Live Shopping is challenging brands on Social Media

Written by Ioana Irimescu

June 13, 2022

Live Shopping in Europe is just starting. Accelerated by the pandemic, current social climate, and forecasted to make up 20% of e-commerce by 2026, Live Shopping offers an authentic, personalized, relevant in real-time experience. Live Shopping allows consumers to interact with brands and shop from the comfort of their own homes without leaving the event. It provides the in-store experience at home, the desired product at the tap of a fingertip, creating instant gratification, time sensitivity, and boosting connection with the brand.  

Starting in China and continuing in the United States, the Live Shopping trend in Europe looks promising and can only move forward, with 86% of social media consumers purchasing products via Livestream in Europe. Moreover, 82% of social media users who bought a product from Livestream Shopping on social media find it convenient to shop during Livestream shopping events and 70% prefer Livestream shopping to other types of social media shopping. Gen-Z and Millennials lead the trend, with 40% of TikTok GenZ users buying a product from a Live Shopping event, but other generations are catching up too.  

As Live Shopping is still in the early stages of development and competition is limited, it represents an opportunity for brands to set the tone and benefit from higher exposure, reach and sales, as early adopters within social media platforms receive rewards easier and faster.  

What is Live Shopping? 

Live Shopping is part of the #socialcommerce movement and refers to purchasing a product from a Livestream video hosted on social media or Livestream platform. How does it work? Quite simple. The brand launches a Livestream or Live Shopping Event on a social media platform and showcases a product that customers can buy in real-time by clicking a reaction button without leaving the event. 

In terms of platforms, Instagram and TikTok are leading the way amongst the younger generation, followed by YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Live, and live streaming platforms. While both platforms require a business account to host a Livestream and Shopping event, on Instagram the shop and checkout option must be set up while TikTok requires the brand to have at least 1000 followers. The brand must link the online Livestream with the e-commerce store or desired product and pin the link or shoppable button to the screen to be available for the consumer during the event. The average Livestream duration is 30 minutes to 1 hour, while the frequency should be decided according to the audience’s preferences. As a guide, it is recommended to post at least once per month or once per week on Instagram, and more often on TikTok, as TikTok brands are hosting 2-3 live videos a day. 

Live Shopping can be implemented from 2 perspectives. From the Brand Perspective, the brand hosts Livestream on social media platforms by either having a brand representative as a host or collaborating with influencers. From the Influencer Perspective, the influencer hosts the Live Shopping event by recommending, trying, testing, or mentioning the brand and the product.  

How it can help Your Brand? 

Live Shopping offers 5 main benefits and opportunities for brands.

1. Increase Conversion & Sales. Research shows that the conversion rate during live shopping is 39% and that conversions via Livestreams are 10 times higher than traditional e-commerce.  

2. Drive brand awareness, reach & engagement. The authentic, real-time interaction with the brand drives brand reach and deepens the emotional connection with the audience and community, generating positive word of mouth. It allows the brand to add human elements into play and build that sense of community, making the audience and customer feel valued and important, as the brand brings a personalized in-store like experience to them at their own convenience, thus boosting customer satisfaction. Moreover, partnering with an influencer doubles brand exposure, as the influencers will notify and redirect their followers to the Live Shopping Event done in partnership with the brand, thus boosting brand reach, traffic, and awareness, as it enables the brand to be discovered by other users and make a positive impression on the spot. According to McKinsey, Live Shopping Events increase engagement by 20%.  

3. Generate customer insights. It offers the opportunity to ask and receive real-time and genuine feedback from the audience about their taste, product, or brand impression and hold a conversation with them on this topic. Moreover, customers can also ask questions, thus allowing the brand to understand their desires, needs, or concerns. Then brands can use the insights gained for future product development, events, and marketing campaigns and address users’ issues in a real-time manner, therefore boosting brand connection and image 

4. Boost shopping decision-making. Being influenced by genuine brand interaction, new information about the product, influencers’ reviews, limited-time offers, and comments of the audience while being driven by peer pressure and the fear of missing out pushes the customer to engage in impulsive buying and purchase the product on the spot or after the event.  

5. Low Production Cost. As no additional equipment or extended experience is needed to host a Live Shopping Event on social media, the brand does not have to cover additional costs. The focus on mobile devices and smartphones is extremely convenient for both brands and users, and authentic and genuine content drives.  

What are the Trending Content Ideas? 

Most categories promoted in Live Shopping events are apparel and fashion (36%), beauty, products & food (7% each), electronics (5%), and home décor (4%) 

The most popular content amongst Live Shopping Events and Livestreams are tutorials, product reviews, interviews, behind-the-scenes, product launches, Q&A, and mini-series.  

Tutorials showcasing how to use a product while sharing information, tips, and genuine love for the product and the brand educate and inspire viewers. Product Reviews featuring trying and testing a product while offering genuine feedback and recommendations, especially when delivered by an influencer, can boost brand interest, trust, and emotional connection, drive positive word of mouth, and generate actionable insights for product development.  

Interviews held with an influencer, key opinion leader, expert, or brand ambassador from the relevant segment and target audience of the brand provide educational, genuine, and relatable content and information for the consumer and audience, thus driving trust, traffic, and awareness. Behind the Scenes videos such as showing how the product is made and packaged and the inside of a news story, product, and campaign build brand awareness, trust, and emotional connection, allowing the brand to be seen as transparent and reliable.

How brands have been using Live Shopping?  

Across Europe and the United States, brands have been leveraging the new social commerce tool to their advantage, hosting Livestream Shopping events across the brand website, social media, and Livestream platforms.  

Website. Gucci was the first luxury brand to launch “aLive”, a real-time Livestream service center that enabled the brand to offer clienteling services online, allowing brand customers to interact, chat, and shop with client advisors in real-time, bringing the store experience to the client’s home at their own convenience. In the US, Nordstrom launched a live shopping channel hosting live shopping events on different themes, including fall trends, spring beauty trends, and occasion dressing, offering styling tips, product recommendations, educational content, and the opportunity to shop directly on the platform without leaving the Livestream event. Aldo launched a live shopping event in collaboration with 2 influencers, celebrity stylists Mimi Cuttrell and TikTok Influencer Nate Wyatt who browsed the new collection and highlighted favorite products and fashion tips, generating an engagement rate of 308%. Moreover, Monki, part of the H&M Group, debuted Livestream shopping on the website. In Europe and France, supermarket Carrefour hosted a Livestream during the Wine Fair to promote products related to the Euro Cup 2021.  

Social Media. Lancome hosted 40 minutes Live Shopping Event on Instagram featuring a collaboration with 2 Macro-Influencers who shared personal stories and tips for using skin regenerating products. Sephora and Lancome launched a Livestream event on Facebook in partnership with 2 influencers: Star Influencer The Doll Beauty (2.9M followers), and Macro Influencer Richaard(228K followers). JCPenny launched a Livestream on Youtube in collaboration with influencer Aimee Huebener, hosting a last-minute holiday shopping haul.  

Livestream Platforms. Makeup brand NYX hosted a Livestream Shopping event on the platform Thriller featuring 3 celebrity star influencers from the 1990s and 2000s, Lance Bass, Brandy, and Jojo, who created naughty looks for the era using products from NYX Fall 2021 Collection. The event was designed for the GenZ and Millennial demographic who had an affinity with the 90s trends, and the participants were able to shop by clicking the “buy now” button featured in the Livestream. Coffee and tea-maker brand Quivr hosted Livestream events on Instagram, TikTok, and Amazon Live.

How you can implement Live Shopping for your brand?

Just start. Firstly, it is important to define the brand objectives and target audience, as it will allow the brand to decide what category or product to promote in the Livestream. Secondly, plan and develop the content for the event such as storyline, host, script, and type of content. For instance, you can launch a new product and collaborate with influencers who try, test, and review the product together sharing information and tips. Another idea would be to host a mini-series of Livestreams focusing on different products from the same product line. Giveaways, limited offers, and discount codes are a few tactics you could also implement during the Livestream to keep the consumer engaged and drive purchase. Lastly, track performance and analyze your Live Shopping streams to test and understand what Livestream strategy and content your audience enjoys the best, and thus, it’s more suitable for your brand.  

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