With video set to dominate web traffic in the coming years, what can retailers gain from using the likes of Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live as a selling tool? Bart Mroz, founder and CEO of digital commerce consultancy SUMO Heavy takes a closer look…
It’s no secret that live streaming has become a hot topic lately. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram all adopting live streaming capabilities, brands have begun looking into this new media as a new way to reach and engage their customers. But is this live streaming trend really worth investing in?
From an ecommerce standpoint, capitalizing on it could pay off big time.
We’re in the midst of video content’s rise. Video is dominating so much so, that by year 2020, video will account for 82 percent of all Internet traffic, according to Cisco. Some people are even touting it as the future of social media. Live streaming was first made popular by Twitter’s Periscope, but now Facebook Live has launched social videos that gain more engagement than any other content format. So it’s no longer an optionional for brands to incorporate video content into their ecommerce strategy.
But what’s really so special about all this live streaming feature? First, it allows brands to connect with consumers anywhere in the world, directly and in real-time. Taking it a step further, imagine a company that can broadcast its sales content live at the exact moment that its target audience opens a Facebook page. That audience could then make direct purchases via the social platform. People won’t just be streaming, they’ll actually engage and be a part of the conversation. That’s where live streaming really shines. It all about streaming that social experience.
And that is how live streaming will change how companies sell products online. Now, businesses can directly target consumers based on their social media profiles and essentially create their own online shopping channels within some of the biggest social platforms in the world. Since video is much more engaging and powerful than static image, using live streaming allows brands to create ecommerce platforms that can be morphed into dynamic shopping channels for their customers.
Live Video Appeal
An estimated 64 percent make a purchase after watching marketing videos on Facebook and almost 50 percent of consumers reported preferring live video compared to pre-recorded ones. By capitalizing on this new interaction channel, live streaming can help brands showcase and sell their products, driving commerce. Live streaming can help brands draw huge viewership and create buzz about products, new launches or campaigns. It is essentially able to put live television in everyone’s hands and can tap into customers’ impulse buying habits. Think of it as QVC for social media.
Streaming E-commerce in Action
A growing number of brands already are using live streams to sell products. For example, cosmetics brand Maybelline ran a successful live streaming campaign featuring Chinese celebrity Angelababy on social media app Meipai, selling 10,000 lipsticks in 2 hours.
Retail giant Kohl’s monetized the live streams of its apparel brand LC Lauren Conrad by offering viewers a backstage pass and front-row seat during New York Fashion Week. Using a new mobile-optimized site featuring live streaming of the event, Kohl’s enabled viewers to buy the apparel featured on the runway in real time.
Some brands are leveraging micropayments, mid-roll video ads and direct payments from social platforms to monetize their live streaming videos. As live streaming incorporates all elements of e-commerce like mobile and social into a new media, it has endless opportunities for brands. People already love shopping online, now brands can use live streaming as a new transaction channel to reach customers on the platforms they are already using.
Soon all brands will have the capability to build out their own Facebook Live home shopping channels and reach thousands or even millions of followers. Smaller brands–and even large brands who want to boost engagement on its own channels–can also even use out-of-the-box live streaming platforms like Agora.io who provide streaming services on existing channels. Then, brands of all sizes can add live video and interactive broadcasting to existing products without implementing their own technology.
Although live streaming is one of the most rapidly growing trends out there, it’s still in its infancy as we’re mostly seeing it as an engagement channel rather than transactional. But many other major social platforms are competing in the live streaming space so the race will only broaden as live streaming becomes more accessible. We’ll soon start to see a proliferation of live streaming experiences that will change the way consumers engage with brands and buy their products. Smart brands will start to incorporate live streaming capabilities into their omnichannel strategy as it’s only a matter of time before live streaming becomes the norm.
By Bart Mroz
Founder and CEO