Live shopping is one of the big e-commerce trends in 2021 that are currently shaping online retail. Especially in China, thanks to leading e-commerce giants such as Alibaba and JD.com, the format has long since become the standard for online shopping. There, moderators or popular influencers have been taking customers on a shopping tour via live video since 2016. They answer their questions via the chat function. With success, because with an average of 50,000 live streams and 260 million views a day, live shopping is now an integral part of the Chinese e-commerce ecosystem. According to forecasts by the American consulting firm Coresight Research, the trend will generate sales of 300 billion US dollars in 2021 – and the trend is rising.
Live shopping among the e-commerce trends 2021: Europe is catching up
In Europe and Germany, too, live shopping has now become one of the 2021 e-commerce trends. It offers enormous potential, especially for retailers and brands from the fashion and beauty industry. Meanwhile, 36 percent of the 90 in the study examined brands are already connected to the hype and are using the advantages that a direct live presentation offers their customers. Because basically live shopping is a kind of 2.0 version of traditional teleshopping. This was already very popular in the early 80s – only the medium is different today. But anyone who thinks about the long-term advertisements from the teleshopping channel QVC is wrong. Because with live shopping, customers can interact with the brand or with each other at any time. This is not only more authentic and improves the shopping experience, it also intensifies the relationship with the customer. This is an important step for a customer-centric strategy and long-term business success.
Not only Chinese but also European consumers are interested in live shopping. With the lockdown extended in mid-2020, they began exploring virtual shopping events that replicated the normal shopping experience. After all, in a recent survey by Forrester Research, 70 percent of European customers said they were open to live shopping. But in contrast to the Southeast Asian users, who are mostly young millennials, those interested in Europe are significantly more mature and between 32 and 43 years old.
In addition, they prefer live-stream videos that take no more than ten minutes to receive important offers and product information. “We see that our users tend to stay around 11 to 15 minutes on programs that are around 30 to 45 minutes long,” says Sophie Abrahamsson, chief commercial officer at live video streaming platform Bambuser, who im Was interviewed as an expert as part of the live shopping study. “But that always depends on the segment.”
Long-term success in live shopping: Consistency is the be-all and end-all
In order to do justice to the growing interest of consumers in live shopping, 21 percent of the brands examined started using the new sales channel as early as mid-2020. In the meantime, more than a third of the fashion and beauty brands have organized at least one live shopping event. But in order to benefit from live shopping in the long term and monetize these events, consistency is the key. Almost half of the brands examined have taken this to heart. Above all, the beauty brands offer regular events, while fashion brands tend to focus on occasional events. Both industries clearly prefer the integration of live shopping into their own web shop. However, they advertise their events on social media channels, with more than two thirds of the brands examined using Facebook as a marketing channel.
E-commerce trends 2021: Live shopping is mobile
Thanks to social and live streams, the use of shopping apps during the corona-related lockdown in 2020 increased by almost half worldwide. Also the own numbers of Arvato show that the trend among European customers is shifting towards mobile shopping. Markets like the US, which traditionally lagged behind in mobile shopping, grew by a whopping 35 percent during this period. Brands and web shops can use this development to connect directly with their customers via app-based live shopping events. Other options are social media, although Facebook Live has not yet been used by the brands examined. Or your own website, on which 70 percent of the live shopping events were held. To do this, they either have to set up an appropriate infrastructure or can simply use the services of a live stream provider such as Bambuser or Livebuy.
Although all live stream formats offer viewers the option of interacting with the moderators within the format and, for example, exchanging information in the chat, there are advantages and disadvantages with each solution. Social media channels are well known and offer a high customer reach along with extended analysis functions. However, the streaming quality is not that high and the organizer has less control over the product presentation. They are either suitable for smaller brands or offline shops that want to explore their sales opportunities with live shopping first, or they are suitable for brands and web shops that have a large number of followers. Those who prefer to use their own website for their live shopping event have full control, affordable costs and optimal streaming quality, but have to come to terms with a range that is limited to their own customers and additional marketing costs in order to increase awareness . Ultimately, this option is suitable for everyone as professional live stream services support companies in running their events.
Influencer or Expert – Who is targeting the audience?
Ultimately, however, the presentation of their event is more decisive for brands than the chosen technical solution. Since live shopping is very mobile, it of course offers the possibility of using celebrities or influencers to address the largest possible audience. This is especially true for young customers, for whose purchase decisions social media is very important. Therefore, according to the study, it is not surprising that 50 percent of the beauty brands examined rely on a combination of influencers and experts for their buying events, while the fashion industry either integrates influencers (43 percent) or its own product experts (39 percent) who have the corresponding Have knowledge.
In addition, smaller brands also like to work with real sellers or product-related influencers, who then moderate the events on site in the shop. “There is no such thing as a formula for the perfect show. It all depends on the products and the audience, ”explains Bertold Harmath, Co-Founder and CCO of the live streaming provider Lifebuy. “To shine when it comes to live shopping, you’d better go live every day for 20 days in a row than try to plan the one perfect event for a month.”
E-Commerce Trends 2021 – Live Shopping for a Better Brand Experience
Since live shopping scores with an innovative customer experience and is tailored to the changed shopping behavior of consumers, Arvato Supply Chain Solutions believes that it will establish itself as the perfect addition to the brand experience in the long term. Because this is a way to interact even more directly with customers and create a shopping experience for them that is optimally tailored to their needs. However, it is important to combine entertainment and entertainment with established sales expertise in such a way that the customers’ desire is aroused over the long term.
Also read: Livestream shopping – How digital experiences can be converted into sales.
About the author: Abbas Tolouee works as a Senior Consultant in the Digital Unit of Arvato Supply Chain Solutions. Thanks to his many years of experience in the consulting business, he has already developed successful digital strategies for various Arvato customers. The focus of his work is on the topics of internationalization, marketplaces and sustainability.