What Is Livestream Ecommerce And Why Is It The Talk of The Town?

With livestream ecommerce coming to the fore lately, it’s essential we understand the nitty-gritty of its purpose and potential. Subsequently, in this piece, we shall figure some basic metrics of consideration that will help you decide if (and how) your ecommerce platform would benefit from any livestreaming at all.

Livestream Ecommerce

What is Livestream Ecommerce?
A Real-time Example (Our subject of case-study here)
How is Livestreaming a Win-Win For All?
The Gamification Facet
What is the Current Scope of Livestream Shopping?
Before You Integrate Livestreaming Into Your Ecommerce Site
Could Livestreams Replace our Traditional Website Shopping?

What is Livestream Ecommerce?

In simple terms, when retailers sell their products or services live by video streaming online, that is livestream ecommerce. And the reason it is taking the surge is because while it enables the presenter to demonstrate the products live, it allows the viewers to ask questions and discuss real-time.

A Real-time Example (Our subject of case-study here)

Taobao is the most extensively used shopping application in China. While it is already widely popular (and successful) for its notable features like that of precise and detailed order tracking and picture-search function, it recently joined the livestreaming game.

Livestream Ecommerce
Livestream Ecommerce
A snapshot of what the Taobao interface looks like

Turning to livestream had their sales skyrocket to such an extent that on their annual Single-Day Global Shopping Festival that happened early this year (of 2021), they witnessed twice the sale they made the year before.

How is Livestreaming a Win-Win For All?

From the Company’s Viewpoint:
On most days, livestreams call for encouraging customers to purchase the product being demonstrated, within the livestream period. Discounts are also provided for the purchases made during that span of time. And usually, discounts are provided on products that are available as a limited stock. This has been proven to work a charm on making bulk sales within a limited period of time.

From the Customer’s Viewpoint:
This goes without saying. Besides the customers getting to see and know the product better, driving them to make informed decisions, they also get to buy it at a given offer price; which is another plus!

The Gamification Facet Here?

Well-established ecommerce platforms like Taobao are using gamification elements underpinned by tactics driven by customer engagement with their ecommerce platform.

Marketing strategy coupled with gamification are a very efficient combo!

The livestreaming is modelled in a way that allows customers to accumulate points through some straightforward actions in their store.

For instance, as a customer, you could earn

  • 10 loyalty points if you signed-in daily
  • 5 loyalty points if you watched the livestream for straight 4 minutes
  • 4 loyalty points if you added the product to your cart during the livestream

….you get the point.

Even simple tasks like making a comment during a livestream will help the user level up!

More loyalty points call for more discounts;
More discounts call for more engagement;
Increased engagement indicates spiking sales!

Livestream Ecommerce
Livestream Ecommerce
Screengrabs of Taobao handling their livestream for various products

What Is the Current Scope of Livestream Shopping?

Today, we not only have our dedicated ecommerce websites to shop from, but also the social media. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook are bringing in the ‘Shop’ feature and we can easily envision how these pages will employ livestreaming!

So that would be another potential place to see livestreaming in effect, besides being embedded in ecommerce sites and app.

Also, the concept of TV shopping channels is something a lot of us are already familiar with. That indicates that livestream ecommerce is no alien topic to us; thereby, expanding its scope!

Before You Integrate Livestreaming Into Your Ecommerce Site

As hopeful as livestreaming seems right now, it is important that you choose the right means to implement it. Pay heed to ethnography to decide how you must proceed. It goes without saying, DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Why, you ask?

As a case in point, while the Americans prefer to participate in livestream shopping on their desktops, the Chinese customer base is a fan of running shopping sprees on their smartphones!

Now you know why you are going to have to indulge in proper user research before committing to whatever means that work best for you. (Either ways, never choose to ignore user research regardless of how well you think you understand your user base. Alright, that’s a topic for another Medium piece *wink* )

VethaVarshini Medium article

Could Livestreams Replace our Traditional Website Shopping?

It is hard to think of livestreaming as a stand-alone means of ecommerce. At least not yet. But it may very well be integrated into other platforms!

While it may work for a certain product range, there is a whole other lot that does not require livestreaming to help the user with a purchase. Also, wouldn’t it be hard to have to watch a live demo for a product every time you think of purchasing one?

That is why livestreaming is no means of replacing our existing shopping interface. In fact, it is just a supplemental to a great shopping experience at the moment. Even till date, every ecommerce giant that has turned to livestreaming has not given up on the traditional website shopping.

You can always switch to your product (detail) page during a livestream and it will continue in the ‘picture-in-picture’ mode.

The Take Away

Livestreaming might not seem like such an alien concept to us after all because we all have, at some point or the other, been familiar with TV shopping channels; and this is not very different from that. Now even influencers are resorting to this; perhaps to sell brands they promote online. With this model crawling into ecommerce platforms at an exponential pace today, it is not only sufficient to know the WHATs, but also the WHYs and HOWs of it to help you deicide if livestreaming is right for your brand.

Read about how livestreaming is different from social commerce, TV shopping channels and influencer reviews here.

Learn about how livestreaming ecommerce is a rage in China here.

VethaVarshini Kavya, fondly called Vivi, writes about her learnings on Medium. While her takes on concepts concerning User Experience are insightful for the rookies in the field, it’s more about the perception for the rest of the crowd. Connect with her on LinkedIn and let her know your thoughts on her pieces!

A User Experience fanatic. Still counts on fingers. Rabbit mama. Sage minimalist. Sugar junkie.