Livestreams are the future of shopping and they’re coming your way

By Yunus on 26 January 2021

Livestreaming is an exploding trend in online shopping that you need to take note of. The number of livestream users in China reached 560 million in March 2020, where the trend is fuelled largely by 18-24 year olds. Many celebrities and well-known brands have taken part in livestreams and reported incredible results.

The trend is only set to continue and is already spreading  to the rest of the world with shopping giants such as Amazon introducing Amazon Live.

What is livestream shopping?

Livestream shopping is a growing trend in Asia that allows brands to offer a more interactive shopping experience. An influencer, or a KOL (key opinion leader), broadcasts a livestream while showcasing a product or a range of products, which the viewers can buy on the stream. Livestreaming has become so mainstream in Asia that even Kim Kardashian has livestreamed for her Chinese fans. Livestreaming is very popular with Millennials in Asia. The boom in liverstreaming has largely been down to the shopping platforms like Alibaba, Shopee and Taobao embracing the format where users can view the livestreams on the relevant shopping site or the app.

Who buys on livestreams?

Livestreams are viewed by a predominantly young audience. According to an article by MIA, livestreams are enjoyed by an equal mix of males and females and almost 55% of them are aged 18-24 and 37% are aged 25-34. Viewers of livestreams reported that they like to receive up-to-date information from sellers. The change in shopping habits due to Covid-19 and the uptake by the younger demographic indicate that the trend is set to grow further in the coming years.

What do people buy on livestreams?

Purchasing habits vary by region. In Singapore, the top three products livestream viewers buy online are food, make-up and technology gadgets where food items constituted 70% of the purchases. In China, the purchases are much more varied and include luxury items and even cars.

How can brands take part in livestreams?

Choose an expert influencer/KOL

Livestreams work because they offer increased participation, product demonstration and a deep understanding of the product. Therefore you must work with figures who understand your industry and products inside out. If you work with figures outside your niche, you risk mistakes happening live on the stream and the viewers being more knowledgeable than the host.

If you are relying on an influencer with a large following, you must ensure that you spend enough time with the influencer to make them an expert on their product.

Choose the right platform

In Asia, many shopping platforms have already enabled livestreams as a built-in feature. So you should start with considering how you can host a livestream on these platforms as the purchase funnel will be much more streamlined and accountable.

If your product is not available on those platforms, you can still host a livestream through an influencer. In this case, you should make brand awareness a primary objective and purchases a secondary objective.  You can still drive purchases by offering promo codes through the influencer on a livestream.

Paid media is still important

As the saying goes, without publicity a terrible thing happens – nothing. Before the livestream goes live, do ensure you undertake a paid media campaign to promote the stream to ensure that the stream is viewed by the right audience and as many people as possible.

Plan the content and execution

For livestreams to work, they have to be rehearsed and scripted. They can’t be overly salesy or promotional as the audience will turn off. Livestreams rely on impulse purchases so introducing incentives such as promos will help conversions.

Amplify the livestream

Once the livestream ends, you can package and repurpose the film of the stream for different platforms to create engaging content that will amplify your reach and generate further conversions. You can tactically adopt the content for their website,  YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok to generate further sales.

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