Amazon Sellers Are Excited About Livestream Selling – Here’s Why!
Updated September 29, 2023 -Wondering what all the buzz is about? Amazon (and other ecommerce) sellers are using livestream strategies to connect with a new audience!
Are you an ecommerce seller hoping to bring more traffic to your Amazon listing and boost your online sales? If so, there’s a new influencer on the Amazon marketplace you need to be aware of, and it isn’t a Kardashian. In fact, it’s not even human.
Instead, it’s a profit-margin hack that might just become one of the biggest success stories of the coming year.
To offer a little context, the first day of the recent Amazon Prime Day 2023 sale on July 11 was the single largest sales day in Amazon’s history. Over the course of the two-day shopping event, Prime members purchased more than 375 million items.
The last two years have shown continued upward growth and there’s a new selling strategy that Amazon has gone out of their way to credit for this upward trend.
Amazon says that their “Amazon Live takes the fun and interactive nature of live video and joins it with online shopping.” Over Prime Day 2023, Amazon reports that it had more than 100 million livestream views, with thousands of Amazon sellers taking advantage of the platform.
Want to understand more about the livestream shopping strategies that have made their way to North America and Europe from China?
This post takes a close look at that and walks you through the process of producing your own Amazon Live video.
But First, a Very Short History Lesson
For thousands of years, China has had a history of technological innovation. The country is responsible for a number of world-changing inventions including, paper making, movable type printing, gunpowder, the compass, and alcohol.
However, in the last several decades, China had reached the point where as recently as 2014, the Harvard Business review had written an article titled, Why China Can’t Innovate. The article hinted at problems with the Chinese educational system, as well as the government’s inability to protect intellectual rights, and the fact that Chinese startups were being founded by engineers, not designers or artists.
A lot has certainly changed since 2014.
Now, China Has Flipped the Script
Chinese technology had become known for copying Western merchandise then turning around and producing it at incredible scale, and at a price that made it hard for the world to compete with.
However, in very short order, China pivoted and has now transitioned into a tech super power. One surprising reason that this happened had nothing to do with market changes or economic theory. The Chinese government itself was determined to change the way that the world viewed their technological capabilities. They wanted to be known as more than clever, cost-conscious duplicators.
Because of that, over time, China’s government reportedly “encouraged” landlords and developers to terminate the leases of businesses that produced predictable merchandise, and to welcome companies that promised to innovate.
One of the best examples of a forward-thinking Chinese business is DJI, a Shenzhen-based startup that dominates the private drone industry. DJI controls nearly three-quarters of the consumer drone market, with approximately 80% of its sales coming from outside China.
Recently, China has taken their innovation in a completely different direction, and has given us a glimpse of what the future of world-wide shopping might look like.
Increasingly, Online Shopping is Going Live
In 2016, ecommerce heavyweight Alibaba launched Taobao Live, which in large part threw open the doors to live shopping in China.
The United States hasn’t caught up —- yet.
Still, there are a number of powerful international companies betting that it’s just a matter of time before that happens.
Poshmark, the online fashion marketplace was acquired last fall by Naver, a fast-rising South Korean internet conglomerate headquartered in Seongnam that operates a popular, self-titled search engine. Not surprisingly, the first big move they’ve made since taking control was to roll out Posh Shows, their new live streaming platform.
Poshmark is just one of a large handful of companies trying to make inroads into the United States’ brand new live shopping market, which according to the retail consulting firm Coresight Research, is estimated to bring in $32 billion in sales this year. To give a sense of where they’re hoping things will go, the market in China by comparison, is anticipated to bring in $647 billion over the next 12 months.
Poshmark isn’t alone, QVC’s parent company Qurate just launched Sune, another live shopping app targeting younger, internet savvy shoppers. And, in the last year, Walmart, YouTube, eBay, and of course, Amazon all fortified their efforts in the live shopping arena.
The Gamification of Ecommerce
Chinese ecommerce pros have made huge advances in social commerce and the “gamification” of purchases. On multiple Chinese selling platforms, shoppers seamlessly make their purchases after taking part in virtual exhibitions and performances that take advantage of the advances to virtual reality we’ve seen over the past year.
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that can either mirror real life, or take the user on a mind-bending alternative journey. Traditionally popular with gamers, what VR attempts to do is create a sensory experience for the user. This experience can include sight, touch, hearing, smell, and even taste.
Virtual Reality is Making Inroads with Ecommerce
Statista estimates that the global VR market is projected to increase from less than 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 to more than 22 billion U.S. dollars by 2025.
The “gamified” purchases that these technologies help make possible happen through the use of branded games and quizzes that blur the line between commerce and game play.
Shein, the Chinese fast fashion retailer founded in 2008, is well versed in this exciting new form of ecommerce, recently passing Zara and is fast approaching H&M as one of the world’s biggest fashion brands. Shein is known for its viral social media tactics, including a strong video presence on both TikTok and YouTube.
JD.com is a Chinese ecommerce company headquartered in Beijing that has invested in high tech and AI delivery through drones, autonomous technology and robots. Both JD.com and Nike have incorporated virtual try-on features such as AI and AR, which highlight additional ways that a shopping trip has more similarities with a video game than a trip to a brick and mortar store.
Don’t like the idea of balancing awkwardly on one leg in a tiny changing room? Snapchat users can now try on clothing and accessories virtually with technology that responds to your own specific physical dimensions.
For the last several years, China has also been behind the surge of live streaming events. It’s like the Home Shopping Network on steroids, but with hip, media-savvy (usually younger) influencers.
Livestream Video 101
With livestream selling, a host demonstrates a product in a live online video either through a social media platform, or direct video calls with groups of customers.
In addition to prospective customers being able to “shop” (watch the feed) from wherever they want, with live commerce, they can interact with the personalities in real time, and seek the answers to any questions they might have. Then, they can make their purchase directly from the live stream shopping platform.
According to Forbes, over 30% of China’s population viewed ecommerce livestreams in 2020, which gives us a pretty clear idea of what’s in store in the near future for U.S.-based commerce.
KOL’s are Influencing China’s Purchases
Chinese livestream commerce hosts are known as KOL’s (key opinion leaders), and the platform has made them extremely popular, well-paid celebrities. The KOLs collaborate with many fast fashion and luxury fashion brands as an integral part of marketing campaigns. As with the “influencer marketing” that has become an important part of contemporary marketing strategy, the KOLs then turn around and spread the brand’s message to their own audience and followers.
Top influencers star on their own shows that sometimes last three to four hours. Instead of the pre-negotiated fee that traditional influencers are offered, in addition to an “appearance fee,” Chinese KOLs frequently receive a percentage of the sales that are made during the shopping event itself.
In the last year, there has been a lot of talk about the gradual move throughout global online shopping and eCommerce from Kardashian-sized influencers to what are referred to as “micro influencers.” Even though their number of followers are but a tiny fraction of mega influencers, they are not only more affordable, their conversion rate is also significantly higher.
TikTok Has Made a Believer Out of Big Brands
TikTok has recently offered further proof that it’s rapidly becoming an advertising heavyweight. In spite of the fact that there’s been a universal softening of the online advertising sector, according to Statista, TikTok generated $4.0 billion in advertising revenue in 2021, a figure that is expected to triple by 2026.
Last year, TikTok announced a new partnership to assist US merchants with advertising on the app, giving them access to core functions of the TikTok For Business Ads Manager without requiring them to leave their own business platform.
TikTok says that, “TikTok For Business is where you can unleash your brand’s creative side. A fully immersive no judgement world where there’s an audience for every voice.”
From their own platforms, merchants can create and manage TikTok campaigns, using features like the video app’s creative tools and one-click Ads Pixel.
This innovation in ecommerce live streaming shopping is a first on TikTok in the US and allows brands both big and small to be able to engage with users who are at the forefront of the latest marketing trends.
Amazon’s Own “Live” Feature is Catching Fire
Amazon says that its Live feature allows sellers to, “Engage with shoppers in real time and drive sales with interactive livestreams.”
Using Amazon Live, sellers can bring products to life by featuring them in their product carousel. To engage with their audience during the streams, sellers can take advantage of features such as:
- Product highlighting,
- Live promotions
- Interactive chat
To help brands and influencers create, capture and manage livestreams, Amazon has also launched the Amazon Live Creator app.
Grow Your Following with Amazon’s Help
Here is Amazon’s checklist for brands and influencers interested in taking full advantage of the platforms to boost their sales.
It’s also a great overview of what’s attainable for brands participating in the program.
Work to level up
Taking the “game” analogy a little bit further, when you meet the requirements to increase your Amazon Live level, you can unlock more benefits – including additional placements for your livestreams on Amazon.com.
At the “Insider” level, you are eligible to appear on product detail pages of products featured in your livestreams. At the “A-List” level, you are eligible to appear on the Amazon.com home page.
Share tune-in posts on social media and other marketing channels
Let your audience know when you are going live. You can get a shareable link for your livestream or channel in the app. If you’re an influencer, you can also share your storefront link. On Instagram, remember to tag @amazonlive for a chance to get reposted on the Amazon Live story and gain followers who already follow Amazon Live.
Verbally remind viewers to follow you
For example, “Remember to follow me for more content like this.” Followers are eligible to get notified from the Amazon mobile shopping app when you go live.
Create custom overlays during your stream
For example, “Unmute to hear tips”, “Follow to stay connected”, or “Shop all items below.” You can add these while using broadcasting software.
Use special deals to incentivize your audience
Add value to shoppers by surfacing promo codes in your livestreams on products you are featuring. If you’re a brand, consider creating live-only deals that are showcased exclusively during a livestream.
Ask viewers what they want to see
During your livestream, ask viewers about what they want to see from your future livestreams. For a brand, this could be showcasing different scenarios of how your products can be used. For an influencer, this could be featuring different brands or specific products. You can also ask your audience in other places where you engage with them, like on social media.
Pay attention to follow notifications in chat
When a viewer follows you during your livestream, you will see a notification in the chat. Make sure to thank new followers and encourage others to do the same if they haven’t already. Remind viewers that followers are eligible to get notified from the Amazon mobile shopping app when you go live.
Broadcasting Your First Livestream
Live video gives you a way to bring your product to life and engage with shoppers. When you go live, your stream will appear automatically on your influencer storefront and on the Amazon Live home page. Through the Amazon Influencer Program, you’ll also earn commissions from all qualifying purchases of products you feature in your livestream event.
There are many different broadcast software options available for livestreaming ecommerce video. Amazon recommends the following settings when setting-up a livestream.
- Video Resolution: 1280×720
- AVC Level: 31
- Keyframe Interval: 2 (Amazon does not support keyframe intervals greater than 4 seconds)
If you are just getting started and choosing a broadcast software to learn with, Amazon has singled out OBS Studio as a great choice. It is a free, open source broadcasting software that you can download.
(Ecommerce) Change Can Be Good
One of the most surprising results of recent ecommerce polling has been that the average age of both buyers and sellers is much younger than marketing experts had realized. That’s why now might be a great time to try livestream strategies to connect with that demographic.
The months we’ve all spent cooped up inside as we navigate our recent global challenges has significantly increased our screen time. One possible upside has been that it has helped make us more aware of the new ways that shoppers are interacting with sellers, and ultimately making their purchases.
Might be an ideal time to try a little livestream. After the year(s) we’ve had, more connection is probably a good thing.
How Canopy Management Can Help
Canopy Management is a full-service marketing agency for Walmart and Amazon sellers. Our team consists of former Amazonians, multi-million dollar sellers, and award-winning experts.
When you consider the many ways that Canopy Management can help you grow your business, you’ll see why selling on Amazon is much easier “under the Canopy.”
- Strategic Growth Planning
- Listing Copywriting Optimization
- Listing Photography
- Product Videography
- Advertising Management
- Customer Service
- Demand Side Platform (Amazon DSP)
- Amazon Posts
- Full Service Management
- Amazon Review Aggregation
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