How to Sell Your Products on E-commerce by Live-Streaming in China
China is the undisputed world leader in combining live-streaming with online shopping. With more than 400 million online viewers in total, live-streaming in China has become the most popular video format according to The Chinese Live-streaming Report. With over 200 live streaming platforms focusing on different markets and viewers, live-streaming can function as a powerful marketing tool at an extremely low cost.
Live-streaming apps are still very popular in China. As of December 2016, data showed 47 percent of Chinese Internet users watched live-streaming sites. Nearly half of the 710m people with internet connections in China have used live-streaming apps.
The livestreams take place within the eCommerce platforms enabling followers to purchase items they see immediately within the same app. Alibaba-owned Taobao, one of the biggest eCommerce platforms in China, has 4000 livestream hosts who produce 150,000 hours of content and broadcast over 600,000 products through the livestream every day.
Taobao Marketplace’s results are proof that combining live-streaming with online shopping is a successful formula: the company generated over 100 billion RMB ($15.1 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) through its live-streaming in 2018 which represented an increase of almost 400% year-on-year. The principal reason for this is that eCommerce platforms operating in China such as the Alibaba-owned, Taobao Marketplace are not only eRetailers but also content communities.
KOL Influencers and Live-Streaming
KOL (Key Opinion Leaders) Influencers build relationships with their viewers through the livestreams. According to Christine Mou, livestreamer for Shopshops, “When Chinese consumers watch a livestream on an eCommerce platform, they are simultaneously watching an influencer and peer whom they like and trust. They can become extremely loyal and receptive to specific live-streamers, especially those they have been following for some time and feel connected to.”
One of the most popular functions of live-streaming is the “real-time connection”, that provides audiences with a chance to have Facetime-like interactions with the broadcasters during live-streaming. With this feature, potential customers are able to get answers to pressing questions and gain a more comprehensive impression of the products, making promotional activities more convincing and effective.
Livestreams starring KOLs & KOCs
The combination of KOLs in Chinese live-streaming appears to be very effective, as product reviews and brand recommendations embedded in live videos hosted by KOLs or KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers) increase exposure and brand recognition. One example of such a KOL is Viya, who broke her own sales record driving 353 million RMB (roughly 49.7 million USD) in sales in a single day.
Live-streaming + E-commerce = Live Commerce
A live-streaming channel can also be embedded in e-commerce platforms, allowing stores to sell through live streaming. Famous Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Taobao and JD.com were the first to embed links to their shopping interface in their livestreams so viewers could purchase items while they watched. But now the industry has grown out to a massive scale, deserving of it’s own term, Live Commerce.
How Do Brands Market through Live-Streaming Apps?
1. Paid Ads
Most Live-Streaming platforms has suggested you combine you use one of the following ad formats:
· Brand takeover
· In-feed native video
· Hashtag challenge
· Lens 2D, 3D, and AR
2. In-Feed Native Videos
Whether you use them as a paid ad, or from your company live-streaming channel, you could consider sharing some in-feed native videos. These can last up to 15 seconds, although you can share brief video clips as short as nine seconds.
3. Hashtag Challenges
Douyin users respond exceptionally well to challenges. There are usually multiple challenges going on at any time for Douyin users to participate.
The usual type of Douyin challenge involves somebody setting a challenge (beginning its name with a #, hence the term Hashtag Challenge. The challenge typically challenges others on Douyin to make and share a particular type of video.
4. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is likely to be the most effective form of marketing on live-streaming.You don’t suffer from the negative implications of ads, and you don’t have to worry about building the right audience as you do with native videos on your company account.
You just need to work with your influencers to come up with a creative strategy that helps them pique the interest of their audience to build interest in your brand and product.
As with much influencer marketing, you should take most notice of metrics relating to engagement and awareness. These can be an excellent guide to brand loyalty.
Selecting the Right Influencers for Your Brand
It doesn’t matter which social channels you use for your influencer marketing. The number one rule is to choose the right influencers for your brand.
You first need to ensure that you identify your brand’s target customers. Are you focusing on the ideal demographic?
You need to consider which types of videos are most likely to attract your target market. Are they going to be most interested in streamers core music videos, are they more into clips showing beauty tips, are they into comedy sketches, or maybe even skateboarders performing tricks?
You will then want to find popular influencers who appeal to the same niches as your primary target customers. If you need help finding relevant influencers, you might consider working with an influencer platform.
The advantage of searching for popular influencers in your niche is that they will have a large enough following of interesting, engaged people, who will take notice of any videos they share about your product/brand.
Always remember, however, relevance is more important than reach. Don’t merely opt for influencers with the most massive followings — go for those with the most suitable audiences for your goals.
Once you have selected suitable influencers, you will need to contact them and form a partnership. You have to ensure that any deal is acceptable to your influencers. They will not want any involvement unless there is something for them, and also they can see how it can help their followers.