The e-commerce industry is one that’s built around disruption, with hundreds of new ideas coming in every few years; some of them enjoy ephemeral attention and die as fads while others continue to add value and evolve, and live through decades.
Live Video Commerce is the latest trend that’s taking over the entire e-commerce landscape by storm. It’s quickly become the hottest trend in 2021, with the medium garnering attention from major brands and audiences alike.
Turning Viewers into Shoppers
Live Video Commerce, or simply live selling, combines the elements of online selling and live streaming. A viewer who’s watching a live sale on Facebook can directly purchase the products being displayed without having to leave the social media platform. If you think about it, it’s, in fact, quite similar to those late night infomercials where you see the product being demonstrated and you could purchase with a phone call. Live commerce is a natural digital successor to it.
By going ‘live’, sellers can present their product through the stream, answer questions in real time, and encourage viewers to buy products. It helps provide the brand experience and instill confidence in the purchasers regarding fit, quality, and authenticity.
The viewers get a glimpse of how the products look and how they work, as if they are shopping from a physical store, two aspects that make shopping an enjoyable experience. Live video commerce mimics these in-store experiences that were previously lacking in online shopping.
Old Wine, New Bottle
In 2019 alone, live selling generated up to $60 billion in global sales, and the number almost doubled in 2020. But, the concept had its origins even before the pandemic hit – as early as 2016.
Video streams of celebrities and influencers sharing their shopping trips became extremely popular among the Chinese populace. It was so popular that Li Jiaqi, the lipstick brother, used to sell products worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in a single session. Riding on this giant wave, Alibaba did the now-famous ‘See now-Buy now’ fashion event, which was reported to generate more sales than that year’s Black Friday sale. The trend was soon picked up by Korea. The US was late to the party and in 2019, Amazon started Amazon Live.
Today, it’s one of the prominent selling strategies used by e-commerce giants and small brands alike.
A Richer Selling-Buying Experience
It’s natural that brand owners feel vulnerable speaking and selling to a live audience; they have little to no control and a lot can go wrong. But, this very aspect of live streaming makes it feel real to customers, and works in the brands’ favour by creating excitement about ‘what might happen’.
80 percent of the top Facebook posts were live videos and they drive at least 59 percent more engagement. The reason for these astonishing numbers is simple – people are looking for authentic interactions and meaningful connections – they want people and brands to talk to them instead of at them. With brands focusing on seamless shopping experience, some aspects of in-store shopping get lost, making it harder for them to create genuine relationships with their customers. Live video commerce simply plugs in this hole.
The content from the live stream is unique, given that it facilitates real-time conversations. The immediate nature of the medium captures viewer attention and creates an opportunity for your viewers to engage with each other and with the brand. The richness of the live session helps improve brand awareness and creates trust among the audience. It also helps brands understand their users on a deeper level. Also, it’s a cost-efficient way to sell.
Innovations in Live Video Commerce
What used to be a tedious, manual process has now become seamless because of the several tech innovations in this space. Store owners had to collect information about interested people from the comments section. This prevented brands to leverage the effects of impulse purchasing. There were manual errors and people just lost interest once the stream finished.
However, platforms like Vajro help store owners sell with Facebook live streams effortlessly, making the entire process seamless, right from preparing for the live to auto-invoicing. In fact, Vajro was the first mobile app builder in the world to support in-app live selling. In-app live selling provides an enhanced user experience by allowing brands to go live on their Android/ iOS app. In-app lives allows buyers to add the product to the cart directly at the click of a button during a live sale.
Here to Stay or Will it Fizzle Away?
People are demanding to see more live content from their favorite brands and the numbers show no signs of slowing down. Experts believe live selling can generate up to $184 billion by 2027. The growth of AR/ VR in shopping combined with live selling results in endless possibilities.
It presents a huge untapped opportunity for Indian e-commerce giants and SMEs alike. Store owners in the US, China, and Korea have embraced this new medium and are reaping the benefits of adopting it early. In a country like India, live selling is still in the nascent stages.
Just like how e-commerce transformed shopping, live selling has the potential to transform e-commerce.
Live selling is here to stay. The real question is: Are we ready to take advantage of it?