Shoppertainment originated in China and it has now started to have an impact across Europe. As the name suggests, it’s a new and entertaining way for brands to successfully engage with the growing online shopping community.
Brands should prepare for the online shopping phenomenon of livestreaming
How entertaining should Livestreaming for eCommerce be? As entertaining as possible according to the growth seen by Twitch, the video livestreaming service operated by Amazon, whose viewers consumed 18.6 billion hours of streamed video content in 2020.
Livestreaming has its origins in China where the market size was predicted to reach 16.3 billion US dollars in 2020 with 524 million users, a number that represents 40% of the total population and equates to 62% of internet users. Following its success in China, livestreaming is growing in popularity throughout Europe and communities of loyal followers are increasing.
Now is an excellent time for brands to consider entry into livestreaming as the younger generation of shoppers (especially 16-34 year olds, predominantly male) are embracing it, and early adopter brands will definitely gain significant advantage over their competitors.
Shoppertainment – what is it exactly?
A growing part of the connected shopper experience, Shoppertainment is a new online shopping format that is becoming increasingly popular in Europe, where 70% of consumers surveyed expressed a strong interest. At present, low cost electronics, fashion and cosmetics are widely promoted via livestreaming, but we are also seeing slow moving consumer goods realising the opportunity it presents, such as consumer technology, luxury goods and the automotive market. Shoppertainment embraces pictures, videos, interactive games and eCommerce platforms to add an engaging feel-good factor to online shopping.
These are the four main forms of Shoppertainment:
- Livestreaming on eCommerce platforms
- Livestreaming on social media
- Product content posted by influencers on social media
- Interactive gaming features
By far the most exciting and productive in terms of potential and delivery is livestreaming on eCommerce platforms, which incorporates social, entertainment and shopping elements into a real-time engagement with consumers, no matter where they are in the physical world. A blog article written by eBusiness Institute in 2019 discussed aspects of livestreaming, then established in China. We predicted that it would be heading for Europe and that time has now arrived.
Livestreaming works by employing a host to introduce and showcase products in an engaging and interactive way and allowing purchases to be made without having to leave the live session. It also has a strong presence and following throughout gaming communities, and the top livestream gaming platform is Twitch. Game streamers livestream themselves playing video games for followers to watch, engaging their viewers with entertaining gameplay and commentary, as well as responding live to viewers’ chat messages. Successful streamers create a sense of community among their fan base.
Livestreaming is unscripted and live, it’s an authentic and personal way for a host to promote products and ideas to a wide audience or community. It’s a powerful way to drive impulse purchases by making it as easy as possible to click online and complete the transaction.
The road to successful livestreaming – tips for brands
There are few real rules to be aware of when livestreaming, but the following guidelines are sensible steps towards creating a compelling and effective platform.
- The main key to success is to build trust. Without trust there isn’t a sale. Trust in the product and retailer, and just as importantly, trust in the person promoting it. This is why the trend is to employ a local, respected expert in the product field as the host, rather than a personality or actor who will need some lines to learn. Having said that, and depending on the product being promoted, the younger generation of 16-24 year olds do react positively to certain celebrities. Real recommendations from trusted sources and peers will go a long way towards product sales success.
- Keep it short. 10 minutes maximum is an ideal span to deliver a compelling and informative sales session, which must include details on price, delivery times and the returns policy.
- Keep it clear. Have an easy to understand product demonstration that gives enough information to satisfy the enquiring minds of the consumers.
- Use a likeable, local expert as the trusted host to deliver the product demonstration. This is the chance to get any concerns raised out of the way. The host must be confident and know all there is to know about the product and the sequence of delivery and returns, because they will have to confidently answer any questions and they won’t have prior notification of what might be asked.
- The session must include the price, how to click and buy, estimated delivery times and a returns policy.
A good sales strategy is to include limited time and limited stock discounts and offers. These exclusive deals will be aimed at immediate decision making – the impulse purchase. This tactic works particularly well for products that have a short decision to purchase time.
For products with a longer lead time, or for slow moving consumer goods, there are opportunities for special events, seasonal offers and product launches. Take tyres for instance, livestreaming sessions are emerging within the racing fraternity that offer endless possibilities for brand sponsorship or product promotion.
Enduro Tyres promotes livestreaming sessions on Sundays from the US West Coast, covering extreme motocross events where offroad motorcycle riders compete for the title King of the Motos. With 10,473 followers, it’s a great way to promote tyres and associated products, allowing consumers to see for themselves how tough the tyres have to be in order to cope with the terrain conditions.
Another way to promote auto parts might be to sponsor a slot on someone else’s livestream. The British Racing and Sports Cars Club regularly delivers livestreaming at track race events, an ideal way to reach an automotive minded audience to promote any aspect of parts and services linked to cars. This is an excellent way to inform consumers about the technical and quality aspects of the tyre, helping to build trust and overcome purchase barriers.
Livestreaming is not TV home shopping on a laptop!
TV shopping channels are a one-way conduit of information. Livestreaming is two-way and interactive. It is much easier to complete the purchase on a live forum via a click to buy button than having to make a telephone call. TV may be pre-recorded and hosted by celebrities who might not be familiar with the products on sale. It is far better to use local experts and champions of the products under discussion.
Is livestreaming as part of a Shoppertainment culture right for all brands?
As we’ve seen, livestreaming boosts impulse purchases by shortening the path to purchase and capturing the attention of the audience. It is definitely right for fast moving goods and also works for slow moving goods, particularly as part of a targeted promotion or new product launch related to consumer lifestyles, helping break down barriers to purchase.
According to Forrester Consulting, there are some country specific traits within Europe that brands should be aware of:
- The Spanish are more price conscious than other communities and are positively influenced by practical information delivered by a local expert rather than a national celebrity.
- In Poland, livestreaming is seen as an opportunity for social interaction with the host and other customers.
- Trust is an important aspect of the UK online shopping consumer and the French want to spend the least time of all watching a livestream demonstration.
When thinking about the target market for products on offer, brands should carry out a segmentation exercise and consider basic data such as the rate of purchase, how much time consumers are willing to spend watching demonstrations and how much they would be willing to spend each month via livestreaming. It’s also useful to use a metric tool to measure customer experience, such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) to check the overall perception of the brand.
Who are the Shoppertainment customers?
Forrester Consulting also identifies 6 key classes of Shoppertainment users:
- Online Always
- Social Champions
- Short-Video Watchers
- Heavy Online Shoppers
- Online Dimmers
Online Always make great advocates and promoters whilst Social Champions, Binge-Watchers and Short-Video Watchers engage positively with their preferred channels and content. Heavy Online Shoppers are difficult to deal with because they don’t feel the need to stray away from already familiar eCommerce routes. Likewise, Online Dimmers are a difficult market to attract as they do not actively participate in any online shopping or entertainment.
Case study – a Christmas cracker from OTTO
OTTO is a well established eCommerce company and the largest online retailer of lifestyle and fashion products in Germany. They decided to bring an online Christmas market event into millions of homes by livestreaming. Partnering with a well known Twitch gaming host who has a large community following, they invited people to ask for help in sourcing presents.
For example, if Gunther from Austria wants a present for his niece, the online community would chat and brainstorm ideas. When a solution was found that suited Gunther, he could then purchase it online from the OTTO store. Throughout the day, OTTO offered prizes, Twitch Bits, toys, etc. as a thank you to the online community who injected a sense of fun into the event, created a Christmas feel-good factor and generated sales.
In conclusion – lights, camera, action!
It is a fact that livestreaming as part of a Shoppertainment experience works. The Chinese markets have strong results to prove that, and now it’s on the threshold of becoming embedded into European online shopping cultures. Now is the right time for brands to consider their options regarding livestreaming, especially as part of a joined up connected shopper experience. The key benefit is that livestreaming captures the attention in a totally interactive way and, with instant promotions, drives impulse sales.
However, brands that start-up in livestreaming must remember the key points. Let’s recap:
- Keep it short
- Have a knowledgeable and likeable local expert as host
- The content should be detailed enough to satisfy the consumer’s concerns yet simple enough not to be considered complicated. It’s up to the host to deliver demonstrations that are compelling and answer all questions
- Must include the ordering process, price, delivery times and a returns policy
- It must be easy for the community to place orders and also be mobile optimised
- If possible, products should be endorsed by other influencers and peers
Not just for fast moving goods with a short decision to purchase time, slow movers can also benefit from livestreaming, especially by partnering with a relevant other, or using the medium for product launches and special promotions.
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