A while ago, Product Hunt’s digest asked, “Are we in the early stages of social eCommerce?” Fact is, we are not “in the early stages.” If anything, we’re closer to an e-commerce-First world. Livestream shopping and shoppable ads play a significant role in the ongoing changes.

Livestream shopping is in full bloom. The concept first became popular during the 1980s with TV networks like QVC. The hosts showcase products and pitch them directly to consumers. Alternatively, with the infomercials, customers could see the products from their couches, listen to the experts, and then purchase with one phone call.

Today, the livestream shopping and shoppable ads are updated versions of TV channels and infomercials, displayed on our mobile devices instead of a TV. Read on to find out what changes are happening in the world of e-commerce.

Selling Where The Customers Are

Consumers today desire convenience. New, data-driven technologies have boosted sales and competitiveness, enabling sellers to offer customer-led product ranges rather than supplier-driven ones. By setting up “brand.com” websites in tandem with physical stores, retailers can offer a smooth transition between the online and offline experience. 

Or, they can choose to ditch the brick-and-mortar entirely. Customers predominantly use mobile devices and spend their time on social media. The most prominent social media platforms are very aware of this, so most offer full support to sellers. From managing inventory to publishing shippable ads with instant, in-ad checkout. Services such as buying online and collecting in-store and all permutations have also significantly increased reach and revenues. But, wait,  there is more!

Shoppable Ads, In a Nutshell

Shoppable Ads aren’t an entirely new form of advertising. Google Ads pioneered the concept with Google Shopping Ads and Google Smart Shopping. These two correspond to expanded text search ads and display ads, respectively. The only difference when running a Google Shopping Ads Campaign is that you need to use their inventory management tool (Google Merchant Centre.)

However, the primary reason why you should use shoppable ads is their mobile-friendliness, high interactivity and frictionless checkout. Shopala’s Shoppable Ads, for example, come in the form of Express Checkouts and Shoppable ads. Each shoppable ad contains a mini checkout where a user can finish purchase in 30 seconds. The “mini-checkout” needs only shipping information and the payment.

Welcome To Live Shopping Ecommerce

Live e-commerce combines live streaming and e-commerce, popular in Asia and on its way to the US and Europe. Customers can buy goods and services during a live video broadcast, integrated into the online marketplace customers can access from mobile. As we’ve seen, the term online marketplace has expanded to include social media, specialised apps and large online retailers.

A host showcases product features while answering customer questions in real-time and perhaps upsells more products. On the other end, shoppers can add the products to the cart and checkout instantly. This new shopping format has excellent potential for both the broad audience and the exclusive events.

Social Media Brought Livestream Shopping to Life

Many smaller e-commerce businesses began and grew through direct interaction with the sellers and brand’s social media audience, from Instagram & Facebook to Tik-Tok, Pinterest, and Twitter. Social media became the ultimate Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) platform, similar to TV sales channels.

The D2C approach to sales relies on direct relationships. Through this direct relationship, sellers can manage the customer journey as it happens in real-time. As a result, the customers’ engagement with the brand and messaging increases, making marketing and sales more personalised to customers’ needs.

Social media are currently the most popular for live stream e-commerce in the United States. According to a March 2021 survey, YouTube ranked as the top channel. Nearly a third of respondents prefer it, followed closely by the major social media sites Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Amazon Live. (Statista)

Tiktok Is Not For Teens Only: Live Shopping TikTok Is Blooming

Social Media advertising has grown to a new level. Take TikTok, for example. We are used to thinking that only children and teens use TikTok. Yet, Statista found that 22.4% of TikTok users in the US are 20-29 years old, and 21.7% are 30-39. Hence, you can’t say that TikTok is a teenage platform only and not a good place to advertise your products. 

You can say one thing about live shopping on TikTok: the live commerce format actively creates new influencers. A perfect example of this comes as a courtesy of Austin Li. If you don’t know who this person is, the TikTok nickname “Lipstick King” might help. He evolved from a beauty store assistant earning less than $1000/mo to a live shopping superstar, earning $2.5 million/mo. No wonder, since he now has 35 million TikTok fans.

Tik-Tok’s native ad in video format can be an ideal opportunity for shoppable ads, especially when enhanced with Shopala’s integrated checkout for an advertising environment on mobile. Aside from video, you can advertise your products through Brand Takeover Ads, Branded Lenses, or a Hashtag Challenge. For example, in 2020, Walmart ran an influencer-driven live shopping campaign on TikTok. One live shopping campaign generated seven times more viewers and increased their TikTok following by 25%. 

Livestream Shopping Challenges

There is one significant challenge live stream shopping & shoppable ads face. The lack of transparency. In 2020, approximately 16 per cent of consumers surveyed in Europe said their biggest challenge when shopping from e-commerce live streaming sessions was that critical information – such as cost, shipping times, and return policies – was unclear (Statista).

That was also one of the main difficulties mentioned in livestream shopping on social networks, along with the inability to find an exclusive offer. So, all the praise aside, live shopping still needs to develop to the point when shoppers have an easy way to get the information they seek.

Livestream Shopping and Shoppable Ads Challenges

Main challenges consumers face when using Livestream shopping in Europe (Statista)

The Logistics Infrastructure And Optimised Delivery

The last-mile delivery can make or break the customer experience. As online baskets fill and sales rack up, the logistics capability to fulfil orders becomes ever more complex. However, a recent consumer survey Kearney carried out reveals that around 30 per cent of respondents expect even faster response times. 

Delivery has become a battleground between traditional retailers and e-commerce businesses. Market leaders such as Amazon and Noon are investing heavily in distribution centres close to sources of demand and running their last-mile fleets. So, they can make delivery promises most other small eCommerce stores or even retailers cannot meet.

Millennials, or Generation Y, have been the focus of marketing efforts for years now. Generation Z or any person born between 1997-2012 created a new segment, ready for new ways of shopping. According to Statista, 63% of millennials and Generation Z shoppers have bought something using their smartphones. ⅔ admit their purchase was motivated by influencers’ social media posts.

The customers are ready, it’s time to reach them with shoppable ads and live shopping!