As an e-commerce business owner in Southeast Asia, you already know how important it is to keep up with the latest trends and technologies to remain competitive in today’s market. With the rise of online shopping, finding ways to stand out and provide customers with an exceptional shopping experience is more important than ever.
One of the latest trends in e-commerce is live selling, also known as live shopping or live streaming commerce. Live selling showcases products and interacts with customers in real-time through a live video stream. It’s a powerful tool for e-commerce companies looking to improve customer engagement, increase sales and revenue, and provide a more personalised shopping experience.
According to a survey by Livestream, more than 80% of consumers said they would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog. In addition, a report by Edge found that live streaming has become a popular tool for e-commerce platforms, resulting in a significant increase in gross market value and order value. For example, platforms in APAC saw a 306% boost in gross market value and a 115% increase in order value from live streaming alone. Countries like Vietnam and Thailand are leading the way in live stream adoption, with many digital consumers using live streams to make online purchases.
Live selling also appeals to a wide range of customers. However, it is said that in terms of demographics, the younger sets (“Generation Z” and “millennials”) are “first movers” and often make up the bulk of live-selling online consumers. However, the older generation, the “Gen X” and baby boomers, are now getting the hang of buying through live selling.
In the Philippines, individual live selling is very popular on Facebook. Apparel, including sportswear, beauty products, and household items, are often sold through live selling. Individual live sellers can often develop a loyal following, particularly if their products are of excellent quality.
This might not be unique to the Philippines, but live sellers have developed a marketing system to spur customers to purchase. The comment section of the Facebook Live page is often dominated by comments such as “mine” or “grab.” “Mine” means you’re reserving the product, and if no one “grabs” it, you can expect the item to be sold to you.
“Grab” means you pay a premium to get the item, even if somebody also posted a “mine” on the product. This competition or game-like element proved to be a good hook for Filipino customers.
This article will explore the basics of live selling and its benefits for e-commerce companies and their customers. We’ll also provide tips and best practices for implementing live selling in your e-commerce business, along with real-life examples of successful live selling campaigns. So, let’s dive in!
What is live selling?
Live selling is a relatively new phenomenon that’s taking the e-commerce industry by storm. It showcases products and interacts with customers in real-time through a live video stream. But what exactly does that mean? Let’s break it down.
Definition of Live Selling
Live selling is a form of e-commerce that allows companies to demonstrate their products in real time through a live video stream. This allows customers to see the product in action, ask questions, and interact with the seller in real time.
Explanation of how Live Selling works
Live selling typically occurs on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube, although some e-commerce platforms have also started offering live selling features.
During a live selling session, the seller showcases their products and demonstrates how they work while also answering questions from viewers in real-time.
Customers can then purchase directly from the live stream, often with a special discount or promotion offered exclusively for viewers.
Comparison of Live Selling to traditional online selling
Unlike traditional online selling, live selling offers a more immersive and interactive shopping experience.
Customers can see the product in action, ask questions, and receive immediate feedback from the seller. This can help build customer trust and credibility, increasing sales and customer loyalty.
Here’s a comparison table of Live Selling to traditional online selling:
Examples of successful Live Selling campaigns from e-commerce companies
There have been many successful Live Selling campaigns from e-commerce companies worldwide.
For example, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba launched its first live selling platform, Taobao Live, in 2016. Since then, the platform has become incredibly popular. With more than 1 billion product listings spread across 8 million sellers, there is high competition between merchants to get the attention of buyers. Merchants can choose between pay-for-performance or display marketing ads. Additionally, Taobao stated that they predict live-streaming on their platform will generate over 500 billion sales transactions.
Another example is the Korean e-commerce platform Coupang, which uses live selling to promote its products and engage with customers. The company reported that its live selling sessions resulted in a 20% increase in sales compared to traditional online selling methods.
Similarly, a Philippine brand that has successfully used live selling to promote its products is Colourette Cosmetics. The company is a homegrown cosmetics brand specialising in cruelty-free and vegan-friendly makeup products.
Colourette Cosmetics started using live selling in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns. The company saw live selling as a way to connect with its customers and continue to promote its products despite the restrictions on physical stores and events.
The company’s live selling sessions are on Facebook and Instagram and hosted by Colourette Cosmetics’ founder, Nina Ellaine Dizon. During the live selling sessions, Nina showcases the company’s products and provides makeup tutorials while answering viewers’ questions in real time.
The live selling sessions have been a huge success for Colourette Cosmetics, with some sessions attracting thousands of viewers and significantly increasing sales. The company has also built a strong community of loyal customers through its live selling efforts, with many viewers tuning in regularly to watch the sessions and purchase products.
Advantages of live selling for e-commerce companies and their customers
Live selling offers many benefits for both e-commerce companies and their customers. It provides companies with a new, engaging way to promote their products and increase sales. For customers, it offers a more immersive and personalised shopping experience, which can lead to increased satisfaction and loyalty.
According to a report by Coresight Research, live selling can also lead to higher conversion rates and average order values compared to traditional online selling methods. Here are some benefits of live selling.
- Navigating and scrutinising products
Live selling often reduces the need for customers to read or navigate product descriptions, product features, etc., as the live seller can do all these. Customers can get immediate feedback or inquire about the brand and other information.
The beauty of live selling is that customers (in a Facebook Live stream), for example, can also have a sense of “community” since they can discuss the products while the live selling is happening. This social element does not often happen in physical stores unless you’re out shopping with friends or family.
The audience also sees how the product or item looks in real-time. The audience sees a person looking at a product, not just a photo that might be filtered or edited. The shopping experience can feel more “authentic.” Live sellers can often demonstrate and explain the products in detail. A simple photo caption might not suffice for many buyers.
- Easy digital marketing
For marketing, medial social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram often allow live sellers to provide direct links to the live stream and are thus able to maximise their reach to attract more viewers and generate more sales. Product tagging is also allowed, achieving the same goal: customers can go directly to the live selling with a simple click of the link.
From a marketing perspective, live selling is less costly than a traditional advertisement. You might still need a huge boost from Facebook Ads, but the audience is already there if you have a substantial following and decide to sell via live selling.
- Effective video content for social media platforms
Live selling is technically video content. Fortunately for sellers, live video content is six times more effective when it comes to “reach” compared to any other social media post.
Live to sell, combined with digital marketing, has all the right “signals” or “points” social media platforms seek. Live selling is often more effective than traditional ad campaigns because social media platforms push this video content to as many potential customers as possible.
Live streams also present authenticity to products, and customers are likelier to buy from people they like. These live-selling videos have three times longer average view times than prerecorded videos. Industry reports said the longer a video (live selling or live stream) could keep someone engaged, the more likely the customers will buy.
- Building trust
Live selling can also build a lot of so-called “social proof.” Customers often see comments, “shares,” and “likes, ” which build trust. Live selling also creates a sense of urgency. Live sellers can also infuse a “limited-time offer” on products or products. This sense of urgency with a traditional social media post or advertisements often results in bigger sales conversions. Again, competition with other consumers often results in more sales.
Depending on the live seller, these videos are also entertaining, and often, consumers do not feel like products are being “pushed.” Buying becomes fun as opposed to a stressful or anxiety-provoking experience.
How Does Live Selling Enhances Online Shopping?
Live selling is more than just a trend; it is a tool that can significantly enhance the online shopping experience for customers. This section will explore how live selling can improve customer engagement and trust, increase sales and revenue, and improve customer satisfaction.
Improved Customer Engagement and Trust
Building a personal connection with customers is key to building trust and loyalty. Live selling provides a unique opportunity for e-commerce companies to create a personal connection with their customers in real time. By interacting with customers during live selling sessions, companies can demonstrate their products, provide advice, and answer questions, which helps build trust and establish relationships.
According to a study by Livestream, 87% of customers who watch live streams are likelier to purchase a product. This highlights the importance of building a personal connection with customers through live selling.
To increase customer engagement during live selling, e-commerce companies should focus on creating a sense of community and interaction. This can be done by encouraging customers to ask questions, responding to real-time comments, and creating interactive polls and quizzes.
Increased Sales and Revenue
Live selling can have a significant impact on sales conversion rates. According to a report by McKinsey, live selling can increase sales conversion rates by up to 30%.
Creating a sense of urgency and scarcity during live selling can also help to increase sales. Limited-time offers and exclusive deals can create a sense of urgency and encourage customers to purchase.
To maximise revenue during live selling, e-commerce companies should offer various products, highlight each product’s benefits and features, and provide exclusive deals and discounts.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Live selling can also improve customer satisfaction by providing a better shopping experience. By interacting with customers in real-time, e-commerce companies can provide personalised recommendations, answer questions, and address concerns, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
Live interaction with customers also allows e-commerce companies to receive instant feedback on their products, services, and overall shopping experience, which can help to improve customer satisfaction in the long run.
To ensure customer satisfaction during live selling, e-commerce companies should provide clear and accurate product descriptions, offer a seamless checkout experience, and provide excellent customer service.
How to Implement Live Selling in E-commerce?
Live selling can revolutionise how e-commerce companies sell their products. But to reap the benefits of live selling, it’s important to have a well-planned and executed strategy. Here are the steps to successfully implement live selling in your e-commerce business:
Choosing the Right Platform for Live Selling
Before diving into live selling, choosing the right platform that suits your business needs is important. Various platforms are available for live selling, including social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok and Instagram, as well as specialised live selling platforms like LiveStream and ShopShops. When selecting a platform, consider factors such as the target audience, the type of product being sold, and the budget for the campaign.
To break it down, here are the steps to choosing the right platform for Live selling:
- Research and compare different live selling platforms before choosing one that suits your business needs
- Consider the audience you’re targeting and the type of product you’re selling when selecting a platform
- Look for a platform that allows you to track metrics such as engagement rates and conversion rates easily
Planning and Executing a Successful Live Selling Campaign
Planning is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign, and live selling is no exception. Before starting a live selling campaign, it’s important to define your goals, identify your target audience, and plan out the content and logistics of the campaign. A well-executed live selling campaign should include engaging hosts, product demos, special offers, and interactive Q&A sessions with viewers.
To break it down, here are the steps to planning and executing a successful Live Selling Campaign:
- Define your goals and identify your target audience before planning your campaign.
- Plan out the content and logistics of the campaign, including the products you’ll be showcasing, the length of the live stream, and the host or influencer you’ll be using.
- Use engaging hosts, product demos, special offers, and interactive Q&A sessions to keep viewers engaged and interested.
Best Practices for Live Selling in E-commerce
To create engaging and effective live-selling content, it’s important to follow best practices. These include selecting the right host or influencer, appealingly showcasing your products, creating a sense of urgency and scarcity, and engaging with viewers through Q&A sessions and giveaways. It’s also important to measure the success of your live selling campaigns through metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated.
To break it down, here are some of the best practices for going live selling:
- Choose a host or influencer who has a strong connection with your target audience and is knowledgeable about your products
- Appealingly showcase your products by using high-quality visuals and demonstrations
- Create a sense of urgency and scarcity by offering limited-time deals and emphasising the exclusivity of the live selling experience.
- Engage with viewers through Q&A sessions and giveaways to build a sense of community and loyalty.
- Measure the success of your live selling campaigns by tracking metrics such as engagement rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated. Use this data to optimise your future campaigns.
Following these pointers, you can implement successful live selling campaigns that increase sales, build customer relationships, and improve customer satisfaction.
Implementing live selling in your e-commerce business may seem daunting initially. Still, with the right planning, execution, and best practices, it can be a powerful tool for increasing sales, building customer relationships, and improving customer satisfaction.
Live selling has proven an effective marketing strategy for many e-commerce companies, especially in Southeast Asia. Let’s look at some case studies of successful live-selling campaigns from renowned brands and how they did it.
Popular Live Selling Case Studies from Southeast Asia Market
Let’s look at some case studies of successful live-selling campaigns from renowned brands and how they did it.
Examples of Successful Live Selling Campaigns
Shopee is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in Southeast Asia, with a strong presence in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. Shopee’s live selling campaigns, known as Shopee Live, have been extremely successful in engaging customers and driving sales.
During their 12.12 Birthday Sale in 2022, Shopee Live generated over 2 billion views across the region, and their in-app live-streaming feature contributed to 25% of total orders during the sale. Shopee wrapped up the year-end shopping season with new local sellers achieving a 12 times uplift in sales compared to an average day. Shoppers saved more through the best deals with brands and sellers, with over 23 million vouchers claimed on 12 December.
Lazada is another major e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia, with a presence in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. Lazada’s live selling campaigns, called LazLive, have also been highly successful in engaging customers and boosting sales.
During their 11.11 Shopping Festival in 2022, LazLive generated over 1.5 billion views and contributed to 30% of total orders during the sale.
Bonus: Lessons Learned from these Case Studies
Here are some of the important takeaways for live selling from successful e-commerce brands:
- Building a Strong Online Community – Shopee and Lazada have built a strong online community by engaging with their customers and creating a sense of community through their live selling campaigns. They use live selling to connect with their customers, build trust, and establish a personal connection.
- Providing Exclusive Offers and Discounts – Another common strategy used by both Shopee and Lazada is to provide exclusive offers and discounts during their live selling campaigns. This creates a sense of urgency and scarcity among customers, encouraging them to purchase.
- Creating Engaging Content – Creating engaging and entertaining content is crucial for the success of a live selling campaign. Both Shopee and Lazada use a variety of tactics to keep their audience engaged, such as interactive games, celebrity appearances, and product demonstrations.
- Leveraging Influencers – Both e-commerce platforms also leverage the power of influencers to promote their live selling campaigns. They collaborate with influencers with a large following and a strong presence on social media to reach a wider audience and increase the reach of their campaigns.
Challenges and Solutions in Live Selling
Live selling is a relatively new concept, and as with any new idea, it comes with its own set of challenges.
In this section, we’ll discuss some common challenges e-commerce companies face during live selling and the solutions for overcoming them.
Common challenges faced by e-commerce companies during live selling
- Technical difficulties: One of the most significant challenges of live selling is the technical aspect of it. It requires a stable internet connection, a good-quality camera, and other equipment. Technical issues like poor internet connectivity or camera malfunction can hamper the quality of the stream and impact the customer’s viewing experience.
- Lack of engagement from customers: Even though live selling is a more engaging and interactive way of shopping, there can be times when customers might lose interest during the stream. This could be because of poor content, unattractive deals, or even poor presentation skills of the host.
- Low sales conversion rates: The ultimate goal of live selling is to generate revenue. However, there might be instances when the sales conversion rate during live selling might be lower than expected. This could be because of various factors, such as unattractive deals, poor presentation skills, or even a lack of urgency.
Solutions for overcoming these challenges
- Technical solutions for live selling: To avoid technical difficulties, e-commerce companies can invest in high-quality equipment and software to handle live streaming. They can also conduct a technical run-through to ensure everything is in order before going live.
- Tips for increasing customer engagement: E-commerce companies can increase customer engagement by providing:
- Interactive content
- Exclusive deals and giveaways during the stream
- Active engagement: You can also engage with your customers by responding to comments and addressing their concerns during the stream.
- Strategies for improving sales conversion rates: To improve sales conversion rates, e-commerce companies can offer:
- Time-limited deals or exclusive discounts create a sense of urgency.
- You can also improve your presentation skills by having well-trained hosts who can effectively showcase your products and communicate better with your audience.
In conclusion, live selling has revolutionised how e-commerce companies connect with their customers, increase sales, and enhance customer satisfaction. By leveraging the power of live video, e-commerce businesses in Southeast Asia have a unique opportunity to stand out from the competition and grow their online sales.
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Find a platform. Finding a platform is very important when it comes to live selling. Although there are many popular platforms, e-commerce companies need to choose the platform that will have the most potential to zoom in on the target audience.
For instance, live-selling fashion wear for teens might be more effective if you do the live-selling via Instagram or TikTok. The younger set is also inclined to be on Twitch.
If you have a wide variety of products, using Facebook Live might be the best platform for you. There are a lot of Facebook groups that you can target, and as mentioned, Facebook Ads can boost your social media presence.
Nothing is stopping an e-commerce company from using multiple platforms, and the key is finding which will work for you and your brand.
Practice your live selling. After you’ve selected your platform, the next step is to be able to hone your live selling through practice. Practice is applicable for big e-commerce companies and individual sellers since both will use a person in front of the camera to do the sales pitch. You can practice ahead of time, use visual cues, teleprompters, cue cards, an assistant, etc. to make the live-selling more engaging and more informative for your audience. Prepare and organize your merchandise ahead of time.
Many individual sellers often do not need specialized applications or software tools when they do live selling, as the process is more or less clear-cut: A consumer buys an item, communicates with the seller via personal messaging, agrees on the payment method, and shipping arrangements, etc. However, e-commerce retailers can also use tools to automate the whole process — from selling, invoicing, mobile access, checkout, payment, shipping, etc.
Test your connection. There is nothing more frustrating than being disconnected from the Web while conducting a live sale. This might no longer be a problem in many markets or countries, but losing an internet connection can still be an issue. Having a reliable Internet connection (preferably a fiber connection) is key. However, having a mobile access backup, just in case, might also be needed.
Make it fun, fast, and exciting. Online consumers do not have the time nor the patience to sit through a dull live-selling session, so keeping the live selling fun and fast-paced can be advantageous. Remember that your audience can leave at any time and are not compelled to stay on the live stream, so having someone who can make the live-selling interesting and fast can be very helpful. A live seller that can engage with online customers is also preferred, although this can be tricky.
Now here’s an important nugget of information: It is said that a live selling show for 10 minutes to 30 minutes is very effective. However, this is not set in stone, and some of the bigger companies often stream for an hour or more. It would depend on your audience, so the key is identifying what most of your customers want.
Have patience. Like most business tools, building a substantial audience via live selling is a gradual process, and thus, patience is also the key.
Know your audience, try to find out their preferences, create promos and “limited offer” schemes, interact, have live-selling constantly, etc., and have the patience to wait for results.