Following the 100% digitally-showcased collections at Copenhagen Fashion Week in early February, the Stockholm Fashion Week went one better a fortnight later with a business strategy that proves to be a novelty for most Scandinavians, but has long been a big hit in China. It is known as e-commerce live streaming or live video shopping.
At SFW, the goal was to offer a space whereby consumers would not be mere watchers of the collections and/or talks, but also participants through an interactive live channel, where designers and fashion experts could show clothing pieces in a 30-minute show.
The streaming platform – built by Bambuser, a Swedish-based live video shopping company – has an integrated chat facility whereby consumers can ask questions in real-time. Additionally, consumers are able to click and zoom in on items as they are displayed, choose a size and put it in the shopping cart, after which they are redirected to the Boozt website (the channel’s sponsor) once they are ready for checkout.
“We continue to invest in cutting-edge technology designed to elevate the shopping experience. By introducing the “Boozt Watch & Shop” live video shopping events, we want to invite our community to connect with the fashion industry – engaging everyone around Nordic brands, sustainable choices and trends,” said Dorte Tandrup, Sales & Marketing Director at Boozt.
Building a bridge from physical to digital
China has been conducting live streaming since 2016 when e-commerce giant Alibaba launched its platform Taobao Live. Its goal was to make a bridge between the physical and the digital by bringing human interaction to the digital shopping experience.
Within three years, annual Chinese live stream revenues reached $63 billion. Coresight Research forecasts that revenue is set to rise to $138 billion in 2020 due to the lockdowns.
Could live streaming commerce save stores?
According to Coresight, 9,500 retail stores went bust in 2019, and by the beginning of December 2020, a further 8,000 had closed.
Live-streaming channels like TaoBao are opening up the possibility of rethinking the future of physical stores. In April 2020, the company announced plans to aid more than 200,000 brick-and-mortar retailers by introducing them to the platform to build engagement and create communities. Studies have demonstrated how live streaming can generate more sales in just a few hours than a department store in a whole day.
Even luxury brands like Burberry China have tried live streaming last year.
“Customers crave new things, and live streaming is a safe and exciting way for us to deliver exactly that – especially at a time when some customers are not able to join us in stores,” said Josie Zhang, president of Burberry China, when introducing Burberry’s Tmall live streaming session in March 2020.
The session had an average of 1.4 million viewers and all of the products sold out within the hour.
Although live streaming in Europe and the USA has been slowly gaining momentum over the past year, the pace is set to accelerate, with US live streaming revenues expected to reach $25 billion by 2023. These numbers are not only a result of the lockdown or Chinese influence, they also are a response to the new generations of young consumers who want new shopping experiences and expect more than the traditional retail experience.
Live video shopping in Denmark 2021
In Denmark, the shopping malls have been hit hard during the pandemic. To this date, they have been closed for two months.
Brands like Only have turned to Facebook and Instagram as mediums to showcase their clothing in a live video session. The brand recently hosted one at Field’s Mall and Rødovre Centrum.
Another good example is Degn – Topshop in Holstebro. They tried the live video shopping experience and it was a success. In one hour the turnover was the same as it would be in four normal opening days.
The difference with using social media instead of a live streaming platform is that customers buy the items through comments and each brand has its rules on how the shopping goes about. But other than that it only takes a smartphone with a good camera and brands could be looking at earning thousands in a few hours through live video shopping.
Where to start?
Sophie Abrahamsson, Chief Commercial Officer at Bambuser gives some tips to brands looking to start live video shopping.
“Firstly, make sure you have an established knowledge within your organization related to commercial plans, campaigns, social media, and e-commerce. This will be a great base when starting. As the segment around Live Video Shopping shows grows within your company you can identify where there could be a future need to staff up, but start aligning within your team, they know your brand and targets best.”
Lights – find an appropriate setup for what you’re presenting. It could be natural light or you could use a ring light to improve the lightning if necessary.
Camera – a smartphone with a good camera is how the majority of our clients go live.
Action – Host, Moderator & Script; don’t get too carried away and plan for each word you are going to say. Instead, build a framework of speaking points before you go live so that you can follow a structure, but make it natural. Note that the host can both be an external individual with influence, a brand ambassador, or someone from in-house presenting your product and brand.
What is e-commerce live streaming?
Live streaming commerce is described as part infomercial, part show. It’s like bringing the old-school TV shopping channels to the digital sphere, intertwining streaming video, social media and celebrities or influencers. Shoppers can browse products and make purchases without having to leave the broadcast.
The whole idea behind it is to create an interactive experience that will enthrall consumers to instantly buy a product. That’s why the host of the live stream should be a charismatic figure – so far the influencers and celebrities have enjoyed the biggest selling records in China.
The potential of live streams is unlimited, as their performance in one day beats the performance of a store over 2-3 weeks. Retailers can potentially build their own shopping channels, serving as social network and e-commerce platforms as a solution to the new normal.
Another benefit of live video shopping is that it has more product information than traditional advertising, or even the e-commerce platform, so it is proven to be more successful at the time the consumer makes its purchasing decision.
But ultimately the most important effect is the personal and emotional part, which makes it more appealing and ultimately promises better engagement with your brand.