Livestreaming is a latest trend that is part of broader boom in the Asian e-commerce space. Source: Shutterstock

Livestreaming is a latest trend that is part of broader boom in the Asian e-commerce space. Source: Shutterstock

Why retailers are betting big on livestream shopping for the 12.12 sale

E-COMMERCE has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years — and there’s constant innovation.

However, a new phenomenon has emerged out of China, to deliver an immersive shopping experience to customers regardless of geographic distance and e-commerce providers everywhere are rushing to get on its bandwagon; livestreaming.

To the uninitiated, livestreaming is basically QVC style home-shopping broadcasted via the web on social media, where influencers pitch a product to billions of viewers worldwide.

As social platforms enter the into the foray of commerce and e-commerce platforms increasingly integrating entertainment and social media capabilities to their offering, livestreaming seems to be a feature that overlaps all three aspects – commerce, social, entertainment.

And thus, brands, platform providers and internet celebrities have made this their new favorite tool to boost sales.

The method is huge in China and slowly spreading to the neighboring countries, where Chinese e-commerce platforms are rapidly expanding into, as high penetration of smartphone in the region allows for cross border market access.

Alibaba once again smashed its own Single’s Day or 11.11 sale last November when it sold more than US$25 billion worth of goods, a whopping 39 percent spike from last years sale and there’s little doubt that livestreaming played a crucial part in that growth.

The revenue from lifestreaming alone is expected to reach US$4.4 billion this year, as 32 percent growth from last year.

Tapping into Alibaba’s expertise and insights into executing the technology, this week, leading up to the 12.12 sale Alibaba owned Lazada also rolled out the livestreaming feature on its app.

Lazada Malaysia CEO Christophe Lejeune in a statement said, “The 12.12 Super Livestreams to digital audiences provides an experience that is both interactive and immersive and gives brands and sellers more authenticity by allowing viewers to be part of the process.”

According to him, the impact of livestream as an e-commerce tool produces tangible quality, bridge the digital gap, and bring shoppers and vendors together wherever they may be. The viewers of this streams could interact with the sellers and buyers and have questions answered in real time.

“Interacting in this space is communal, much like having a discussion with friends – it’s the new word of mouth,” added Lejeune.

At this juncture, it is unclear if the trend will catch on outside Asia, where the market is more mature. US e-commerce giant in 2016 launched a similar feature called “Style Code Live” in 2016, only to cancel it a year later.

But in Asia however, it is seen as the future of shopping. Whichever way the technology might go in the region, the consumers can only stand to benefit from the proliferation of technology in e-commerce, as competition among the vendors will only enhance shopping the experince for them, while driving the price down.