E-commerce is great, but live-streamed sales and entertaining marketing gimmicks are starting to add the ‘shoppertainment’ element …

Over the past 18 months, we have experienced first-hand how the pandemic has triggered digital and e-commerce turning points.

Apart from e-commerce, one type of commerce is also gaining traction: the buying and selling that takes place entirely on social media and associated sites. It accounts for around 20% of South-east Asian consumers’ total online spend across all categories, including clothes and groceries.

Some of the key factors driving this growth include the increase in demand from consumers who have discovered the convenience of shopping on these platforms, as well as the wide adoption of social media worldwide.

On the part of the social media platforms, they have added checkout capabilities, forged partnerships with e-commerce firms to enhance omnichannel retailing, and channeled automation technologies to innovate and expand their platform offerings. This can help merchants to conveniently sell and receive orders while live-streaming across different platforms and adding live bidding and lucky draws as marketing strategies.

It is clear that the rise in social commerce is not a phase. The additional engagement and accessibility it offers has earned it a permanent place in the way consumers shop online.

With that said, here are three strategic social-commerce predictions for 2022 and beyond…

  1. Live streaming to stretch beyond boundaries
    Since the launch of the vaccinated travel lanes, we have seen more live streamers and platforms heading overseas to sell products and merchandise. Recently, a livestreaming sales platform based in Singapore conducted sales in Germany, offering items from bags and jewelry to beauty products.

    The platform operated for 16 days, reportedly selling more than 10,000 items. For those of us who have not traveled for almost two years (even with quarantine-free travel arrangements), not everyone will be keen to take the risk. Therefore, such cross-border live streams allow consumers to connect with their favorite local streamers to purchase a myriad of items from overseas conveniently. We can expect many brands and businesses to take advantage of this growing global opportunity through cross-border live commerce streaming.
  2. Travel and Hospitality will boom from live commerce:
    Our data shows that fashion and apparel rank as the top category of products purchased in South-east Asia on social commerce platforms at 42%, followed by food and beverage at 25%.

    However, businesses in other verticals will adopt live commerce — specifically hospitality and travel. As international borders reopen, we have seen a surge in demand for flights and hotels.

    Travel and hospitality brands can maximize this opportunity and increase competitiveness by putting themselves where consumers are moving to, and experimenting with social commerce.
  3. More businesses and brands set to adopt live commerce as their main sales channel
    As e-commerce offerings expand across every digital platform, competition is intensifying. This means more brands will leverage creative content to stand out and engage their customers, and this is where live commerce becomes an especially valuable tool.

    For example, in the first half of 2021 alone, SHOPLINE Singapore recorded over 17,000 livestreams; over 380,000 orders placed through the platform; and more than 20 million engagements.

    By fusing shopping, entertainment and instant purchasing power, live commerce has transformed retail and become a mainstream sales channel, giving rise to the term ‘shoppertainment’.

    As online shoppers look for experiences beyond just selecting and buying items, the social commerce concept becomes key, with virtual try-ons, contests, quizzes and exclusive promotions holding shoppers’ attention and moving them to purchase.

    This trend shows no sign of slowing, and retailers need to make it part of their omnichannel strategy while ensuring a seamless experience from mobile or laptop to brick-and-mortar store.