Live shopping on the internet: a trend with a future?

Live shopping on the internet: a trend with a future?

Live shopping on the internet: Is it a trend with a future? ‘We expect that by 2030, ten percent of online commerce will take place in this form,’ says Richard Geibel, Director of the E-Commerce Institute Cologne, in an interview with Judith Schulte-Loh, WDR5. Below is the transcript.

live shopping

Judith Schulte-Loh, WDR5: For many of us, this has become a part of everyday life. Going to the store for shopping is no longer necessary, especially during weeks like the current Black Friday week when crowded stores can be easily avoided by shopping online. However, sitting alone in front of a laptop is not necessarily an event. But even in that scenario, retailers have come up with various ideas. We are talking about live shopping, and it sounds interesting.

China is already a major player in online commerce. To discuss the situation in our region, I spoke with Richard, the Director of the E-Commerce Institute in Cologne. Tele-shopping has been around for a long time, and with live shopping, retailers utilize company websites, apps, or social platforms. What’s the idea behind this?

Richard Geibel: Yes, we all know that online commerce has expanded significantly, especially during the pandemic. At the same time, we are social beings and enjoy shopping together in stores. It has been shown that the combination of both worlds is the solution.

There are two major areas merging here. On one hand, we have social media platforms, and on the other hand, there is traditional e-commerce. Social media now sells products through major platforms, handing over the fulfillment, or the execution of these trade processes, to established players in e-commerce.

Judith Schulte-Loh, WDR5: To be clear, this makes payment much easier for me as a buyer when I participate in live shopping.

Richard Geibel: It does make it easier, and there’s a special trick. Ideally, the customer doesn’t even notice it because three problems are being solved. Social media platforms no longer need to redirect customers; they want them to stay on their site, which is also known as the stickiness of the site. The customer finds it more convenient; they don’t have to jump around. And the management, meaning the retailers, find it easier because the connection is established in the background. This merging is today called Social Commerce.

Judith Schulte-Loh, WDR5: So, there’s no time to think and hesitate anymore. We all know the feeling when going online to pay, and there are steps in between where you question whether you really need the item. The risk of making a purchase suddenly becomes much greater.

Richard Geibel: You are right; there is a risk. However, it is more convenient for customers, and they want that. Think about a large American platform with the “1-click buy” feature. This is happening right now. We also talk about the customer’s journey, which used to be very complicated, involving five phases: the customer needs to be stimulated, go to the site, look at the product, research it, add it to the cart, and then two-thirds of the products in the cart are not purchased. The journey stops even though there were many steps and o lot of effort. The innovation happening now is the customer moment. In a moment, you see the influencer, like the jacket, click on it, order it, and it’s delivered from the social media platform through the execution by partners in e-commerce.

Judith Schulte-Loh, WDR5: Will I, as a customer, be more engaged and involved? Can I interact?

Richard Geibel: Absolutely. The big players in e-commerce, such as the Otto Group, Zalando, and especially Amazon, don’t want to be left behind. They are saying, “We are doing it the other way around. We are bringing elements of social media to our sites.” This means that if you enter “ Live,” for example, you land on a page where you see influencers, have social interactions, can like, have chats, find recommendation marketing, and can express your opinion. For example, Heidi Klum sold her Halloween costumes there and gave makeup tips.

Judith Schulte-Loh, WDR5: Already a success in China. Do you think it will catch on here?

Richard Geibel: We expect that by 2030, not too far away, in six years, about two-thirds, or 60%, of the e-commerce market, which is around 90 billion euros in Germany alone, will be handled by major platforms. Less than 30% will be through individual separate websites, and now, 10% will be through this social commerce, which includes live shopping. So, 10%, nine billion euros, will be conducted through this new form of customer interaction.

Judith Schulte-Loh, WDR5: So, live shopping is also on the rise in Germany, according to Richard Geibel, Director of the E-Commerce Institute in Cologne.

You can find the interview with Richard Geibel on the WDR website.

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