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Shopping Live at Home: The Rise of Live Streaming E-Commerce

By Alyanna Silvestre
Published February 20, 2021

In 2020, we witnessed the acceleration of the retail industry’s digital transformation and the rise of online shopping as people started to put more trust into digital tools in the 'new normal' triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic. While Filipinos are no stranger to the idea of online shopping due to the presence of online marketplaces Lazada and Shopee and players in other categories like ZALORA and BeautyMNL, entrepreneurs had to reinvent themselves and their brands by fully embracing technology.

Taking a new form

To cater to these rapidly-changing spending patterns, more brands and agencies welcomed a new avenue for marketing online: live streaming e-commerce, the broadcast of a live video in real-time over social media or other online platforms to promote and sell goods.

It does sound similar to the home TV shopping that we are all used to where the host convinces the viewers to dial the number flashed onscreen to avail discounts while demonstrating products. However, while the idea of providing a closer look at the features of a product remains, there is a noticeable difference when it comes to convenience.

Through live streaming e-commerce, aside from the fact that consumers get to enjoy shopping from the comfort and safety of their homes, entrepreneurs are able to connect with their followers and access an even wider audience without being restricted by health protocols and location.

Live commerce also improves buying experience as it allows entrepreneurs to interact with the digital shoppers and address their questions and inquiries right away. Moreover, this trend boosts the retailers’ ability to convert engagement to actual sales as potential buyers can conveniently secure the products they prefer by adding those items to their virtual carts without the hassle of going through a telephone hotline.

The Changemakers

Online shopping platform giants Lazada and Shopee were among the first ones to host their own live stream shows.

Lazada successfully instilled direct contact between sellers and customers through their LazLive feature. During the ECQ period, LazLive curated more content and leveraged Lazada’s ‘shoppertainment’ technology with a host of content output daily under QuaranTV and a variety of in-app games to let consumers experience grocery-shopping and live concerts while staying indoors.

Shopee, on the other hand, found a way to allow their sellers to interact with their customers right then and there through ShopeeLive. This in-app feature has been popular among Filipinos in 2020, with the company recording 450 million views during its groundbreaking 12.12 Big Christmas Sale.

Seeing the previous developments of these two giants' initiatives and being aware of the popularity of live streaming in China with shopping website Taobao even before the pandemic, Hiyasmin Neri-Soyao decided to establish the live streaming company Shoppertainment Live in 2019.

Together with her partners who are also part of the e-commerce industry and with her background in traditional home shopping through “O Shopping,” Soyao was able to successfully transition into live commerce and eventually become the pioneers of this trend in 2019. She was able to maximize the potential of the see-now-buy-now market and help amplify different brands’ digital presence.

Through Shoppertainment Live, brands can have their products showcased by the company’s results-driven pool of shopping hosts called Influensales in live streaming episodes simultaneously broadcasted across digital platforms of your choice.

The future of retail

According to the “e-Conomy SEA 2020” report from Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, two of the sectors that have largely contributed to the growth of the Philippines’ digital economy are e-commerce and online media. It also showed that e-commerce has driven significant growth in the country at 55%. This data, backed by the successes of online shopping platforms in the Philippines, clearly magnified the resilience of the country’s digital economy.

The Philippines is expected to outsize its Asian peers in terms of e-commerce by 2025 as the DTI saw online retailer registration soar in January 2021.


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