Live Commerce: The Future of Online Shopping
Today, we can hardly imagine our life without eCommerce. The world has recognized its ease and convenience and it is clear that eCommerce is here to stay. We love shopping from the comfort of our homes with no time wasted on traveling or walking around huge malls.
The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic turned convenience into a necessity. The quarantine restrictions forced people to spend most of their time home with many of their usual activities now online – working, learning, socializing, and, of course, shopping. The statistics show a steady growth of online sales noting that in 2020, many people started buying things online that they used to buy in brick-and-mortar stores before.
For all its convenience and speed, eCommerce lacks hugely in engagement and personalized experience. They may be less relevant when you buy something like, for example, motor oil, but what about clothes? Accessories? Jewelry? This is where you want to know much more than is available from the catalog. How will the fabric drape? Will this scarf go well together with that top? If only there was a shopping assistant to answer all these questions.
Fortunately, online shopping is developing in leaps and bounds, and the way to bring that personalization and the feeling of presence to an E-Commerce platform has been found. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome Live Commerce!
What is Live Commerce?
Live Commerce is fairly young as compared to the more traditional shopping formats. Several years ago it emerged in the East and was especially popular among Chinese consumers and since then has advanced to the rest of the world including North America. In 2019, for example, Amazon launched Amazon Live – its own Live Commerce platform. Amazon Live is a modern, digital version of shopping channels, like QVC popular in North America. But unlike televised shopping channels, Amazon Live –as will all live commerce platforms enjoys the added bonus of being much more personal, interactive, and immediate. As you can guess from the name, Live Commerce combines live streaming with commerce. This format allows customers to interact with hosts and purchase items during live streaming sessions.
Usually, live streams showcase the products in a certain way. They may show hosts wearing clothes and accessories, demonstrate how products work, unbox products, perform reviews. The actual content depends on the specifics of the business and the goals of the live stream.
During the live streaming session, viewers can ask questions and get answers in real-time, for example, in a chat. In this respect, watching a live stream becomes very close to visiting an actual store – you can chat to store personnel immediately getting the information you need. You can ask to describe the product in more detail or bring it closer to the camera – all in real-time.
The key thing is that, during the entire live stream, you have the possibility of making a purchase immediately, with a single click.
Benefits of Live Commerce
The main benefit of sales via a streaming platform is, as we already noted, higher customer engagement. During live streams, especially with enticing content, you feel like you are “almost there”. On the one hand, you are sitting on your favorite couch in your comfy pj’s, but on the other hand, you are in a store where you see a product demonstration especially for you in real-time and can have an actual conversation with staff. It’s difficult not to become engaged in the sale. You no longer need to send a request or file a ticket when you need more information – you just ask a question and get the answer immediately. This sense of presence increases the intent to purchase and the likelihood of a completed sale.
Higher engagement leads to higher conversion rates. The hosts may offer to the viewers who stay with them long enough some exclusive conditions, an early invitation to product launches, discount vouchers, or flash sales to encourage purchases. Such offers create the sense of urgency that pushes the viewer to buy ever stronger.
Another benefit that Live Commerce brings businesses is the opportunity to get new customers. Of course, this requires carefully planned and organized media campaigns announcing the upcoming live streaming event and mentioning the special conditions for viewers. Seeing such announcements, people will recognize real benefits and join the live event.
Challenges of Live Commerce
Live Commerce faces the same challenges that everybody else does when doing a live performance. During the Covid-19 pandemic, when many usual activities went online, we can find whole collections of live fails.
For example, a product that you have tested inside and out suddenly malfunctions during a live event. There is no uniform solution for this, but, depending on the nature of the product, the recommended way out may be to have replacements ready to continue the presentation.
Another challenge is communication going berserk. You may lose the video or audio, or both, your internet connection may be interrupted, your viewers may be unable to join. These things are hard to predict or prevent, but the general recommendation is to use the reputed communication software and test it thoroughly.
Of course, during live streaming events, there is also the issue of user comments that may be offensive or abusive. This issue is usually resolved through moderation.
Connecting buyers and sellers with QuickBlox
As noted above, the choice of the communication platform for your Live Commerce events can be critical. Poor communication quality is likely to make viewers quit the show resulting in lost sales opportunities. In this respect, QuickBlox should be considered as an optimal solution allowing you to integrate the communication feature in your eCommerce platform to create a favorable shopping experience.
With QuickBlox, you are getting a highly customizable solution allowing you to create branded chat and video calling functionality that you can add to your web or mobile eCommerce app. QuickBlox offers a set of APIs and SDKs where you can choose the ones that fit your purpose.
When you enhance your eCommerce platform with QuickBlox video and audio calling, you will enjoy steady and secure communication over protected channels with data encryption. Chat moderation is also available.
If you are looking for a way to implement live streaming in your eCommerce solutions to leverage the broad Live Commerce opportunities, contact us for a detailed consultation and demo. You will be amazed by how Live Commerce based on a trusted chat and video calling solution can improve the customer shopping experience and your online sales.