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Live Streaming In E-commerce: Could It Be The Future of Retail?

November 6, 2020

E-commerce and Live Streaming: Where is the meeting point?

Over the past decade, significant disruption has rolled-out transformative changes in retail and e-commerce. An interesting example is how e-commerce websites are actively integrating video live streams with their product offerings. Live streaming in e-commerce began in 2014 when the Chinese fashion e-commerce website Mogujie started experimenting with it. Alibaba’s Taobao, the world’s biggest e-commerce website, followed soon after that. 

Within the live streaming mentioned above, hosts put on different types of clothes, and users were able to interact with the hosts through live chat windows. Viewers interacted actively, asking the hosts how the fabric looked and felt to them, and even requested hosts to try on items with different sets of accessories – giving it a completely real-time experience and feel

The brands observed that the customers who were viewing the products in real-time showed a higher propensity to make a purchase. 

Over time, as the market and competition has grown to become even more complex and diverse, brands across the globe have started to experiment more and more with live streaming. Therefore, it has emerged as an essential component of the brand strategy today.

The emergence of online payment mechanisms and e-wallet has made this even more feasible and recurrent. Many consumers display the propensity to make impulse purchases, and with e-wallet, live streaming capitalizes on this specific trend. It works for businesses through 3 primary mechanisms – by entertaining the consumers, engaging with them, and educating them on the brand’s products, and activating the sales cycle. 

The trend of live streaming in e-commerce is already reaping significant benefits for e-commerce brands in China. The concept behind live streaming is pretty familiar and straightforward – videos are an incredible way to market a product or service, and mostly when they are done over social media or websites

The Covid-19 pandemic has only given a massive boost to this live streaming in the e-commerce trend. With retail brands unable to engage with their customers intimately as before, and unable to offer them the in-store experience. Live Streaming products provide an excellent way for brands to connect with their buyers, help them to regain the human touch, and replicate the experience on their digital channels. Social platforms, such as TikTok and Snapchat, have shown the way for brands to make pitches and explore sales possibilities. 

Amazon is also offering live streaming through its Amazon Live – hosts provide explanations for the myriad types of products on offer on the platform.

E-commerce players have usually relied on high-quality product photographs to convey information to the customer. Videos help the sellers go one step further and provide a more detailed presentation to the customer. This is especially relevant for complicated merchandise and also fashion items – where customers prefer to understand the product more deeply and intimately – that the video can provide and support. Videos enable the consumer to check out the product in greater detail as well as to see how they can interact with the product if bought by witnessing how it works in action. 

Live Streaming Benefits to E-commerce

So, we can see that live-streaming provides the following significant benefits to brands 

  • Boosts brand engagement and conversion rate
  • Enhances the customer experience
  • Builds credibility
  • Improves the virality of the content because such content tends to get shared more times
  • Provides answers to pressing questions from consumers quickly and effectively
  • All of these help boost the brand’s digital presence.

Presently, the e-commerce websites are using video live stream in the following 3 mechanisms

  • How to use tutorials
  • Influencer reviews and unboxing
  • Product Launches

Livestream in e-commerce is going global -there is no doubt about it. Brands are grappling to understand how to integrate this tactic into their existing marketing strategy. Will the live stream become an essential component of e-commerce, or will it remain an intermittent tactic?

Regardless of whether brands see a seasonal value in investing in this tactic, or they take it up on a long-term basis, it is evident that the brands need to invest in their network infrastructures and update technologies to capitalize better on this trend. Live streaming invariably requires high quality of streaming as well as low buffering rates. Good video quality must ensure that it is adaptable for viewing on mobile devices as well in weak network areas. It will be crucial to succeeding with this strategy and at the same time, live-streaming requires larger bitrate and data transfer. Streaming live is a task that requires large bitrate transmission, especially high-quality videos. So how to manage this conundrum?

A CDN can come very handy here in ensuring that your users are getting high quality and consistent streaming quality.

For delivering low latency video streams reliably and consistently, you cannot rely on a single server. 

A CDN utilizes a network of geographically distributed servers, which helps to remove the bottleneck of traffic that can result when the media files are delivered over a live stream. How does the CDN work?

A CDN caches the file on its multiple Points of Presence (PoPs), instead of storing it on the single central server. So, when the user accesses the stream, the content is delivered from the cache storage located closest to the user. 

This configuration is more scalable when the traffic increases since the servers are located strategically and therefore, the content is optimized for faster delivery, with the least-possible latency. This distributed content delivery system helps optimize the infrastructure to speed up the users’ access to information. 

CDN is a quick and reliable method to deliver the content to the user, minimizing buffering and delays to a vast audience across the globe. Streaming video through a CDN also helps to prevent DDoS attacks, which happens when hackers flood a site or server with numerous requests in a short period, causing it to get overwhelmed and crash. 

At Medianova, we bring years of experience and expertise in delivering to several large organizations across the globe. With around 50 PoPs in 24 countries worldwide, we provide consistent, reliable, and scalable support for the live stream to many corporations across the globe. Partnering with you, we will help you to provide high-quality video streaming services to your users with ease of mind and a cost-effective strategy. 

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