While the term “livestream shopping” meant nothing to us 10 years ago, now it has become a popular sales route for fashion brands. This method, which emerged with the Taobao Live platform of Alibaba, one of the e-commerce giants, brought sales of 7 billion dollars in China in 2017, while this number increased to 171 billion dollars in 2020. Its profitability, speed and practicality are the reasons that make it attractive for fashion brands.
This sales method, which has become popular in China, one of the leading countries in the world in integrating technology into shopping, is also on the radar of the Western world. Facebook (now Meta), tried this method by organizing live broadcast events and announced that it has added the livestream shopping feature. Pinterest TV followed the trend, and YouTube also tried it out with its “watch & buy” event. Finally, the recent announcement that Twitter has joined this trend proves that livestream shopping has now been adopted all over the world.
Consider videos where an influencer is promoting a product on YouTube or another social media platform. Just like in those videos, they both explain the features of the products and show them by trying them. But this time, influencers record this video live, instead of pre-recording it and uploading it to their profile.
The important part of livestream shopping is its second word, shopping. Unlike YouTube videos on platforms such as Taobao Live and ShopShops, viewers can purchase products simultaneously during the live broadcast. Just click on the product box that appears on the screen during the live broadcast. Thus, the step of transferring to another site with the product link, which distracts many viewers from purchasing at the final stage, is eliminated.
Another feature that distinguishes livestream shopping from the usual Instagram or YouTube videos is that viewers can participate. Our interactions with our environment have become even more important for us, especially as we become increasingly lonely during the pandemic. Being able to comment and write questions during the live broadcast makes us feel closer to that person and it is satisfying to be a part of the conversation. We feel in the same community as the audience and the broadcaster.
Although it has been proven many times that the ability to simultaneously purchase a product with one click while discovering it live on air is an effective sales method in China, the approach of the rest of the world will determine whether it is a temporary trend or a permanent one.