The Rise of Livestreaming for E-Commerce
While there’s nothing quite like the experience of going shopping in person, for many consumers livestreaming has quickly become the next best thing. As for marketers and businesses, livestreaming is the closest they can come to physically connecting with their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the unaware, livestreaming in the e-commerce space is the broadcasting of live video in real time via the internet to promote and sell goods or services. This may sound similar to what TV shopping was like in the 1980s, though with online livestreaming, retailers are spared the heavy airtime and production costs of TV broadcasting and instead can use their existing social media channels to reach a worldwide audience.
While brands may initially feel vulnerable exposing themselves to a live audience, where they're less in control and anything can go wrong, this same aspect of livestreaming is what makes it feel more natural and real to customers, and can also work in retailers favor. Livestreaming for e-commerce can also help fill the social aspect that's missing in regular online shopping to help bring the experience to life and increase interaction between the customer and seller.
A new report from Payoneer, an online payments platform for e-commerce sellers and digital businesses globally, investigates further into this trend to explain how, and why, demand for live video streaming is growing exponentially, and how those who are new to the space can get on board.
China Leads the Way
The video streaming market was worth an estimated $30 billion in 2016, and is expected to reach $70 billion by 2021, and $184 billion by 2027. Due to the acceleration of digital commerce caused by the coronavirus pandemic, these projections are sure to grow.
Take China as an example, where e-commerce livestreaming began and has really taken off. The livestreaming industry in China has quickly become an important platform for shopping, completely changing the way e-commerce in the region is conducted. Due to COVID-19, livestreaming shopping has boomed and local e-commerce giants like JD.com have boosted sales by partnering with livestreaming platform Kuaishou, allowing users to purchase products via live broadcasts.
This boom can be seen in results from early May, when China celebrated its five-day national Labor Day Holiday. During that time, sales via livestreaming platforms reached almost $140 million, an increase of over 400 percent from 2019.
As far back as early March, during the peak of China’s lockdown, local messaging and social app WeChat quickly amped up its livestreaming capabilities. WeChat launched a platform to allow both influencers and merchants to livestream and link to products for purchase via HTML5 pages or connected Mini Programs. As a result, on International Women’s Day, close to 1,000 fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands livestreamed on WeChat, creating an 83 percent spike in traffic.
Also in March, Louis Vuitton became the first major high-end fashion brand to livestream its upcoming 2020 summer collection during a one-hour event via China’s luxury retail app, Little Red Book. As more global fashion brands jump on the livestreaming bandwagon to promote products, discounts and giveaways, livestreaming may just be the best way to save retail.
E-Commerce in the COVID-19 Era
As consumers worldwide are encouraged to stay at home, their digital viewing and buying habits have completely changed, possibly forever. This is pushing many businesses to create digital content in ways they would have never considered before.
As Payoneer’s report shows, demand for livestreaming has increased dramatically during the first half of 2020, and the retail industry continues to become even more creative. As demand continues to grow, businesses and solopreneurs will have no choice but to embrace this trend, though the sharpest ones are already ahead of the curve.
Scott Galit is the CEO of Payoneer, a leading online payments company transforming the way businesses send and receive cross-border payments.
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Scott Galit, is the CEO of Payoneer, a leading online payments company transforming the way businesses send and receive cross-border payments. Scott was the founder and CEO of Solspark; SVP/General Manager of First Data Prepaid and EVP at Meta Payment Systems. Earlier in his career he was an investment banker at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. Scott was also a founding board member of the NBPCA.