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Live commerce brings consumers closer to in-person shopping experience

In the past year and a half, a global pandemic has put digital front and center in our lives, making way for emerging behaviors and opportunities that have transformed our culture. Riding the momentum, social platforms have enabled brands to leverage these new habits and show up in exciting new ways for their customers - through new shoppable features, new entertainment possibilities, and new ways for the community to engage with each other.

Keeping up with the fast pace of social innovation was essential for brands to continue fostering human and social interactions. Without the ability to connect over physical experiences, people have come to rely on social media to meet an ever-growing list of needs.

Among these are shopping, social connection and entertainment—and as the pandemic wanes in many parts of the world, digital’s influence on each of these activities is sure to stick. In many communities, these channels have blended together to enable an entirely new way to shop: livestream commerce.

The rise of livestream commerce

If you are unfamiliar with it, livestream commerce is a feature already incorporated in many social platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat, that enables creators and brands to add shoppable links in live videos so that viewers can make purchases without having to leave the app.

I anticipate that there will be a rising demand for livestream commerce as a means of meaningfully reaching audiences and bringing them closer to the physical shopping experience, without having to compromise on all the benefits of digital.

Livestream commerce overcomes the resistance to shop online by providing consumers with the best digital alternative there is to assess the look and feel of the product. Live content offers real-time interactivity and adds a layer of comfort and security to the purchase, as customers can ask relevant questions that will help them make the decision. Ultimately, it provides the possibility to instantly compare and research, helping consumers make informed decisions—something lacking in physical shopping. And they can do all of this from the comfort of their homes.

But perhaps most importantly, live commerce adds a human touch to online shopping. The live interaction and lack of editing means that brands can let their personalities and spontaneity shine through, which boosts real and authentic connections with their consumers. From brand ambassadors to fans and curious customers, live commerce can engage audiences of all kinds in one single livestream.

This feature has already been implemented by many mainstream social platforms and is quickly becoming the go-to answer to provide a shopping experience that replicates a real marketplace, offering instant interactivity and enhanced community participation.

Involving creators takes experiences to the next level

It’s no coincidence that influencers have reshaped the marketing landscape to become a permanent feature in the marketing mix. Their established audiences, strong connections, and ability to drive the full consumer journey on their own have left social platforms to fight for their talent. These creators are brands’ best bet to bring livestream commerce to life in its most authentic form.

During livestreams, influencers can spark brand trust before the moment of decision by playing a dual role of content creator and a relatable peer in the eyes of consumers. When audiences watch a livestream hosted by an influencer, they are watching a peer whom they like and trust, making them more receptive to commercial content and ready to take immediate action - something that Lancôme could confirm in their live shopping event with Chiara Ferragni.

The brand and the mega-influencer launched their co-created makeup collection during a shoppable livestream, and simultaneously gathered 49,000 connected customers and more than 200,000 interactions, with several products selling out during the show.

Influencers can experiment with different formats—such as tutorials, interviews, behind-the-scenes and use their thought-leadership to move customers through the funnel in an interactive setup. It’s like being helped by an assistant in a store, except the assistant is someone you already admire and trust.

Influencer livestream commerce is entertaining and immersive, and a great way for brands to offer the best of the physical shopping experience to consumers online. It brings together entertainment, information, strong social connections, relatability and home shopping, turbocharging the entire experience. It's something that was never possible within a physical environment alone.

Emilie Tabor, head of global innovation and social, MediaMonks