As Chinese ecommerce giants continue to innovate to drive sales, live streaming platforms are becoming increasingly popular. Add in the coronavirus pandemic, which saw the country enter a lockdown and all-but-essential travel banned, and it’s clear why shoppers are now obsessed with interacting with their favourite brands online; and spending money!
The chances are that, when you think about ecommerce live streaming, you think back to those awkward shopping channel presenters who’d endlessly plug sub-par products in an attempt to get you to part with your cash. Modern live streaming, however, is a little more advanced, with streams more of an entertainment experience with shopping incorporated.
As trends continue, many companies have launched their own live-streaming sites just for ecommerce, so below, we’ve rounded up some of the biggest and offer advice on each…
Taobao Live is a new player on the block but boasts sales of more than 100 billion RMB in just two years. Owned by Alibaba, the platform rose to prominence during last year’s Singles’ Day, generating an incredible RMB 20 billion ($2.85 billion) during the November 11 shopping event - a figure it will no doubt eclipse during this year’s 11/11 celebrations.
What’s interesting to note is that 71% of Taobao Live’s audience is female and that 72% of the user base is under the age of 34. That makes it ideal for targeting millennials and Gen Z shoppers, but less attractive if you’re aiming for those over the age of 35 - or males. Clothing is the most popular commodity on the app, though categories including parenting and food are growing, too - generally, anything related to beauty and lifestyle will sell well.
Another ecommerce live streaming platform that cannot be ignored is Kuaishou, a site that is heavily dominated by KOLs (key opinion leaders) who will sell products on behalf of their partners and affiliates. According to data from Parklu, 12% of shoppers on the site will buy a product simply to support their favourite influencer - shoppers are switched on to the way in which brands will pay KOLs based on sales volumes - and so are happy to pay for a product that they don’t necessarily want. 28% of purchases on the site are impulse buys, and 54% say that interesting video content was the key to them making a purchase.
Unlike Taobao Live, Kuaishou’s user base is balanced - 54% of shoppers are female and 46% are male - and 64% of all users are from tier three and four cities, meaning they place more value in low-margin, everyday products - think cosmetics, personal care, and food. The platform can be connected to third-party ecommerce sites like Tmall, JD.com, and Taobao, so you don’t need to worry about selling exclusively on a single ecommerce site.
Douyin is the world’s fastest-growing social networking site, known as TikTok in the West, and though it’s predominantly used for sharing funny videos, it’s increasingly being targeted by brands to shift stock. Work with the right influencer and you have the potential for your product to go viral, without needing to pay for Douyin advertising - driving sales.
The site has around 400 million daily active users and counting, and a large percentage of these are women who are interested in ecommerce and shopping. Research shows that Douyin shoppers are most likely to live in first- and second-tier cities, though cheaper products - like everyday healthcare, beauty, and lifestyle products - tend to sell the best.
Douyin has a shopping cart which forms part of its Douyin Stores service, but you can also connect videos to third-party platforms including Tmall, JD.com, Taobao, and Kaola.
Weibo is China’s alternative to Twitter, and the social network has made a number of changes in recent years to increase its revenue. One of those is enhanced ecommerce integration, which forms part of Weibo Stores, where brands can sell their products within the app, rather than having to funnel users to third-party websites. Note that Weibo will take a cut of all sales, though this is a small percentage to cover payment processing.
Any user can host an ecommerce live stream on Weibo, and the social network offers free training for those who want to improve their sales. Although brands can create their own live content for the platform, it’s still best to engage content creators and influencers to help you sell products. Verified users are able to access a dedicated live stream account where they can access additional features like linking to products on-screen to drive sales.
The key to ecommerce success on Weibo is to tap into existing audiences and sell products like clothing, cosmetics, lifestyle products, and food, though you might be able to shift higher-ticket items with the right host and audience. Experiment to see what works.
There you have it - some tips on using live streaming to drive ecommerce sales in China. If you don’t know where to start, reach out to the Chinese marketing experts at Zudu today for a consultation. Give us a call on 01382 690080 to get the ball rolling on a campaign.