Livestream Shopping: What Marketers Need To Know

Live-streamed content is captivating young audiences: More than 60% of 18- to 34-year-olds report that they regularly tune in to real-time video from online influencers, according to Statista. Retailers are adding their own content into the mix, with brands including Amazon and Alibaba launching live-stream shopping channels.



Alibaba-owned Taobao Live has dominated the market so far, selling more than $15.1 billion in gross merchandise volume in 2018. On Alibaba’s Singles’ Day event in 2019, Taobao Live raked in $30.8 billion. 

These platforms are ideal for fast-moving consumer goods (household products that are affordable and in high demand). As many brands are quickly realizing, live-stream shopping can be a powerful tool to connect with consumers. Here are some insights for marketers to consider as they experiment with live-stream shopping.

Understand how to increase product impressions

As with any platform, marketers need to consider how to best reach their target consumers and guide them through the purchasing process. Some brands have already developed highly effective livestreaming strategies. 

For example, Estee Lauder recruited a team of streamers from the top streamer list and hosted an all-day livestream shopping show on Singles’ Day. The company generated 500 million viewers and six million clicks to the store homepage within Taobao, and sold more than $28 million in merchandise. 


Find the right streamers


While marketers could easily look for streamers with the biggest audiences, there are certain streamers that are better at promoting certain products. Marketers should familiarize themselves with a streamer’s style and strengths. Cosmetic companies, for example, would do well with top Chinese fashion and beauty streamer Key Opinion Leaders(KOL), while a gaming equipment company should look to the top streamers in the video gaming space. 

The livestream show’s hosting budget, and the breakdown of a streamer’s followers (in terms of age, gender, purchase power and interests), should also be taken into consideration.


Plan for shorter timelines 


Marketers often compare live-stream shopping to social media influencer campaigns. While there are some similarities, one notable difference is the timeline. Live-stream shopping requires quick execution from brands and streamers. The entire process, starting when marketers reach out to streamers to when streamers promote the products, can be done in less than a week. 

Compared to the long-term approach popular with traditional influencer marketing, live-stream shopping is more like a sprint. The top streamer on Taobao Live, Jiaqi (Austin) Li, famously sold 15,000 lipsticks in just 15 minutes on a live-stream show.


Don’t neglect a long-term strategy


An individual streamer can only sell a product for so long. After it promotes a product once or twice, audience overlap will start to impact sales. If you want to host another live-stream show, it’s best to choose a new streamer to partner with.


It’s important brands remember that live-stream shopping is only one part of the media plan. Brands hoping to establish a strong brand image among consumers or meet other long-term goals will still need a complete media plan to gradually lead consumers down to the lower marketing funnel.

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