Why Live Shopping Is The Future Of Ecommerce
Brick-and-mortar retail was a significant revenue-driver as recently as 2019, but Covid-19 has changed everything. The pandemic has already accelerated levels of e-commerce growth not previously expected until 2022 at minimum. Live shopping is coming up as the latest Ecommerce trend that combines advances to technology and social media channels with the familiar, quaintly nostalgic concept of at-home shopping. Envision the Home Shopping Network (which continues to be quite successful) but streamable on mobile phones through websites and on social media apps such as Instagram with influencers that help to sell goods.
Onimod Global experts are here to break down what live shopping is and why it will be crucial to the success of your Ecommerce strategy in 2021 and coming years.
What exactly is live shopping?
Livestream shopping is a natural confluence of several current tech trends—streaming, influencers, social, commerce—and offers companies a new approach based on an old shopping trend to consumers’ hearts and wallets. Think back to when the Home Shopping Channel began to appear on televisions, first across North America and then worldwide. Previously catered to housewives, the live shopping on channels QVC and HSC allowed women to shop from the comfort of their couches just by calling in to the show.
Several decades and gender role changes later, live shopping provides a convenience that has now been completely taken over by ecommerce and the ability to do it all from one’s computer or mobile phone instead. Live shopping provides a real-time feedback loop for all consumers tuned in, including reviews and recommendations of products. Influencers and customers sharing among followers and friends, and asking questions about the product on the platform in use is an important piece of the puzzle for brands to embrace “social commerce.” As we’ve already mentioned, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the adoption of live shopping, giving ample space and opportunity for it to reach customers in North America and Europe. Beyond fashion and beauty, live shopping can be extended into many different types of categories. For example, cars and houses and all sorts of accessories sold in a variety of industries are emerging in popularity.
Live shopping platforms
Live shopping used to come from one customer and one customer only: the ones watching tv at home. Now the landscape has shifted entirely, where live shopping can happen on a buyer’s phone or computer, and, yes, streamed on their smart television, too.
This list of already existing streaming platforms from Shopify is a great place to start looking if you’re interested in offering live shopping:
- ShopShops, which recently expanded into the American market, was initially popular with Chinese consumers
- TalkShopLive debuted in 2018 and has 2 million followers (and growing). Since its inception, TalkShopLive’s sales have increased, according to Bloomberg, by seven times.
- NTWRK’s curated live selling platform caters to an audience of 75% men and saw its revenue double in March and April of this year
- Amazon recently rolled out a streaming service with lifestyle, fitness, and cooking programs
- Google’s Shoploop offers shoppable stories
- Twitch and YouTube are other new avenues for live shopping
- Walmart recently stated its interest in buying TikTok, which brings questions of social commerce to the fore on the most popular new social media platform
The most important and largest platform to start live shopping for your business is of course, Instagram. Instagram live shopping is used in the following ways:
- Product demos: Educate and engage buyers. Test the products for interested customers, answering any questions they may have.
- Collaboration: Give buyers authentic reviews. Bring on other creators or brands with an influencer to give a level of insight and realistic product presentation to the process.
- Human interaction: Invite buyers to participate. All of these options allow for your buyer to participate in the testing, learning, and shopping experience in a way that straight Ecommerce doesn’t necessarily provide space for.
The future of Ecommerce
Live shopping brings a humanized element to an otherwise human-less experience. One thing Ecommerce always had going for it was the fast and easy process, however no one had yet figured out a way to bring interaction to the table to match the USP of convenience. COVID-19 catapulted Ecommerce and online shopping in this direction, with no signs of slowing down.
Though a post-COVID life is hopefully coming soon, and whatever version of “normal living” is sure to resume soon after, live shopping—like many other new or adapted consumer behaviors and technologies—is likely to remain a pillar of the buying experience.
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