What is live commerce?
Live commerce is the combination of live streaming and eCommerce (or traditional commerce) where viewers can watch live product showcasing and purchase the products straight from the live video.
And it’s so big that in 2019, in China, almost 40% of online shoppers made at least one purchase from a live commerce session. In a market that easily exceeds half a trillion dollars.
So live commerce allows your customers to start and end their buying journey online. What makes it different from traditional eCommerce?
What makes live commerce unique?
There are several aspects that we will cover in this article, as well as some ideas that will help you start a live shopping channel for your business. We understood what live commerce is, let’s see why this trend impacts commerce businesses all over the world.
Live commerce takes the best from both online and in-store commerce. What do I mean by that?
Well, both in-store and online have their benefits. Let’s see what these benefits are for both of the experiences.
In-store shopping is more of an experience that starts as soon as we put a foot in the store. By design, stores are created to communicate the brand and to introduce us to the “shopping dimension”. And although websites follow the same rules, the result is not quite the same as physical stores have the potential to stimulate several of our senses. But this is not the only reason for which people like purchasing stuff live.
In stores, we can have a better look at the products to understand how they are designed and get immediate responses to our questions.
eCommerce on the other hand allows us to buy products from the comfort of our homes. We can comfortably stay on the couch, check out an unlimited number of products and vendors, and easily place an order for the desired products. Afterward, we will conveniently receive the goods at home regardless if we choose to buy from a local business or from a company located across the globe.
Live commerce, as stated above, takes the best from both these experiences. On one hand, you have the live experience that you previously could experience only in-store. Potential customers can chat with the shop assistant, with fellow viewers, ask questions, and get their answer on the spot. All while taking part in this experience from the comfort of their homes. When they have decided, they can buy the products straight from this live video, without actually exiting the experience.
Why do customers love live commerce experiences?
Customers like this transformative retail solution because it transforms the classical online shopping journey into an interactive one. By default efficient, yet somehow dull, the eCommerce experience can become live without losing its above-mentioned perks.
Last year, more than 2 billion people bought products online. Although we saw an accelerated increase in online purchase adoption due to the pandemic, this trend will continue in the next years as well. Other than the ones mentioned before, there are several main reasons for which we see an increase in online commerce:
However, a study conducted at the end of 2020 revealed that more than half of the interviewed customers were looking for new, more engaging experiences while shopping online. And this should not come as a surprise. Over the last 20 years, eCommerce has been optimized, yet it hasn’t really changed that much. More or less, we have the same layout:
And maybe some extras
But guess what…
JCPenney Christmas Sales Catalog, 1966. Source.
As you can see, our modern eCommerce is not that different from what was happening more than half a century ago. It’s optimized, yet not different. No wonder customers are looking for something new.
Live commerce comes to take care of this immobile experience eCommerce customers are facing. This experience is live, allowing them to have a better understanding of the products. They can engage other viewers or the presenter, ask questions and receive their answers within seconds. And getting an answer to their questions is very important. Over 85% of customers have at least one questions they need to find answers to before purchasing a product online. By allowing businesses to answers these questions live, live commerce allows companies to take advantage of the momentum.
Customers see the product, ask questions, receive their answers, and purchase it from this experience. That’s helpful in a world where attention span is no more than 8 seconds.
Another reason for which live commerce is that efficient is that it combines shopping with commerce. The experience is entertaining and educative; it’s meant to encourage people to buy, without trying to force them to do it. It is indeed ‘Shoptainment’, a combination of shopping and entertainment that is dramatically changing the way we buy online.
Why brands are using live commerce?
A short answer would be that brands use it because customers love it. Although it wouldn’t be a false statement, the answer to this question is much more complex.
Brands, and especially the ones with a direct-to-consumer strategy, needed to find new, better ways to engage their communities. And what would be able to digitally recreate the in-store experience if not a live, video commerce experience?
Live commerce creates that authentic experience customers are looking for. Over 90% of younger generation customers said that they check a brand’s authenticity before deciding to take their business there. If someone ever considered that live video is unable to handle this authenticity transfer for brands to customers, 2020 proved them wrong.
For brick and mortar stores, live commerce can represent the difference between staying in business and going bankrupt. As the pandemic forced (and still does) physical stores to close their doors, businesses were facing extinction. The live commerce solution allowed shop assistants all over the world to transform into internet stars, showcasing products, answering questions, and keeping the community in contact with the brand.
Things are not easier for small eCommerce businesses either. In 2020, almost 2 thirds of total eCommerce retail sales went to marketplaces. And almost all to just the top 100. Live commerce allowed smaller eCommerce platforms to create better shopping experiences, allowing them to not only increase the conversion rates but to increase their Average Order Value. Using live, interactive video, customers can easily understand how two or more of your products can be easily used together.
Hopefully, this helped you better understand what is live commerce and how it changes the shopping experience. Now, let’s see how it can help your business.
How can live commerce help any business?
This transformative retail solution can help any business that wants to create a deeper connection with its customers.
If you were struggling to find a way to present your product in front of a live audience we are happy to inform you that this issue is over. You can now engage as many viewers as possible, straight on your website.
If you have one or multiple physical stores that needed to be closed, you can use live commerce and digitally recreate the shopping experience.
If your shop assistants were unable to perform their day-to-day tasks, they can use their knowledge online, offering the best solution to your clients.
Live commerce helps new markets sell online. For markets where the buying decision is less rational and more based on the experience itself, traditional eCommerce finds itself unable to offer a viable solution. Let’s take a sports car for example. Some pictures and a long list of features will not do too much good. But what if people could take it for a virtual spin? What if they could hear that engine roar and actually see how the parking assistant does the work for you? This could really be a game-changer.
How to actually start a live commerce session?
“Ideas without action are worthless.” Harvey MacKay
Live commerce may sound like a good idea (and the data demonstrates that it really is), but it can remain a simple idea. You need to take action for it to actually work and help your business.
Sometimes, we don’t take action toward an idea not because we don’t believe in it. But simply because it is hard to actually get started. Or so we think. I have some good news for you: starting a live commerce session is a lot easier than you may think.
Here is what you need to know
You don’t need to have a numerous team in order to create such an experience. A mobile phone is enough. Sometimes, it’s better to start small and see what your viewers actually appreciate. Maybe they would trade a complex show, hosted by an influencer, to a small get-together type of experience, where a shop assistant offers essential information about the hidden gems of a specific product.
When interacting with brands, customers value authenticity the most. Of course, you should deliver a quality experience, but this is a job for the live commerce platform – you should only focus on creating the right content for your viewers.
Creating such an experience on your website is easy as copy and paste. Yes, customers will be able to watch you live, engage through chat and questions, get answers, mark the most enjoyable moments and of course, buy. But this doesn’t mean that you need to have the technical knowledge to implement such options inside your website. Using a smart tool like Streams.live will help you easily create this experience on a platform that is designed and crafted for such experiences. Afterward, you only need to copy and paste a shortcode on the page where you want the experience to take place. And voilà!
Encourage your viewers to ask questions. This will help you find out what they are really interested to find out and will also help them engage each other. Answering one relevant question will help more of your viewers to take action and purchase your products.
In a data-driven economy, one may think that integrating a third-party option may create a bottleneck when using data to better understand how their customers interact with their business. On the contrary, such a solution will only bring in more relevant data for you to use and create better and better shopping experiences.
Your action plan
After you have decided to start your first live commerce session, you need to start planning it. We would recommend you start by setting up a date and sticking to it. After all, “a goal without a timeline is just a dream”.
You will then need to decide on the following:
Your goal is to interact with as many viewers as possible or to create an experience that is better suited for your existing customers? The answer to this question will help you with the following as well.
Will you decide to collaborate with an influencer or an experienced shop assistant would better suit this experience? Both answers are correct and can actually work together, but this all depends on what you plan to achieve from this particular live stream shopping session.
If you are a small business owner that has a strong community created around your brand, we would strongly recommend going live yourself. For a company that sells luxury boats, an experienced sales assistant would be the right choice. For a jewelry brand, the partnership with a famous influencer can prove itself extremely lucrative. It just depends on the context.
What products or services do you want to showcase during the live experience? We recommend our partners stick to 10 or fewer products, otherwise, you may find your viewers overwhelmed by the quantity of information. However, our platform offers a solution that highlights each product at the moment of your desire.
For you as a business, it’s important to focus on content creation. The way you communicate with your customers is the thing that you do best. If you decide to work with an agency, they will take care of light, cameras, and devices. If you decide to do it yourself, we have created a short guide that will help you with the technicalities of the above. Download it, read it, and get on focusing on what matters the most: the communication between you and your customers.
As customers become more familiar with digital experiences, live commerce becomes a more important sales and marketing channel for businesses all over the world. It has already changed the way people buy in the eastern markets (especially in China) and it gains more field in Europe and the Americas as well. Retailers have now an easier way to engage their customers and to create unforgettable shopping experiences. I hope this article helped you better understand what live commerce is all about and how it can help your business.