Very popular in China, live commerce, or live streaming commerce, is an innovative method of selling products where the seller interacts with customers in real-time via a video stream. Unlike traditional e-commerce, which relies on static product pages and limited user interaction, live commerce capitalises on the immediacy of video and audio to create a more personalised shopping experience.
But live commerce goes beyond simply showing off products and explaining their features and companies need to create an engaging experience by utilising interactive features such as Q&A, polls, and contests.
How does it work?
A live commerce session typically starts with a host introducing the product and giving viewers an overview of its features. Often, it is a product not yet available in-store or in e-commerce. The host can be a shop assistant, a brand representative, an influencer, or a model, and the live streaming may take place in the store or somewhere else.
After the host has presented the product, viewers can ask questions and interact with them in real-time through live chat. For example, they may ask for a shoe or dress of a specific size to be worn to see how it fits, or they may ask to zoom in on details or to see related products to create complete outfits and receive style advice.
At the end of the session, viewers are invited to buy the item online at a discounted price before it goes on sale elsewhere, or they can access other promotions (free gifts, special offers, and so on).
Live commerce sessions can take place on different platforms, especially on social networks such as WeChat, Instagram, or Facebook. It is also possible to create standalone live-streaming apps or websites.
Advantages of live commerce for fashion brands
Live commerce has a number of advantages for fashion brands. For example:
- Increased user engagement: Live commerce allows sellers to present products in an exciting way that encourages customers to interact, ask questions and leave feedback in real-time.
- Improved customer loyalty: Live streaming sessions create a sense of connection with the brand on a much deeper level than a traditional online store. Some brands have regular appointments so shoppers make a habit of repeatedly returning to watch the shows. Moreover, live commerce can leverage the need for exclusivity, as customers are offered discounts or special offers not available elsewhere. This can help build stronger relationships with customers and increase their loyalty to the brand.
- Improved sales: Live commerce allows brands to present their product in a dynamic way and encourage viewers to buy immediately. The special promotions at the end of the live streaming help to create a sense of urgency and encourage viewers to make a purchase before the item is gone.
- Fewer returns: since consumers have a way to ask questions real-time and learn about the product, they will be much more confident about buying it, thus reducing the risk of being disappointed once they receive it and returning it.
- Reach a wider audience: Live streaming commerce is a way to bring shopping to social media, and turn shopping into an entertainment content. Brands can reach consumers that may not have been inclined to shop in a traditional online store, but who are more willing to engage with the more human experience of a presented show.
Benefits of live commerce for consumers:
Consumers also have everything to gain from live commerce. Indeed:
- Ease and convenience: Live streaming commerce allows consumers to shop easily from their smartphones or PCs, without going to a physical store or following the steps required by e-commerce purchasing. All they have to do is to click on the link that the host shares with them.
- Immediacy and more satisfactory purchases: Consumers can ask questions and get answers right away in real-time, so they can make an informed decision before proceeding with a purchase.
- Exclusivity: Live commerce gives customers an opportunity to discover new products, as it is often used for the launch of new collections. Moreover, they are often offered discounted prices or promotions not available elsewhere, thus creating a sense of exclusivity and making them feel special.
- Better customer experience: The power of live streaming technology creates an interactive and immersive shopping experience during which consumers not only have fun, but interact with someone who takes care of their questions and personal concerns better and faster than any customer support service.
- Sense of community: Live streaming events create a sense of togetherness; viewers feel part of a community, as they can talk to the host and other participants in real-time. This helps build relationships with the brand as well as with other customers.