Live streaming has become an increasingly popular feature on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook; even users on apps like LiveMe and YouNow are broadcasting millions of hours of live video content every day. More than just a social media trend today, it is now making its way into the retail sector. A number of merchants already use online shopping platforms like Taobao and Tmall to live stream their products to thousands of viewers around the world on a daily basis. Also, influencer marketing is playing a huge role in bringing life stream shopping to consumers. Influencers, through live videos, are bringing various products to life, and therefore, the technology is fast gaining momentum in fashion retail.
Live video shopping is a powerful way for brands and retailers to establish and reinforce their relationships with customers. It gives them a way to showcase their brand persona and truly interact with their customers, especially in times where physical retail experience is a challenge and customer shopping habits are changing. The technology opens up a wealth of opportunities in marketing, customer service and even revenue. As today, retailers are increasing their focus on technology and creating immersive experience for consumers, e-commerce sites and bricks-and-mortar retailers alike should consider the ways they can utilise live streaming, interactive broadcasting, and other live video formats to engage with their audiences and increase sales.
Live stream, as a medium of shopping, is more social and interactive which translates to better understanding of product attributes by the consumer. Moreover, there is a trust factor associated, as live stream allows shoppers to get closer to products and hear someone describe what a product feels, looks or smells like. This allows shoppers to experience the product through the person on the screen. It’s also a fun and entertaining form of shopping where customers can see people talking about their experience while demonstrating the product. This immediately creates an interest and confidence in the product to purchase.
One way of getting started with the technology is by collaborating with an expertise in the field. Sweden-based Bambuser, founded in 2007, is a tech supplier that helps retailers with its live video streaming technology. The company is helping retailers boost their online sales through the interactive technology. “The in-person shopping experience has suffered tremendously during 2020. Bambuser has seen a massive uplift in incoming inquiries and implementations during this period, from all verticals, both pure online players and bricks-and-mortar businesses. However, I see this as an acceleration of a behaviour that was already gaining traction,” said Sophie Abrahamsson, Chief Commercial Officer, Bambuser.
The Bambuser live streaming allows live chats comprising interacting with customers in real time, answering their questions, including them in conversations and co-creating content. During a live show, viewers can explore products and add to their carts without leaving the stream. The actual check out will take place in the native cart of the retailer. For example, if a customer is watching a live shopping event and likes an item, he has to simply click on the item and it will be instantly placed in the cart on the retailer’s site. To complete the purchase, the customer will proceed to check out exactly like it would be if he had been browsing a regular e-commerce website.
The other solution that the company offers is for one-to-one live streaming for a personalised shopping experience. It allows brands and retailers to tailor the shopping experience for customers by connecting them with sales representatives or store personnel. The personalised experience can help in better understanding the customer needs, and accordingly, decide product display and product comparison, motivating the customers to purchase the product. It’s a hassle-free process and customers are not required to login or download apps. The solution also helps in gathering the customer data and managing the customer queues and pre-booked meetings.
The Bambuser live streaming shopping technology promises a 6.2 X increase in engagement rate, 4.7 per cent increase in add-to-cart rate and a 2.9 X average visitor’s duration.
“While the current circumstances might have forced many retailers to reinvent themselves, I strongly believe we are witnessing an evolution and this technology will soon become a norm. Live video shopping is opening up for any retailer, based anywhere and with any expertise or exclusivity to reach people from all over the world and offer something that had previously been closed and limited. That democratisation will have a lasting halo effect for brands and the retail industry at large,” said Sophie.
One of the benefits of the technology is that it allows the brand narrative, which makes it super easy for customers to stay connected with the brand’s identity and recognise them in their comfort zone. The customers are not required to install any additional application since the technology is integrated into the existing website. One of the markets that has hugely accepted the trend of live stream shopping is China. It is projected to generate US $ 129 billion in 2020 revenue, according to Rockwater Industries, a management consulting firm. This is 453 per cent jump in growth from 2018. Taobao Live, owned by Alibaba, is the premier live stream shopping site in China which is expected to sell to 500 million-plus shoppers and generate nearly US $ 500 billion in the next 3 years. It sells more than 100,000 brands, including Levi’s and Ralph Lauren, and has also created stars like Viya who reached 37 million live viewers on Singles Day last November.
“All signs show that adoption will keep accelerating, and I’m firmly convinced that a year from now, this is how people will shop online. If someone would invent e-commerce today, it would mirror our digital behaviour, and we live and breathe live video online today. Why would anyone shop from a static webpage if you can interact and experience products in an interactive live video context!” concluded Sophie.