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Live streaming's an added retail option in the post-coronavirus world

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One popular trend that we’ve seen in China is the incorporation of public live-video entertainment into the e-commerce experience.

Live streaming commerce in China has made the online shopping experience more social, interactive and engaging. While this tactic can increase sales, it also invites additional scrutiny from people across the country. Brands thinking about experimenting with live streaming commerce on Amazon Live should think carefully about how they want to position their products.

The concept of live streaming, in which top influencers simultaneously broadcast product presentations to millions of fans, has democratized e-commerce by making live interaction and social commentary immediately available to people all over the country.

During a live streaming video session, influencers will discuss a brand, the features of its flagship products, providing fashion tips or even raffles and games to keep people entertained. Viewers can purchase products at any time during the session by clicking on a small product window and making a purchase with Alipay.

But what makes the shopping experience more social is the fact that viewers can, at any time, ask questions about the product in real time and expect an answer directly from the host. Other viewers can also view these interactions and chime in with comments of their own.

Last year on Singles Day, the biggest retail event in the world, top live streamer Viya made a splash when she invited Kim Kardashian onto her show to help promote her KKW Beauty products. All 15,000 of the bottles in stock were sold out in a matter of seconds, underscoring just how popular and effective these live streaming video sessions have become for driving brand awareness and sales conversions.

But influencers can also have a negative impact on certain brands.

In March, top influencer Austin Li delivered a devastating critique of Hermès’ new lipstick line, deriding the brand for picking outdated colors that weren’t suitable for Chinese customers. Over 13 million viewers tuned in. What’s more is that after the session was over, the video session went viral on China’s top micro-blogging platform, Weibo. Attacks by fans on Hermès piled up one after another, with many pledging never to buy the lipstick line.

Weibo even rolled out a survey of 6,300 participants to gauge whether or not people agreed with Mr. Li’s review of the lipstick line; the results showed that an astonishing 93% did. This just goes to show that while social commerce does have its benefits, the increased scrutiny also raises risks. As Amazon Live invests more and more resources into its own live streaming commerce network, brands and retailers attempting to leverage this marketing method should be aware of the power of the social media magnifying glass.

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