Livestreaming – adrenaline-fuelled ecommerce?

Due to its sustained success and popularity, more and more brands are taking the appeal of livestreaming seriously, exploring new ways to apply the model to wider global markets. The new phenomenon, with immense recognition across China, sees an estimated 100 million viewers tune in to watch a live online video every month.

As a high-energy social experience, livestreaming sees well-known celebrities sharing their shopping trips in real-time. This often takes place around a staged store, where hosts can showcase and discuss products and respond to live questions from the digital audience. During the video, the audience can purchase the products being shown, often at a highly-discounted price for a very limited period of time. This increases the sense of urgency around completing purchases to great effect.

Heading for global success…?

When it comes to applying the model around the globe, it is not straightforward as the systems fuelling its success are more fragmented outside of China. In China, the videos are streamed and products sold from the same ecommerce platform. One such platform, Taobao, owned by Alibaba – one of the biggest ecommerce platforms in China – boasts 4,000 hosts, who deliver 150,000 hours of content and broadcast over 600,000 products each day.

Procter & Gamble, Tesla and supermodel-turned-beauty-entrepreneur, Miranda Kerr, are among the many who have turned to Viya – China’s livestreaming superstar – to introduce themselves to the Chinese market. As the ‘queen’ of China’s $60bn ecosystem of live online retailing, it’s estimated that Viya earned approximately 30m yuan in 2018, as reported in the most recent figures from Alibaba.

Will livestreaming take off in the UK?

Amazon – through Amazon Live – has been experimenting with the popular concept for over a year, and Facebook is continuing to build its community marketplace, where sellers can livestream content, and has recently announced its partnership with Shopify to help integrate purchasing on its social platforms,

The edge for Alibaba is that its platform allows viewers to watch the livestream, engage with other viewers and purchase the products, all at once. It creates a frictionless process – one which other platforms are struggling to emulate.

Whether or not livestream shopping extends its popularity outside of China, in part depends on the capabilities of companies, such as Amazon or Facebook, to integrate their entertainment offerings with live shopping and payments.

According to Viya, livestreaming’s success is all centred around trust – trust in the influencer, trust in the product quality, trust in the reliability of its supporting logistics system and trust in the site’s payment security.

Livestreaming may provide a good opportunity to enter new markets, but as the audience tends to follow the influencers – instead of the brands – it’s ability to generate long-term brand loyalty is yet to be seen.

While we wait for its long-term benefits to become clear, influencers will continue to form an integral part of the marketing mix – particularly for beauty brands where building trust is key, and where live demo videos are already creating rapid peaks in demand.

To find out more about how we help brands such as Revolution Beauty to manage the micro peaks in demand caused by influencers, get in touch.