Is Live Commerce Ever Going to Stick in Western Markets?

In 2020, while live video from streamers and for communications was being adopted en masse, one of the predictions made by eCommerce and land-based commerce commentators was that live shopping would be the next big thing.

Already, the blueprint had been laid down and proven to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars in China, and the assumption was, essentially, that the more consumerist markets in the West would follow suit.

However, live commerce isn’t exactly common in Western markets right now and is only finding sustained success in someone niche or detached areas.

The QVC-like nature of it in theory may be holding some back from wanting to try live shopping, or perhaps the Western customers have far different demands to those in China. Still, there is a lot of potential in the application of the tech.

Magic Formula Yet to be Found in the West

Over in China, livestream shopping made $480 billion in China last year, but in the US, it was only forecast to hit $11 billion. Now, $11 billion certainly isn’t a quaint sum, but it’s certainly not hitting the levels expected of this proven and widely adopted tech. One of the issues may be the method that works in China. The influencer economy and shopping via influencers was already big business before the advent of live shopping.

In Western markets, as popular as many influencers may be, when they try to sell products and need to mark their attempts as advertising, most followers just ignore and scroll to the entertainment. Where it is looking to gain some traction is TikTok Live Shopping, which is made by a Chinese company. Facebook and Amazon seem to be the places to truly push for live shopping, but the right formula for this market just hasn’t been found yet.

Where Going Live Continues to Work in the West

Twitch is one of the biggest platforms proven to have connected people with live streaming. However, where the technology has been stretched to and beyond the demands of fully-fledged live shopping is at the casino online. Nestled among fellow popular games like Monster Truck Madness and Mötley Crüe, Live Crazy Time allows for real-time play on a physical game being hosted by a professional croupier in a studio somewhere in the world.

The additional tech that powered these live casino games like Live Crazy Time makes the experience interactive, immersive, and real. To a much lesser extent, the flopped quiz app HQ once captured the essence of what can make live tech so applicable. In this case, it was about scheduled times for the quizzes, hosts who would react to the players, and real prizes.

As noted before, consumer behavior in Western markets is distinctly different from those in China. For now, live streaming technology is mostly tied to entertainment and communications.

The very concept of shopping live through an app can both come off as a low-tier experience and potentially a scam, as influencers aren’t as trusted by older consumers. A way that it works well in China is with a white-label solution to brands via events streamed to a brand’s website but produced separately.  

Live shopping hasn’t quite hit the mainstream in Western markets, but once one platform solves the formula and, essentially, goes viral, you can bet that countless other brands and platforms will pile in.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.

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