Live streaming has become an increasingly popular trend in the retail industry, particularly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic close to two years ago, and the example of its extraordinary success in China.
“It’s been a phenomena in China for a long time and effectively I call it a bridge between e-commerce and the brick and mortar where you designate a time for live streaming and you invite your customers in there and they learn about the product. It’s educational. It works really well in the beauty sector,” said Crombie.
“For direct to consumer brands I think it’s just that physical and live engagement. We’re also seeing live streaming happening in the runways and so before only the privileged got to go to the runway and now anybody can participate in the runway to see what the latest fashion is and see what Zara is going to produce in three weeks from that date, you know how quick they are.
“I think live streaming is a really interesting trend.”
According to a study by Brightpearl, a Retail Operating System (ROS) for retailers and wholesalers that’s built for hyper scalability, one in five UK shoppers have watched or participated in a Livestream shopping event in the past 12 months and 86 per cent would like to see more retailers offering livestream shopping.
According to McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm, live commerce has evolved rapidly in China, taking less than five years to develop into an innovative sales channel with an estimated penetration of 10 per cent. The value of China’s live-commerce market grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 280 per cent between 2017 and 2020, to reach an estimated $171 billion in 2020, the company reports on its website.
“This growth spurt has been intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic, and Chinese sales are expected to reach $423 billion by 2022. The product categories most often showcased in live commerce are apparel and fashion, with a 36 per cent share, followed by beauty products and food, with roughly seven per cent each. Consumer electronics account for some five per cent, and furnishing and home decor for almost four per cent,” it said.
Elma Beganovich, a New York City-based digital marketing authority and considered to be one of the top influencers in the U.S. with over one million followers on social media, runs Amra and Elma digital agency with her sister Amra.
“Live streaming is very exciting. I think now and I’ve seen the way where companies like Amazon and YouTube and TikTok are investing (which started in China), they obviously understand the business behind it,” said Elma Beganovich. “Amazon Live has been investing significantly and YouTube just launched basically where content creators are selling their own things.
“I think it’s very powerful, for small businesses especially because you’re able to sell directly to your consumer. And that’s why influencers are just going to become more powerful because you have influencers, where before you had to be a TV personality, now there’s millions you can basically engage as a brand and then they go and they directly sell your products.
“So for clothing obviously you can showcase your different clothing, you can talk about the materials for example, the influencer can model the clothing. Your consumers are directly watching that, watching that any time of the day, and then they can just click below the screen, it shows up different pieces that you are selling, and they can just directly shop. So it makes it really, really easy for the consumer.
“For example, on Amazon, most people have an Amazon Prime account. So they just click and they directly buy. With businesses it’s right away, people are excited. They like obviously live. It’s entertainment coupled with shopping so it makes it great.”