I strongly believe Asia, and especially China, is one step ahead when it comes to social media and e-commerce. In the past months, I have been reading and talking a lot on super-apps, short video platforms and other strong trends in those segments. In this issue, I share some data and thoughts on a multi-billion dollar industry that is having strong tailwinds with the epidemic in China: livestreaming e-commerce.
Lines keep blurring between entertainment and e-shopping. In the last decade, social networks paved the way with the introduction of new ad formats and more and more influencers that populate our favorite platforms. In fact, social media have put a lot of effort to make products discovery easier, and their business model is currently structured around this. However, despite in-app shopping features, social media have not yet fully managed to integrate the last and ultimate buying step to deliver a seamless transaction.
In 2015, some people in China started to sell clothes via live videos: it was the inception of livestreaming e-commerce. Gradually, national e-commerce and social platforms built tools and dedicated features to offer a great livestreaming purchasing experience, expanding the concept to all retail categories from cosmetics to jewelry to smartphones to home decoration to cars to apartments… In 2019, livestreaming e-commerce in China generated $61bn in sales
and analysts expect that metric to more than 2x in 2020
(e. $129bn). Today, a whole industry is being structured around agencies, wannabe influencers and other middle men. Will it even be possible in the years to come to thrive as an e-commerce player if you’re not content driven?
> 🕺 Make shopping from home great again - Unlike its ancestor (TV shopping), livestreaming is fun. Live shows leave room for spontaneity where we expect hosts to answer our questions in real time and talk honestly about products they showcase. Therefore, it is a lot easier for customers to understand what they are about to buy beforehand, which guarantees a high level of customer satisfaction. Social media and platforms on which live shows take place keep integrating features to provide viewers with a seamless buying experience and instant gratification via overnight delivery options.
> 📣 The power (and fragility) of influencers - More and more livestreaming hosts are professional influencers and key opinion leaders that work with specialized agencies or MCNs. Their job consists in mastering three main steps: attracting, retaining and making people buy. Therefore, as on other social platforms, influencers have the subtle mission of triggering sales while trying to remain authentic so as not to break the essential trustworthy relationship they try to maintain with their fan base. Usually, people strongly identify with best-known influencers. The live format enables viewers to directly interact with celebrities which strengthens the relation between influencers and their followers and leads to higher conversion rates.