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Livestream Is The Future of eCommerce

Jun 30, 2021 6 min read

The next big thing in eCommerce - shoppable live videos. Platforms integrate shopping tools in the streaming tabs and new apps are finding their way to the consumers. Get to know what's new and coming in our latest blog post.

With the launch of television shopping networks such as HSN, QVC, JTV, consumers developed a habit of shopping while products are advertised in real-time. Nearly 40 years after, television shopping networks are still around. However, it is hardly holding up in the game, as consumers’ shopping habits have drastically changed.

Due to the pandemic, over 255 million people in the U.S. are shopping online. The numbers are only projected to grow to 278 million by 2024. Growing eCommerce demand formed a new way to shop, a QVC and social media combination – shopping livestreams.

According to Coresight Research, livestream eCommerce is set to reach $25 billion in sales in the U.S. by 2023. And as more people are getting involved in an immersive shopping experience, more platforms start to roll out interactive tools to help businesses rocket their sales.

The concept of livestream shopping

Livestream eCommerce has been popular in China for years. In 2019, about 37% of the online shoppers in China made purchases through livestreams. On popular shopping platform Taobao’s annual Global Shopping Festival, livestreams drawn $6 billion in sales – twice the previous year. Shortly after, the livestream shopping events became a thing outside of China, adopted in the U.S. and Europe.

In December 2020, TikTok teamed up with Walmart to present its first livestream shopping event. Ten influencers joined the event to promote the Walmart clothing line with virtual try-on while answering viewers’ questions. TikTok introduced an interactive shopping tab, where users can shop showcased items directly in the app.

Amazon has also presented its live platform, where influencers can promote products and chat with customers. Facebook and Instagram are exploring the integration between livestream and eCommerce. Both social media platforms introduced pinned products to the live video, ability to shop within the app.

The competition is getting hotter

The growing interest in livestream eCommerce brought new players in the market with a brand new point of view on how shopping livestream should look like:

  • Buywith came to the eCommerce landscape, presenting online shopping livestream sessions using a picture-in-picture feature. This enables broadcasters to shop with their viewers on various websites. It also demonstrated an ability for brands to contact the influencers and collaborate for advertising purposes directly, view real-time analytics while the livestream is still being broadcasted. The potential is endless and investors thought the same. Buywith playing in the market for less than a year, recently drawn over $2 million of investment. 
  • NTWRK offers shoppable livestreams in its app that features limited-availability designer streetwear and sneakers, exclusive retail brands collaborations and even NFTs. Broadcasters talk about products that become available as the show airs. Viewers join to enter the lottery for an exclusive item or buy it in the auctioning. NTWRK is already earning the title for the boutique-like version of the livestream eCommerce platform.
  • Shoploop a TikTok-like short video platform where viewers are introduced to the products within 90 seconds of a livestream, creating an urge to purchase. The live videos are later being kept in the creator’s profiles, where users can browse through them and save products for purchasing later or shop directly in the app. Shoploop is mainly focused on announcing quality beauty, hair and lifestyle products to potential customers with influencers’ help.

Competition is always good, especially in the eCommerce landscape. Consumers will have more platforms to browse through and brands will be able to present themselves to a larger audience of potential customers.

Is it any better than video?

Live streaming for marketers is no longer a new and unexplored thing. It drastically changes the way brands are interacting with their customers. Livestream engages viewers in primary and authentic ways that other marketing strategies cannot. 28% of brands are investing more attention to live videos.

In fact, 82% of social media users prefer a brand’s livestream instead of any other interaction type. Live video allows businesses to reach out to customers and present the products in unique ways, benefiting the brand:

    • Showcasing the product dynamically and in context. In the livestreams, brands can display how the product looks, how it can be styled and used. Customers can get a closer look at the actual product, which will allow them to make up their minds faster.
    • Interactive and social like never before. During the live presentation, potential customers can ask questions and get answers in real-time. 
    • Ability to capture attention and create a sense of urgency. While broadcasting in the dedicated livestream eCommerce platforms, brands can offer users exclusive discounts and gifts available during the livestream. After the live video ends, customers can purchase the product, however, without any complementary additions.
    • Growth of loyalty. Livestreams are an excellent place for brands to host contests and giveaways. For example, only users viewing the live video get a chance to enter the competition to win a gift or the showcased product, which creates a need to participate in every brand’s livestream.

Bottom line

While it is relatively new to the U.S., the concept is here to stay as more social media platforms integrate shopping features in the livestreams and innovative apps are coming to the industry.

Livestream eCommerce allows brands to showcase their products, answer potential customers’ questions in real-time, maintain user engagement, and encourage spontaneous purchases. Just like QVC had a tremendous breakthrough in the 1980s, shoppable livestreams are here to present the same success for businesses in years to come.

Adapting to the changing consumer’s behavior is the key to success and it seems that the latest trend of interactive live stream shopping is currently the one to take advantage of.

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