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Digital Commerce 360 has reported that consumers spent 32.4 percent more in 2020 compared to 2019, and this trend is expected to continue into 2021. As online shopping swiftly becomes the norm, some companies have begun to invest resources into live shopping events for their customers.
On November 12th, Hasbro hosted their first live shopping event accompanied by hosts Daphne Oz and Ivan Emilio. Hasbro announced that they would donate a toy or game to the Toys for Tots charity for every viewer they received. Back in April, Petco hosted a live shopping event on their Facebook page where it garnered attention from animal lovers all across the country.
Scott Nover, a reporter for Qz.com, has stated that China is expected to earn 132 billion dollars from live shopping in 2021. Reporters have estimated that China will earn 281 billion dollars in livestream shopping by 2023, which is estimated to be 60 percent of all social commerce in the country.
Live shopping has dominated China’s market for quite some time, but in the United States, it’s still a rather new concept. This article will cover everything you need to know about live shopping and how to utilize influencers for your campaign.
Join us for our first-ever live shopping event, Hasbro Holiday Shopping Live, hosted by @DaphneOz & @theivanemilio. A single destination where you can find every gift you need for all the kiddos on your list, all in one place. Sign up for our event: https://t.co/ZwW7aTPrUq pic.twitter.com/SvuzESfm8i
— Hasbro (@Hasbro) November 10, 2021
Streaming Origins and History
Livestreams have always been a popular source for entertainment on sites like YouTube and Twitch, so it’s no surprise that livestreaming would become a popular marketing tool. In 2008, YouTube hosted YouTube Live with featured stars like Katy Perry, MythBusters, Bo Burnham, and Smosh.
The event was deemed a success, and YouTube began to occasionally host livestream events. In 2005, Justin.tv was founded by Justin Kan. That website soon became Twitch, a popular streaming site predominantly for gaming-related content.
Similar to Twitch, Justin.tv categorized its content and allowed different channels to broadcast themselves on computers, phones, and gaming consoles. Justin.tv was eventually renamed Twitch in 2011, and, after its relaunch, Twitch viewership grew exponentially.
Twitch is now a dominant force in the realm of livestreaming as the platform continues to pull in millions of views each month. Creators also use YouTube’s Livestream studio to go live, and livestream features have been introduced on other social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.
Learn more about TikTok’s new TikTok Live features and how to connect with your audience here.
China and Live Shopping
As mentioned earlier in the article, China’s e-commerce industry has been garnering a substantial about of money for several years now, and the United States is starting to catch onto this trend. Livestream shopping became possible after the release of 4G technology in late 2009.
More Chinese citizens got their hands on the latest technology, and by 2020, it was reported that 63.8 percent of China’s population had access to 4G technology. In 2016, Taobao, a popular Chinese shopping platform, introduced “Taobao Live” where sellers could promote their products to a live audience.
In 2018, Taobao’s livestream sales rose to 15.64 billion dollars, up from 3.13 billion in the previous year. Influencers and celebrities would host livestreams and help gain the trust of consumers with their enthusiastic personalities. Taobao’s success has now paved a new way to shop from the comfort of one’s home.
One well-known celebrity that has gained popularity in China is Huang Wei, professionally known as Viya. Viya draws in millions of viewers on her livestream and usually promotes a variety of products like clothing and food. It’s been reported that Viya streams every evening, seven days a week.
When Viya isn’t streaming, she’s usually reviewing dozens of products with her team and preparing for her next stream. Viya is a powerful influencer that helped campaign a fundraiser for Wuhan China’s struggling businesses, and it has also been reported that Viya has used her influencer power to promote anti-poverty campaigns across China.
The pandemic has helped with the livestream shopping trend, and trendsetters like Viya are prime examples of what a bubbly personality and influencer trust can do to boost sales. As technology continues to become more accessible and advanced, live shopping will remain a viable marketing strategy.
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Companies Push for Live Shopping
Companies like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Pinterest have unveiled their plans to use livestreams for consumers to purchase products on their platforms. On November 2nd, Instagram announced that users can spend their holiday season on Instagram’s Shop tab to watch for exclusive offers only found on Instagram.
Back in 2020, Facebook Shops was introduced for businesses struggling during the pandemic, and livestream shopping on their platform swiftly followed. On September 28th, TikTok announced TikTok Shopping which introduces a plethora of new features and marketing tools for creators to connect with their audience.
On October 29th, Pinterest released Pinterest TV, a series of live episodes hosted by Pinterest creators where users can shop and find discounts from several famous brands.
Learn more about the advantages of using influencers in your paid media marketing campaign here.
Live Shopping Advantages and Disadvantages
Curious as to whether or not you should consider investing resources into live shopping campaigns? Don’t worry, we’ll cover some advantages and disadvantages of live shopping.
- Higher Engagement: Salisfy has reported that live shoppers tend to stay on livestreams three to four times longer than a shopper browsing on websites. If you’re looking for increased engagement from your community, live shopping may be your go-to strategy.
- Community Building: Live shopping is a great way for a brand to interact with your fanbase by responding to comments or suggestions. Influencermarketinghub states that micro-influencers who interact with their community receive higher engagement rates than larger influencers.
- Building Brand Awareness: Livestream shopping helps build brand awareness since the influencer hosting the event will promote your campaign. Make sure to find the right influencer for your live shopping events!
- Encourages Impulse Buying: live shopping can be used to encourage impulse buying from the consumer if you include limited-time deals and exclusive products. If you can persuade your audience to buy products during your livestream, the chances of them purchasing more than intended is likely.
- Consumer Control: live shopping gives the consumer control to make their own decisions on whether or not they should purchase your product. The consumer can ask questions or watch the influencer show off your product, so the consumer will know what they are purchasing before receiving it.
- Better Profit: There are many platforms with free features you can use to host your shopping extravaganza. Livestreams are a great way to be cost-effective and successful even when you’re on a budget.
- Moderation: Depending on your turnout rate, moderators may have a hard time moderating your livestream chat. Potential viewers may flood your chat with inappropriate messages which might damage your brand reputation. Be sure to have a sufficient number of moderators watching over your chat in case your chat becomes malicious.
- Technology Problems: Technology is not perfect and sometimes things are bound to mess up or break. These issues may negatively impact your livestream, but remember to stay vigilant and swiftly fix problems if they arise. Also, remember to check your equipment before your livestream starts so you can fix any potential issues.
- Low Turnout: Sometimes it may be difficult to gather a large following for your livestream, and if a lot of people don’t show up, making a profit is close to impossible. Consider creating a poll for your community to fill out and see what time will be the best for your live shopping event.
- People Prefer to Not Live Shop: Unfourantely, not everyone in your audience may like live shopping events. If you see a continuous trend of low turnout for your livestreams, maybe your audience prefers other shopping methods. Don’t force your audience to attend your livestreams if they aren’t interested and try other ways of connecting with your audience.
How to Utilize Influencers
If you’ve decided to invest resources into shopping livestreams, you’ll want to collaborate with influencers because traditional marketing strategies have been less effective on younger consumers. Influencers have helped persuade the newer generation of consumers to purchase products because younger consumers trust the word of an individual more than a business.
Nowadays, the consumer wants to feel connected to their seller, and livestream shopping is perfect for establishing that connection. A consumer also wants to know what they’re purchasing, and if they see another person, or another influencer, show off the product, the consumer feels more confident in their purchase.
The Influencer Marketing Factory interviewed Gen Z and Millenial shoppers and discovered that 40 percent of their participants have bought a product during live shopping events. If your potential audience consists of younger generation buyers, livestream shopping is crucial for growing your community.
When choosing an influencer, remember that collaborating with well-known influencers doesn’t always guarantee high engagement. SmartBrief states that micro-influencers actually have 60 percent increased engagement rates over larger influencers, so if you want your brand to reach your desired audience, consider reaching out to smaller influencers that align with your company’s ideals.
Make sure to do extensive research on your influencer before establishing a partnership. If your influencer is notorious for being controversial or rude to their audience, it may be wise to search for an influencer that will guarantee a friendly attitude towards your audience.
Livestream shopping is meant to establish a relationship between the seller and buyer, so remember to not expect instant results from your live shopping events and stay connected to your audience. Remember to let the influence have fun, and monitor your results frequently in case you ever need to reevaluate your marketing strategies!