Instagram recently announced it was stepping away from its live commerce capabilities, leaving many marketers questioning whether or not live shopping tactics were worth the time and investment. But even with gradual adoption rates in the U.S., the data shows live shopping is alive and well and very much here to stay with industry analysts predicting live ecommerce sales will grow from $17 billion in 2022 to $55 billion in the next three years.
In fact,TikTok – which is experiencing exponential user growth – is leaning heavily into live commerce. Last October, the video-centric platform launched live shopping in the U.S. According to Insider Intelligence, the move gives TikTok, “The opportunity to unlock more revenues from the 23.7 million users who already shop on the platform and effectively monetize the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon.”
And it’s not just TikTok. Less than a year ago, YouTube expanded its livestream shopping capabilities across the Live, Shorts, and long-form videos. Pinterest expanded its live shopping feature last October, launching Pinterest TV in Canada ahead of the 2022 holiday shopping season.
The reality is that live shopping delivers more than new online revenue streams – the value of live interactions between brands and customers goes far beyond the monetary transaction. It bridges the gap between commerce and customer care strategies, drastically improving the overall customer experience.
Consumers Want Authentic Brand Experiences
A recent Harris Interactive consumer survey commissioned by Emplifi found that an overwhelming majority of online shoppers seek out real-life customer reviews and ratings when researching products. More than half of the consumers surveyed confirmed they place a high value on product videos posted by real-life customers. The research underscores just how crucial “real-life” experiences are to the customer journey.
Content helps consumers buy. Consumers are searching for authentic brand experiences and are more than happy to connect – and spend their money – with an online retailer that fits the bill. Live shopping is the natural extension of authentic, real-life customer reviews and user generated content experiences. If customer reviews and user generated content opens the door to an impactful customer journey, live shopping invites consumers fully into the shopping experience. It offers a chance to see the product live while speaking to a store representative who not only can answer questions about the product, but show the customer exactly what they want to see.
One-to-One Live Shopping Does More Than Drive Revenue
Imagine finding the perfect pair of jeans online but not being sure if they’ll work based on the product image. Now imagine having a link to start a livestream with a personal shopper who can show you product details, offering up information on sizes and inseam lengths or how much stretch the denim has. Do the jeans come in a lighter wash? Do they run big? Are there any new sweaters in store to complete the outfit?
These are all questions that can be answered during a one-to-one live shopping session, significantly boosting customer satisfaction scores and driving more sales. Revenue goes up, return rates drop, and brand perception skyrockets.
It’s the ultimate full circle moment for ecommerce brands: live shopping creates a positive brand interaction that results in a satisfied customer who leaves a positive review that delivers a whole new group of new customers. It’s not just a way to provide more cost-effective content for your customers, but it’s also a way to invest in creating more scalable employee generated content.
The Promise of One-to-Many Live Shopping Events
If one-to-one shopping boosts customer satisfaction, one-to-many shopping experiences take online retail sales opportunities to a whole new level. A one-to-many shopping event, where a livestream shopping experience is broadcasted to multiple viewers, is an effective way to expand your online audience and increase sales while also strengthening relationships with loyal customers.
Savvy brands that understand the value of building community among their most devoted customer segments use one-to-many live shopping experiences for new product launches. It’s a unique opportunity to create an exclusive shopping experience for their most profitable customer group, incentivizing repeat buying patterns. One-to-many shopping events can also help build excitement and a sense of urgency around a limited-time offering.
For brands wanting to extend their reach online, one-to-many livestream shopping is a strategic way to grow their audiences – using the tactic to host major sales events or offer educational programs about products or services online. Brands can highlight discounted items while answering customer questions in real-time.
Not only does livestreaming help drive the brand’s commerce efforts, it is a strategic way to provide customer support. For example, a beauty brand can use their live capabilities to provide makeup tutorials. Video footage from the live event can then be divided into “snackable” content leveraged across the brand’s site and social platforms, maximizing its use.
The Future of Live Shopping
The live shopping landscape has already experienced tremendous growth in the past few years, with livestream ecommerce sales in the U.S. more than tripling since 2020. Across the globe, live shopping is gaining traction. China, the undisputed leader in live commerce, saw live shopping revenue reach $300 billion in 2021 – that figure is expected to more than double this year, according to eMarketer.
The UK electronics retailer Currys is a prime example of a brand using live commerce tactics to gain a competitive edge. Their team leverages live shopping for pre- and post-sale customer care strategies, earning an average customer satisfaction rate of 4.7 to 5 stars after every call.
Live shopping: It delivers on all fronts – providing a convenient and flexible shopping environment combined with high-touch customer support that caters to today’s modern customer.