live selling

The use of video to drive sales started with cable shopping channels such as QVC and HSN.

Back in 2018 I spent a couple of weeks in Florida doing some consulting within the HSN digital team witnessing the impact online was having on their business. It was clear that their main crown jewels were in the content they produced and the live show. The question was how they could package and deliver this now that customers were cord-cutting. Cord-cutting was the phrase they came up with to describe the shift away from TV to new formats enabled by the internet.

With the internet came YouTube, which allowed anyone to publish video reviews of products online. Then retailers and brands began to leverage influencers as well as creating their own content to reach YouTube’s vast user base and penetrate target demographics. This then spread to other social media platforms, who shifted their focus to video. The TV shopping channels were being marginalised.

The concept that demonstrated new products in a live broadcast, and invited audience members to place an order is still relevant. The way you deliver the experiences is changing. During the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping and the consumption of live social video has grown significantly and this presents a unique opportunity for retailers to bring back the TV shopping experience in a fresh, more personal, and more direct way.

Taobao and Tmall have become hugely popular for live shopping in China. Retailers and brands are starting to take notice. Facebook & Instagram rolled out live selling in 2020 and YouTube are piloting roll out similar features soon.

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