Live-commerce or live-selling is an emerging new trend in e-commerce and iKala’s Sega Cheng shares three ways that brands can take this fast-growing channel to the next level.

E-commerce has boomed in the past year and we don’t need any studies to prove that (although, of course, there are plenty available). A quick look at our own behaviours or the new habits of others in the household is enough of an indicator of this growth. From groceries to electronics – how often have deliveries come knocking in the last week alone?

Amongst the many emerging new trends to take off is live-selling or live-commerce. A joint study from media intelligence firm Meltwater and e-commerce platform Shopee found a staggering 1,890% increase in conversations around livestreams and gamification of online shopping experiences on forums and social media amidst the pandemic. The surge in interest speaks for itself.

For brands seeking to explore this fast-growing channel, here are three ways to take live-commerce strategy to the next level:

Level 1: Integrate AI and mobile-friendly technology

Coming on board a new digital trend isn’t just about the technology available to the business, it’s also about the technology conveniently placed at customers’ fingertips.

An everyday technological tool that has completely revolutionised retail is the smartphone. Superapps across Asia – such as China’s WeChat, India’s Paytm and South Korea’s Kakao – have consolidated banking, shopping and social media into one place, making it easier for customers to shop and connect with brands. By 2023, research firm Forrester predicts that 81% of e-commerce could take place over phones in Asia-Pacific.

To level up their live-commerce, businesses should seek to tap on the most accessible tools while creating the best customer-centric experiences. This can be as simple as allowing for mobile payment options through e-wallets and QR codes. Optimising business processes with the right enterprise tools can also drive sales, empower teams and improve customer interactions. From omnichannel order management systems to AI chatbots, businesses should explore the tools they need to make their live-commerce truly stand out.

Level 2: Leverage micro-influencers

In the social space, Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) can have a strong influence over their followers. And it doesn’t have to be superstar celebrities. Micro-influencers are an under-tapped resource but their thousands of followers are highly engaged.

Due to their streamlined following, micro-influencers are also better able to react and respond to individual fans, which helps to build trust and rapport with their audiences. By working with micro-influencers to host livestreams, businesses engage professional storytellers and expand their reach to new audiences – audiences that know and trust the recommendations of their favourite KOLs.

A company that has experienced firsthand success with this is well-loved and iconic Thai handbag brand NaRaYa.

NaRaYa already has a strong offline and online presence but decided to experiment with social commerce in 2020. By leveraging influencers in tandem with iKala’s Shoplus Order Management System, NaRaYa saw a 50% increase in purchases from Facebook Live sessions and a 90% increase in efficiency in managing orders.

The increase in customer interaction also bolstered NaRaYa’s social media presence, carving out a new social customer segment and reinforcing customer loyalty toward the brand.

Level 3: Ramp up shoppertainment

With emerging new channels come many opportunities. Once businesses are equipped with the technology to enable their tasks and have zoomed in on the right influencers to represent their products, they can focus on creating engaging experiences across every touchpoint. 

For live-commerce, shoppertainment provides a definite edge – customers not only get to view and virtually interact with the product, they also get to experience the brand. The combination of shopping, entertainment and social experiences means customers get a hands-on approach to the ideas and values that best represent any brand.

In the Philippines, Pepsi leveraged Shoplus in their #PEPSIPHxBLACKPINK campaign.

The brand brought a strong social commerce strategy to life on Facebook Live with the right technology and influential KOL hosts. Together with gamification through integrated quizzes and trivia games, the session garnered more than 4,400 peak views and 47,721 comments. Best of all, Pepsi’s limited-edition Pepsi x Blackpink drinks were sold out in mere minutes and their fan engagement even got the event trending on Twitter, setting new benchmarks for the brand.

Live-commerce is fun, fresh and exciting, and done right, this novel channel can reap rich rewards for businesses. By reaching customers with the most accessible technology, engaging them with KOLs and gamifying their shoppertainment, brands can level up their live commerce to deliver the best e-commerce experiences.