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  • Kunal Puri

On your marks, get set, buy: the future of live shopping!

Popular in Eastern European markets, live shopping (more commonly known as Livestream shopping) is becoming a reality in Europe. According to Forrester Research, 59% of European consumers are interested in live shopping and early adopters of the retailer report a conversion rate of up to 30%, 10 times higher than traditional online shopping.

The ability to interact in real-time with product experts, influencers and other consumers/internet users offers unparalleled value. And it's proving to be a truly entertaining and trustworthy way to discover and purchase new products.

The benefits of live shopping

Live shopping leverages the best of both digital and physical shopping

Consumers can connect from anywhere in the world to watch live or on-demand live streams. Visitors can chat with other shoppers, ask questions, create wishlists and specific baskets, and finally complete transactions with a single click. Many live shopping streams also add gamification elements to their events, such as games to be won, live polls, quizzes and the opportunity to earn loyalty points. It is this engaging approach that attracts customers and persuades them to return to a specific retailer to shop.

Livestreaming generates more trust than online reviews

Video demonstrations allow customers to experience products in a different way: they are able to ask specific questions to product experts and can chat in real-time with consumers. But the choice of presenter is as important as the products presented: European shoppers strongly prefer live content from presenters they like and can relate to.

Livestreaming enhances site content

Livestreams can be integrated into an entire online shop. With the right programming interfaces, it is even possible to create engagement with certain star products, so that they appear in an image gallery or on product detail pages. Short clips are also excellent content.

Social platforms vs live streaming

Popular social platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram for Business each offer live shopping features. While social platforms are a great way to test this type of functionality, they have several limitations. For example, Instagram only allows a maximum of 30 star products per feed. Third-party platforms do not integrate with customer accounts, wishlists, personalisation engines, loyalty programmes and other features of an online shop - apart from the purchase buttons. Furthermore, in many cases, the streaming platforms take a commission in the process.

In order to fully optimise a live shopping experience, companies can consider adding a live streaming platform to their e-commerce or mobile application. Research from Arvato found that 70% of live shopping events take place on brand and retailer websites, rather than on a social platform. The live streaming capability, integrated with an online shop, allows going beyond simple transactions. For example:

  • Connect participants with their customer accounts to offer loyalty discounts or points for engagement.

  • Offer personalised cross-selling based on purchase and browsing history.

  • Use geolocation to display the correct currency, pricing and shipping details for each visitor.

  • Display real-time inventory and units remaining in stock during flash sales.

  • Add interactive features such as polls, games to win and other fun experiences.

  • Enable addition to wishlists or shopping carts for later payment or via another device.

  • In addition to live streaming features, using the live streaming capability can help track important key performance indicators such as views, viewing time, segmented customer engagement, conversion rates and delayed conversions.

Tips for successful live shopping programmes

Choosing the right time for events

It's all about timing, whether it's the time of day or the broadcast's length. European consumers are spread over several time zones. It is, therefore, necessary to consider the organisation of localised events with local influencers or hosts to reach the prime time in each region. And pay attention to the duration of the stream. Forrester's survey indicates that over 50% of consumers do not expect to spend more than 10 minutes streaming a live shopping stream, and 23% no more than 5 minutes.

Choosing the right products

In general, European live shoppers prefer to buy electronics, fashion and cosmetics. Products with live demonstrations, live apps and tutorials are prime candidates.

Choosing the right host(s)

As mentioned earlier, European buyers want friendly and engaging hosts. The good news is that there is no need to attract an influencer or a famous face. We can consider using someone from the company (shop staff, merchandisers, customer service experts) or even their own customers.

Promoting events

It is necessary to evangelise the events through social networks, homepage banners, email and SMS marketing before the event, and invite visitors live with pop-ups available on the website.

Betting on exclusivity

Internet users in all European countries surveyed say they want to save time and benefit from exclusive offers. It is therefore imperative to reward their time and attention with exclusive offers, time-limited offers or loyalty rewards for their participation.

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