As brands look for new engaging ways to connect with customers, who, in turn, seek unique and entertaining experiences online to grab their attention and spend their money on, a new interactive shopping platform is gaining traction and has turned into one of the hottest trends in online retail: livestream shopping. By presenting and selling products via a live video online, livestream shopping creates a fresh, digitalized take on the Home Shopping Network (HSN), bringing the shopping channel of yore into the 21st century.
By blending interactivity, entertainment, and instant purchasing into one virtual shopping experience, brands have found a new channel to reach their customers and create value with massive potential. Livestream shopping has already taken China by storm and is now reaching the western world as more brands embrace the virtual approach to interacting with customers live on the web. The potential is huge and could change the face of online retail as we know it.
China is leading the way
Livestream shopping first appeared in China in 2016 when the retail giant https://www.alibaba.com/ introduced its livestream shopping channel Taobao Live. It took off immediately, growing by 280% within 2017 and 2020 alone. In China, livestream shopping has already transformed the retail industry and is estimated to be worth more than US$300 billion in 2021.
The way it works is simple: the host – an influencer, a celebrity, or a brand representative – presents a product to an audience live online. Users can interact with the presenter by using the chat function and reaction buttons to actively engage with the live stream. With an inbuilt buying function, the showcased products can be purchased in an instant.
Livestream shopping reflects today’s trends
Livestream shopping reflects many major trends of today’s world. For modern-day individuals, technology and the internet continue to shape more aspects of daily life, with digital media consumption skyrocketing. Visual content and interactive experiences have gained huge importance, with platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, TikTok, etc. being used by billions of users around the globe. Through these, livestreaming is reaching new heights as users are looking for more direct and interactive ways to connect with other people, influencers, and brands.
Livestreaming content has already been big in gaming for years, with millions of gamers sharing gaming content live on Twitch. Watching other gamers play has become a huge trend with 17 billion hours watched on the platform last year. This development has also spread into other areas of gaming, where it’s creating new gaming experiences for players around the globe. For instance, many of the best online casinos available in South Africa, as reviewed and rated on https://www.casinos.co.za/, offer a wide variety of classic casino games which can be played online. Live casino games such as live blackjack are especially popular, offering players an immersive experience by playing with a real dealer via a live video. This, however, is not the only evening entertainment that is making use of live videos, as symphonies, orchestras, and musicians from across the globe have started streaming concerts live online for audiences to attend virtually online.
Live commerce’s huge potential
The benefits and implications of such livestreams are huge. Live videos allow audiences to interact with a brand directly and actively partake in the experience. Brands on the other hand can get instant feedback from their customers, which they can use to improve both their products and services as well as their marketing efforts. For us, social creatures, shopping online the traditional way can be a pretty lonesome experience by just scrolling through pages with images and text. Livestream shopping on the other hand brings an interactive and social experience that almost resembles a shopping party with a large group of people. It’s social, fun, and entertaining and builds a deeper relationship between the brand and customers by creating truly unique, authentic, and personal shopping experiences.
Livestream shopping is on the rise and is slowly making its way from China to the western world, with platforms such as Facebook implementing live shopping tools, and Amazon launching https://www.amazon.com/live, as well as other brands such as Tommy Hilfiger, Walmart, and many more dipping their toes into the new retail space. As livestream shopping continues to expand and evolve, it offers a whole array of opportunities for brands to interact with their customers, reach new markets, build stronger customer relationships, and offer unique and valuable experiences. The possibilities for the future of online retail through live videos are striking.