pulled the shutters on physical stores, but it also turned the lights on forever for online stores. Yet there is something quite mesmerizing about the in-store experience that online players are trying hard to emulate. Livestream shopping comes real close to recreating that experience. Needless to say, it has become a must-have strategy for e-commerce brands and retailers alike.

While home shopping TV like QVC and HSN was rife during the 1970s, today’s livestream shopping has more to offer. The reason behind its growing popularity? Shoppers can watch an event, get their queries answered and make purchases all on a single page. The format found its success first in China. In 2016, Taobao, a marketplace run by Alibaba Group, was the first to combine livestreaming and e-commerce in China.

At the helm of the pandemic in February 2020 users spent 120 minutes daily on Douyin, the Chinese TikTok app, as per an article by CGTN. With this new and emerging e-commerce format attracting more eyeballs and conversions by the day, here are five key reasons to help convince decision-makers in your company why it’s worth a shot.


1. Real-time engagement make transactions more human

Much like an in-store purchase experience, viewers can get their product questions answered in real-time. The retail, beauty, and home product industries aren’t the only ones that have found success online. Local farmers in China are now toeing in right behind by selling 90% of their produce online. E-commerce giants like JD.com and Alibaba with its live streaming platform Taobao are catalysts shaping this success.

Farmers and merchants benefitted from these companies, as they assisted them in setting up online stores and creating broadcast-worthy content. Merchants had to share a few hours of content on JD Live, everyday for shoppers to see what’s available and answer a few questions. In restun the e-commerce platform using its logistics network shipped their produce directly from the farm to its customers for a commission.

Experts believe that the popularity of such livestreams for urban dwellers stems from the yearning for nature, the distrust of traditional markets caused by food safety scandals, and the love of watching unique rustic personalities.

Source: MIT

2. KOLs help amplify brand discovery and credibility

One out of five people discover new products and brands through social media live streams. Moreover, shortening attention spans suggest shoppers would rather watch a live video stream from a brand than read a blog. While few brands hire celebrities to promote their products, the majority rely on KOLs (Key Opinion Leader) to garner viewer trust that culminates in sales at such live shopping events.

While advocating brands, top influencers also develop their own popularity with shoppers. Using a lively, one-on-one approach, they answer questions about size, color, and fit in real-time and provide time-based discounts to encourage quick purchases.

For instance, Viya, a Chinese internet celebrity often touted as the “queen of livestreaming” is seen as a trustworthy, friendly ‘sister’. Yet, Viya’s counterpart, Li Jiaqi’s catchphrase “Oh my god, buy it!” has a huge appeal. Viya sells an array of products from cosmetics to houses and even cars. She even sold a rocket launch for USD 5.6 million. It’s no wonder why brands and consumers alike feel that having a product on their livestream is an endorsement of quality.

3. Make the ‘now-or-never’ deal more enticing

Limited period offers and livestream exclusive deals are known to work well for brands and retailers. NTWRK, a mobile app that uses live shows to sell limited-edition products, such as sneakers, has seen its sales explode by 400%. The time-sensitiveness of such discounts creates a sense of urgency or FOMO (Fear-Of-Missing-Out) that works a lot like impulse purchases.

For instance, a live shopping event in 2021 resulted in a 308% engagement rate and 17,000 page views for the shoe retailer Aldo. An incentive such as a giveaway, contest, special offer can gamify the experience even further and help steer shoppers away from your competitors.

4. A great way to ring in the younger audience

In terms of demographics, Gen Z (55%) and millennials (62%) are two groups most comfortable with making a purchase from a livestream. Whether it’s a new product launch or an initiative to expand your consumer base, all you need to do is understand what kind of shows appeal to this segment.

Whether it’s live expert interviews, Q&A sessions, tutorials, unboxing, or behind the scenes snippets. Once you know what clicks with them all you need to do is pick an emerging influencer or KOL or KOC (Key Opinion Consumer) and the right channel to get them engaged and build loyalty. The most passionate call for ‘entertainmerce’ comes from high-income earners (32%), followed by millennials (33%). Retailers who are prepared to step up to bridge this gap have a serious opportunity to capture significant consumer spending intent.

5. Startups are witnessing an encouraging trend of funding

With China leading the pack in live-stream e-commerce adoption, the US market is trying its best to catch up. The US livestream shopping market is expected to reach USD 25 billion by 2023. A league of players have already started off in this direction. PopShop.Live raised USD 20 million to let people purchase everything from books and toys to jewelry from sellers who livestream their offerings.

Whatnot, an online platform known for the resale of toys and sports card collectibles recently turned into a unicorn and is now looking to expand its categories to include NFTs. Last year saw Walmart partner with TalkShopLive, a multi-category livestreaming e-commerce startup that allows transactions with its proprietary embeddable video player, giving Walmart and the brands it carries a better way to combine content and commerce.

Source: RetailDive

Livestream shopping is unedited and spontaneous, and the future without doubt belongs to those employing this marketing format. Yet, there’s a lot of groundwork to be done to guarantee success.

Netscribes has been delivering timely market, platform, and consumer insights to guide leading CPG and e-commerce brands and retailers strategize their digital journeys for over two decades, To know how we can help you hook, engage and inspire loyalty with all that this marketing format has to offer, write to us at info@netscribes.com


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