Live shopping is just teleshopping evolved. The central premise is a live-streamed shopping event where companies can showcase product capabilities in real-life settings and display both product details and ways to buy on screen.
By being live, audiences have the opportunity to interact with sellers and ask questions in real time about the product. The most recent live shopping trends have involved social media channels as the trend evolves beyond its origins in China.
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In recent years, China has seen a steady increase in the prevalence of live shopping. As of 2022, it accounts for 10% of the entire e-commerce market in the country. eMarketer forecasts that live shopping sales in China will total $480 billion this year.
Live shopping emerged in 2016, when Alibaba, a platform similar to Amazon, was founded. Along with its subsidiary shopping business, Taobao, Alibaba has successfully integrated a live streaming feature into its e-commerce platform. Customers can now view product demos in real-life settings on demand, before deciding on a purchase. This considerably increases the sales figures of the platform.
However, despite efforts to emulate this in the UK, nothing seems to hold up. And yet, live shopping could be the keys to unlocking a market that UK retailers have yet to fully tap.
So how can UK retailers jump on the live shopping trend?
The UK is missing out
A live shopping experience offers many benefits for retailers. Deepen customer relationships and increase overall engagement. By combining online shopping with live interaction, customers get a “best of both worlds” experience. Live product demos with a chat feature allow customers to instantly connect with another human being, while the online platform ensures a purchase can be made from anywhere.
This combination has real potential to drive sales. Whether online or in-store, customers often avoid purchases when limited product information is available. Live demos and the ability to ask questions in real time give customers much more clarity on product features and capabilities, offering a new level of personalization where customers can interact directly with the brand. This means less time wasted searching for answers online or emailing customer services, as well as more confidence on the part of customers to make the purchase.
It’s also a great way to get back-engage existing customers, especially when the data is used to improve personalization. For example, customers can be invited to exclusive live shopping events with new products related to your purchase history and style.
Similarly, having greater customer engagement with products during the purchase process leads to fewer returns in the long run, as consumers will be able to see it in action and better understand what exactly they are buying.
Could TikTok be the UK’s live shopping solution?
While TikTok may have suspended live shopping in Europe and the US for now, it is still quite popular in other regions and could easily make a comeback. what would be a golden opportunity for the UK to get ahead.
This summer alone, TikTok LIVE’s Summer Sale event recorded over 276 million live views, 135 million views across various hashtags. One viral trend, “TikTok made me buy it,” features users displaying the items they purchased after viewing them on the app.
With over three billion downloads, TikTok could become a major asset for retailers. Partnering with influencers on the platform could provide a route to a trusted new market: your followers.
Live shopping = authenticity
A live shopping experience is authentic. Do potential customers want to see a product in action? They can. Have questions during live demos? They are free to ask.
With live shopping, there are simply fewer blind spots for customers, which means they can make a purchase with confidence. The UK might be behind on this, but it doesn’t have to stay that way.