The Rise of Live-Commerce in China: Lessons for Western Ecommerce merchants

Live video commerce or "livestreaming commerce" is a new ecommerce trend in China that is changing the way people shop online.

It is an interactive and engaging way of shopping where merchants and their influencers showcase their products live to audiences who can participate by commenting, shopping and asking questions in real time. Many consumers also use it to livestream their own shopping experience.

What are the benefits?

The trend has many benefits for both buyers and sellers. Companies in China using it regularly report conversion rates approaching 30 percent, up to ten times higher than in conventional ecommerce. Plus it's becoming a great opportunity to improve brand appeal, with some companies reporting their share of younger audiences increase by up to 20 percent.

Welcome to the new ecommerce revolution?

The livestreaming commerce market in China has grown exponentially over the last few years at a compound annual growth rate of more than 280% between 2017 and 2020, to reach an estimated $171 billion in 2020. This growth has only been intensified by the pandemic, and Chinese sales are expected to reach $423 billion by the end of 2022.

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Sites like Alibaba, Taobao, Tmall, and are now offering live video streaming shopping sessions on a regular basis. In 2020, the first 30 minutes of Alibaba’s Singles’ Day pre-sales campaign on Taobao Live generated an impressive $7.5 billion in total transaction value. Considering China’s experience with this trend, analysts forecast that live-commerce-initiated sales could account for as much as 10 to 20 percent of all e-commerce by 2026.

So what does it all mean for Western ecommerce merchants?

Many ecommerce merchants in the US and in the West are just starting to explore this medium for their own businesses and see it as a future opportunity as well.

However, there are some differences between the Chinese market and the Western markets that need to be taken into account before jumping into this trend. Here are some lessons from the Chinese live video commerce market on how to start your own video livestreaming ecommerce strategy if you haven't already:

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  1. Live video commerce is not only about live-streaming products and services, it also includes live-streaming events, live customer service chat, and so on. It’s better to provide a variety of content types to attract more viewers, not just product demos.
  2. Rely on the technology of one social-media channel (such as TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook) or marketplace (such as Amazon Live, Taobao, or Tmall).
  3. The success of livestreaming ecommerce depends on the quality of the video stream, the connection speed, and the size of the screen shown on the video player or mobile phone screen.
  4. The success of your sessions also depends on how well you can interact with customers through real-time online selling, promotions, games, events, shows etc.
  5. Follow up with those who become customers and highly engaged viewers through asynchronous video messages post livestreaming sessions. You can now record once and use AI tools like Maverick to create and send personalized videos at scale where you call each customer by name. This allows you to keep the video experience with your fans and customers alive even after a live session. The setup is quick and very cost effective. The more personal the video the better. More information and demos here:
Want to see Maverick in action? Tell us your name and we will send you an AI generated personalized video.
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