Livestream shopping: the future of online shopping?

From "Douglas Live" to "Tchibo Live", livestream shopping is on the up. So, what opportunities does this format offer, and how can you convert digital experiences into sales? Our story reveals the answers to these questions and more.

E-commerce trend: Livestream shopping
Image: © ryanking999 / Adobe Stock

How does livestream shopping work?

Shopping like the Chinese do is the flavor of the month for more and more people in Germany and the USA, and this trend is called livestream shopping. Real-time videos allow consumers to watch this new version of online shopping video shows where staff or invited celebrities present products in front of the camera. In other words, a similar principle to teleshopping, only using a different medium. Unlike teleshopping on your TV, when you shop via livestream, you can order the products from your smartphone with just a few taps on the screen.

The particular advantages of livestream shopping

Livestream shopping is the perfect opportunity for brands to offer users a digital shopping experience that will convince them to buy their products – especially during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. While lockdowns are driving the digital shift, with shopping in store being replaced with e-commerce, many consumers miss the atmosphere, interaction, and human elements of a traditional shopping trip.

Livestreaming is one way of incorporating these aspects into the digital world, because it puts customers center stage and enables them to interact with each other or the brand whose stream they are following whenever they want. To put it another way, online shopping no longer means sitting all alone in front of a screen and clicking through digital catalogs. Instead, you get a shopping experience with a community effect, which is fun – and which also boosts conversion rates.

Both brands and users also benefit because:

  • Livestream shopping is extremely convenient for potential and existing customers, since all they need is their smartphone. This means that users can access the livestreams quickly and easily, from almost anywhere.
  • Livestream shopping enables companies to optimize the full customer journey, from discovering products to clicking on the “Buy” button.

Livestream shopping in practice – China as a pioneer

While many parts of the world are still getting to grips with livestream shopping, it’s been common practice in China for some time now. According to Deloitte Global TMT Predictions, the industry there achieved sales of 4.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 alone. And Chinese digital corporation Alibaba already operates a corresponding livestreaming format called “Taobao Live”.

But the West is also catching up when it comes to livestream shopping. American e-commerce giant Amazon dipped its toe in the water in 2019 with “Amazon Live”, starting with new opportunities to shop via fitness, makeup, and cooking shows, and Facebook recently launched livestream shopping tools, which are already being used by major brands such as L’Oreal and Estee Lauder.


Livestream shopping in Germany

Tchibo and Douglas are the first German brands to try out the new shopping trend. Staff and invited guests will promote the brands’ latest product lines and give tutorials in weekly livestreams, with exclusive deals adding the finishing touch to the shopping experience.

The interaction and entertainment that Douglas and Tchibo offer on their streams play an important role in prompting the decision to purchase, particularly for young target groups. This creates huge potential for brands that want to reach Generation Z.


Livestream shopping as enhanced customer service

Livestream shopping is the ideal way to entertain customers and strengthen their loyalty and retention. Brands can also put this trend into practice in another way: offering one-to-one consultations via video chat adds a personal note to the interaction between brand and customers, helping to win over new customers and ensuring that existing ones stay loyal to the brand.

Offering the shopping experience of the future right here in the present

Livestream shopping takes traditional online shopping to a whole new level by adding a human element. Is livestreaming the future of e-commerce? Maybe. But one thing is certain: right now – as we live through lockdown and the coronavirus crisis – livestream selling presents a valuable opportunity for brands to boost their sales.

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