Most e-commerce businesses have embraced the power of video advertising in engaging audiences and building brand trust. And a new trend in video advertising that has been getting much attention lately is live streaming e-commerce.
Live streaming e-commerce is revolutionising the retail industry and influencing consumer buying behaviours, by combining two of the most popular online activities – live video streaming and online shopping. Here’s a quick rundown of what live streaming e-commerce is, how it works, and its advantages and disadvantages for e-commerce stores.
What is Live Streaming E-Commerce?
Live streaming e-commerce or simply live e-commerce is a modern fusion of video streaming and e-commerce where stores sell products and services through the power of live media. This involves stores and influencers broadcasting live to online audiences, showcasing products, demonstrating their use, and eventually inviting them to purchase. This trend dominates the retail industry in China and is now making its way to major parts of Asia, Europe, and America.
Live streaming e-commerce is particularly helpful since it helps build excitement and enthusiasm in the audience as they are able to participate in those live streams through their questions or requests. Orders for purchase are then placed in the same way as in a typical e-commerce environment.
What Makes Live Streaming a Good Fit for E-Commerce?
The convergence of online shopping and streaming helps improve customer engagement and hence bridges the gap between the sellers and the buyers. Consequently, when engagement goes up, conversions automatically increase. Here is how live streaming and e-commerce go hand in hand to boost sales for an e-commerce store.
Increasing Screen Times
With more than 5.11 billion unique mobile users in the world as of 2020, online traffic isn’t going down anytime soon. People are spending a significant chunk of their time in front of their screens, consuming all kinds of content online. An average internet user spends around 6 hours and 42 minutes online each day and out of these 6 hours, if they are an adult American, 25 minutes every day are going to be dedicated to watching videos.
These numbers are only going to increase and you need to capitalise on them as much as possible. By using live streaming, you could easily attract a large amount of this traffic, and once you’ve gathered the lot, there is no one stopping you from selling to them.
The level of personalisation live e-commerce can offer is unmatchable. You could be using the best salesmen with the most targeted campaigns, yet your sales pitch would never be as personal as such a live stream. The reason for this is pretty simple. In most cases where in-store staff or even influencers conduct these live streams, they are mostly being guided by input from the audience. People drop in their queries and questions, and all of them are answered in real-time. Also, people are able to see if the product they are looking to purchase fits their specific needs or not. The particular person conducting the video can easily turn it into a one-to-one conversation with the consumers where their concerns are heard and valued. Not only does this strategy promote sales, but it also increases customer loyalty and turns them into repeat purchasers.
Stores operating online are often unable to effectively demonstrate the product specifications and educate the customers on what it is and how it works. With live e-commerce, they can use experienced professionals to talk about the particular product and take any questions the audience might have in real-time. This does not have to be limited to salesmen or in-store staff. The stores could get professionals from the particular field or even the manufacturers themselves to talk about their products. This adds to the engagement of the customers and, besides being salesy, helps educate customers about many new things.
One of the major drawbacks of online shopping is that the customers are unable to physically inspect the product before they pay for it. This is also the reason a lot of people hesitate from ordering online and prefer brick-and-mortar stores instead. Live e-commerce can be of great help here since, in this case, the people ordering online don’t have to go through a series of searches to find out the actual specifications of the products. They don’t have to skim through hundreds of reviews to make sure that the product is the same as advertised and provides the right value for money. Through live e-commerce, they can carefully observe the product specifications and get their questions answered in real-time. This increases their convenience and improves the trust they have in online shopping.
The Challenge for Brands Adopting Live E-Commerce
Live e-commerce seems very promising, but it has some risks attached to it. For instance, when you’re going live online, you have little power over the direction the stream goes into. Most of these streams are guided by customer queries and requests. In such cases, you can’t control everything, and whatever happens, sticks with your brand image for good. This can go both ways for brands. If you have a lot of satisfied customers, their testimonies are going to help you get more customers. However, if there is a lot of negative feedback, that is going to affect the audience as well.
Preparing for such situations in advance and creating contingency plans for things that could go wrong often helps. You need to be well-prepared to handle all types of situations and must know how to respond to any such problems then and there.
Despite the risks live e-commerce poses, the benefits it can bring to your brand far outweigh the losses. Obviously, you aren’t going to get it right the first time, but rehearsing as much as possible and learning from your mistakes is the only way forward. You could start out with basic Facebook and Instagram streams and then move one step ahead to video conferences with your customers. Have a chat with us to find out how you can use live e-commerce to boost your business, during and even beyond the COVID-19 crisis.