You may have heard Alibaba’s Own Zarina Kanji discussing how mass-streaming is set to shape the future hybrid world of retail. Recently, M&S announced a new Livestream shopping service called ‘M&S LIVE’ where customers can join a live broadcast to hear more about a product range and pose live questions to an M&S expert.

Live streaming and ecommerce

The beauty of live streaming is its ability to replicate an experience that we witness in physical stores. By having an expert walk a consumer base through a product line in real-time people are getting an experience that they could be missing when they browse an online store. For instance, a customer browsing handbags on a store page could want a more detailed look at the straps, pockets and buckles but are limited to the existing listing images. On a Livestream, the consumer would have a more detailed and personalised experience that could translate into a sale.

“The last few years have seen a rapid shift to social commerce, with our research showing TikTok alone saw a phenomenal 553% increase in shopping during the pandemic. This has been largely driven by younger consumers, with 43% of Gen Z, using social media to purchase products in 2021. Brands and retailers that have realised this opportunity have already seen success, as consumers are now more likely to see – and be influenced by – brand advertising, user generated content (UGC) and influencer posts on social media. Within this, live shopping has really taken off. A trend that is already well-established in Asia, we’ve recently seen TikTok, Instagram and Facebook each adopt and test live shopping features in the west, and the trend has already seen a huge growth in popularity amongst Gen Z shoppers. And it’s clear to see why – the interactive nature of live shopping helps brands and retailers bring consumers together with other consumers, in an experience which goes beyond just shopping”.

Ed Hill, SVP EMEA at Bazaarvoice

Social commerce is certainly something that brands should be looking to do if they can. TikTok and Instagram are a couple of platforms already facilitating the concept. I predict we will see more marketplaces also picking up on this Livestream shopping trend in the near future, allowing brands to stream to their audiences and capture more sales whilst promoting brand value and trust.