Monday, 1 june 2020 | Redacción CEU
In these digital and changeable times, there are sales channels that seem obsolete. This is the case of those television spots which painstakingly promote one or more products. But, what if someone reinvents this concept? What if instead of watching these programs on TV we accessed them via our smartphone or laptop? What if brands could solve our doubts in real time and in a customized way? What if they offered us special live promotions? In China, live-streaming sales are already a reality. On top of that, they are revolutionizing the world of e-commerce. This is a phenomenon that has also been driven by the extraordinary measures taken in China due to the expansion of COVID-19. Today, on CEU IAM’s blog, we analyze this new trend and reflect on whether this modality is exportable to the rest of the world.
The pandemic has changed the way we consume. This is one of the main conclusions of the "MARCO’s Study on Consumption Habits Post COVID-19". This international survey, carried out by MARCO in Spain, Italy, Mexico, Colombia, Portugal and Brazil, affirms the following: 76% of citizens have definitively changed their consumption habits. According to this analysis, 60% of Spanish consumers have bought more during the lockdown. This trend has also been observed in Latin American countries (65%) and Italy (81%). That is not all. According to the consultant, 40% of consumers will continue buying this way when it is all over. The figures are even higher in the case of Latin America (51%) and Italy (82%).
This is not an isolated study. Many analyses present positive data regarding the growth of e-commerce. For example, DLH recently explained in a statement that the current health crisis is having an impact on the company's e-commerce activity and the operations related to e-commerce in Spain. In fact, Rubén Aliseda, Chief of the Retail Business Unit of DHL Supply Chain Iberia, expressed that the pandemic has given <<the definitive impulse to the standardization of e-commerce in Spain>>.
If we take into account all this and connect it with facts such as the increasing use of social networking sites, the influencers’ ability to influence people or the hegemony of video in the digital media, we can notice that live-streaming sales have many of the today’s key ingredients for success. However, it is necessary to clarify that China and Spain are two different countries and, therefore, their purchasing habits are different as well. In any case, this is not enough reason to underestimate the potential of this way of selling, especially now that consumer habits are changing so abruptly.
What are the peculiarities of live-streaming sales?
As mentioned above, live-streaming sales share some similarities with home shopping TV programs. In both formulas, hosts show one or several products in a detailed way, by explaining their particular characteristics, demonstrating how they work, presenting testimonies from people who are satisfied with the use of the product, etc. Thus, the main differences between them are:
- The communication channel (traditional vs. digital)
- The relationship that hosts have with audiences (unidirectional vs. bidirectional)
- The amount of money they need to advertise the product (high investments vs. low investments)
- The way they close the different deals (faster and easier in the case of live-streaming sales)
Live-streaming sales have great advantages over these four characteristics. It is what seems to have led some Chinese companies to bet on this modality during the coronavirus pandemic, in some cases with remarkable sales figures.