Live Streaming: How to Boost your E-commerce Strategy in China

ASI Solutions’ purpose has always been to open the doors of Chinese market to companies eager to expand their activity on the Chinese market. Even though our main expertise revolves around the logistics field, we acquired a strong knowledge of the marketing trends here in China, thanks to our 10-year experience.

Today we will introduce you to live streaming. It may not be a new concept for you: it has increased in popularity these last years, through video games or musical shows directly streamed on Youtube, Instagram or Twitch, the popular media for live streaming in Europe and the US. But in China, the scope of this trend exceeds what we know in the West. Live streaming has indeed overcome many traditional media. The “Entertainmerce”, the fusion between entertainment and e-commerce is hitting Chinese consumers hard, transforming their way of consuming.

Live streaming plays a big role, that any company targeting Chinese market should be aware of. Today ASI Solutions decrypts the phenomenon for you!

What Is Live Streaming in China?

Live streaming had started with gaming but became more developed and opened to a variety of contents nowadays. It is not anymore only limited to pro-gamers, who earn their revenue from advertisement, sponsoring and number of views. Filming has shifted from backward to frontward camera, in a selfie live: you can watch popular streamers filming themselves singing, dancing, eating, or even driving. Viewers can send directly their comments, that the web celebrity can see in live and reply directly. The more they interact with their viewers, the more they will prompt to send them tip, in the shape of virtual gifts that the streamer can convert into real money. Popular among connected youngsters, these streamers are mostly millennials (born 1990s), as their viewers. Around 456 million of people had already watched a live streaming, which is more than a half of Chinese internet users.

“Entertainmerce”: How live streaming has linked entertainment and e-commerce.

But what is the most interesting is how e-commerce platforms have been engaged in China with live streamers, and are aiming at reaching consumers through them. Some live streamers, known as KOL (Key Opinion Leaders), are specialized in online selling. Through their live stream channel, they will introduce products to their fans – mostly fashion and cosmetic goods, while this practice is also developing in the food and services sectors - presenting their advantages and replying the viewers’ questions. Chinese consumers are demanding more transparency, sored of buying fake or goods which look nothing like the pictures. Live streaming enables them to better judge the product, avoiding bad surprise upon receiving it. They can ask questions in the live chat, which are answered instantly by the customer service. Moreover, a KOL with an important fan-base will inspire trust in her/his choices, even for new viewers, since appearing closer to the public.

These KOLs have been entertaining potential buyers, and these potentials became real customers: live shopping has a high conversion rate, sometimes up to 30% - even 50% as some platforms released. Live streaming offers interactive contents between the KOL and the viewers, but also between the viewers themselves. In one click, the viewer can add the good in his/her cart or be redirected to the shop page. When a viewer adds the product to his/her cart, it will appear on the screen where all the other viewer can see it. This strategy has considerably fostered impulse buying: people were not thinking about getting the product before watching the live, but the KOL show and viewer’s community convinced them.

Many foreign brands present in the Chinese market now rely on KOLs to push their branding and sales. China counts hundreds of live streaming apps, and the two biggest ecommerce platforms, JD and Tmall are hosting daily live streaming. For relatively important sales, such as 11.11, e-commerce platforms can host and stream big fashion shows that gather many luxury brands.

How to choose your KOL?

First of all, the choice of the platform matters. If your main goal is to drive sales, streaming on e-commerce platform is accurate. If you are targeting brand awareness, other platforms might be more relevant, as they are hosting more creative contents.

You also need to care about your KOL’s fame level, as it will impact the number of viewers and potential sales. More importantly, it will impact the cost of your campaign. Some KOLs already are big celebrities: actors and actress, singers, etc. They thus already have an important fan-base, bringing you much more visibility. They will cost you millions of RMB per single campaign. Middle range KOLs are composed of Internet celebrity. Some of them have their own shop on e-commerce platforms, where they resell their stylish clothes on: half of the bestselling lady’s clothes shop on Taobao are held by fashion KOLs (FBIC, 2016).

Generally speaking, you would be better of choosing a KOL used to represent the kind of product you sell. Some KOLs are well-known for their face as visual, while some would have built their reputation thanks to their expertise in some fields. Even if 80% of the viewers are millennials, keep in mind that some streamer may have a more segmented audience. You will have to find a streamer that have a viewer-base that fits to your target. Plan the content of the live up ahead, thoroughly brief the streamer you are working with, and focus on providing content he/she can use to create a story involving your products as for the message to reach Chinese viewers better.

Forget what you know about marketing: you will need a new strategy that will drive your business according to the peculiarities of the Chinese market.

As your one-stop-shop in China, ASI Solutions can link you to the best marketing agencies based in Shanghai. We work hand in hand with Chinese e-commerce specialists, used to partnering with KOLs to drive brand awareness and sales, and able to provide you with the perfect e-commerce solution to reach your targets!

At ASI Solutions, we are also used to working with e-commerce platforms and take care of your product from origin to your final customer’s doorstep!

Contact us to starting your business on the Chinese market.

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