5 traits that show the future of ecommerce is Live Shopping
Live Shopping, the online shopping experience that matches a video livestream with the capabilities of a traditional digital store, pioneered just 5 years ago, but it’s already a force to be reckoned with in the Asian markets. In China, it has reached more than 700 million buyers as of 2020, and the number is expected to keep growing.
While the European and Latin American markets haven’t fully adopted it yet, the “new trend” has some tricks up its sleeve to gain a bigger piece of the ecommerce market in the near future.
Live shopping who?
It is a new trend where people tune in to a live video that is connected to a digital store, allowing the customers to communicate with salespeople and solve any doubts about the products in real time, as well as having a shopping experience as seamless as any other ecommerce purchase.
It first appeared in China in 2016 with Taobao Live from Alibaba, and has since then gained adopters all over the world. With Live Shopping, end-customers can really engage with brands due to the traits this functionally can offer.
Why Live Shopping is the future of ecommerce
Live Shopping has a great advantage over traditional ecommerce: the fact that it lives where future buyers tend to gravitate towards. In the early 2000’s most people used the internet to consume written media, so a mostly static website wasn’t an obstacle to reach buyers.
That’s not the current scenario. Today, future buyers are spending most of theirtime on YouTube, Twitch, TikTok and Instagram Reels. According to Media Kix, 71% of Gen Z-ers spend more than 3 hours watching online videos, so they’re already used to a different type of content, one that’s very different from a traditional website.
Live Shopping that takes advantage of this new consumption habit. Maybe that’s why it can generate between 500% and 600% the conversion rate of traditional ecommerce, as well as longer average session times, according to Manu García, Head of Live Shopping for Latin America at VTEX.
This familiarity will only grow once big sellers start adopting Live Shopping platforms as one of their main tools. Today, you can already access a “Live” section on Amazon.com, which shows influencers promoting anything from fashionable clothes to baby products. As of August 2021, the feature was only available in the United States store and to selected sellers, but it’s easy to see how the company would scale it to the rest of the world in the near future.
Shopping platforms can be pretty cold affairs. Besides the occasional pre-written thank you message, buyers usually lack a way to directly engage witha company representative. Even pop-up chats haven’t totally solved this issue, since most of them are now at least partially operated by AI.
So, how can a company differentiate itself from its competitors and make customers have a better buying experience and feel more satisfied at the same time? How about one-on-one Live Shopping: a tailor-made experience that looks like a video call with your ownpersonal shopper?
The consumer can ask the salesperson any question, have a better understanding of the product and a more direct contact with it, and they can even get personalized suggestions! By the end of the call, the client’s cart is full and they can check out in a fully automated and secure way.
This means that the salesperson doesn’t have to worry about processing the sale either: the omnichannel can take care of it and they can go onto the next Live Shopping session. The salespeople can also have their own unique invite codes, which allows them to promote one-on-one sessions with customers and earn bigger commissions. Doesn’t that sound like a win-win?
Personal attention leads to engagement, which is something the Brazilian luxury chocolate brand Dengo has always valued as a brand and led them to adopt one of the first one-on-one Live Shopping experiences in the region.
One of the most important elements in the growth of ecommerce worldwide has been the proliferation of marketplaces that help anyone sell their products to a wide audience. Similarly, one of the most important elements in the growth of video content consumption worldwide has been the proliferation of platforms that allow anyone to upload videos for the whole world to see.
“Social media models are designed to profit from ad revenue. In the future, this might make it harder for the audience to choose a social network as a marketplace, since it’s so full of ads. This might open competition even further”Manu García, Head of Live Shopping for Latin America at VTEX.
Manu García thinks that one of the main changes to come to Live Shopping will be a tool that will allow the entire long tail to establish a standalone Live Shopping account without the need for the rest of the ecommerce, since we now have social media to play this role.
“Think of people or small businesses that don’t need the rest of the ecommerce apparatus, just a way to show their product or service to the consumer and a way to bill directly in the call, like language teachers or fitness coaches”Manu García, Head of Live Shopping for Latin America at VTEX.
In 2018, a study by Mary Meeker revealed that around 90% of people watch TV with another device in their hands. To date, most of these experiences occur in two devices that are totally disconnected from each other, which creates a breach that could be filled by technology and Live Shopping.
Linking up the two devices would create a new ecommerce space that would allow buyers to purchase whichever product they’re watching on their TVs: from a character’s jacket to an ingredient for a recipe.
Eventually, there will be no need for a second screen, and your own smart TV will work as your main buying device. Seems far fetched? This is not a dream: Brahma, a Brasilian beer company, partnered with PPV providers in 2019 in order to send beer directly to clients’ homes, and this initiative didn’t even take advantage of current smart TV capabilities.
The great advantage of this approach is that it finds customers not in online shops, search result pages, marketplaces or inside brick and mortar stores, but while consuming TV shows or movies.
A matter of time
The future of Live Shopping might not be dependent on a “new app”, like it happened in China with Taobao Live. In Europe and America, it might go through existing apps and experiences that can just be linked with an online shopping solution through the use of APIs and headless ecommerce like the ones offered by VTEX.
Live Shopping, the new kid on the ecommerce scene, has already been highlighted as the future of the industry, and it’s easy to see why. So, what’s next for this marriage of ecommerce and video? Hard to tell exactly, but consumers seem ready and, as far as we can tell, the sky’s the limit.