DURING its early days, online shopping was straightforward and uncomplicated — one would search for an item, click on it to add to the cart, pay, and wait for it to be delivered — but today, online platforms like Lazada have found that by providing entertainment within their app via games and livestreams is an effective way to engage with customers and turn their clicks into sales.
“If you make the shopping experience more interactive and engaging and more entertaining on e-commerce platform like Lazada, it’s a way for people not only to shop also play, watch, and essentially it’s a way to make them stay longer on the platform,” Neil Trinidad, Lazada Philippines’ chief marketing officer, said in an interview with BusinessWorld on July 24.
Lazada started introducing games and livestream content on its app last year and Mr. Trinidad noted that they’ve seen more sellers do livestreams, something that they’ve seen become commonplace in other platforms like Alibaba in China (Lazada is part of the Alibaba Group).
Livestream content can be from sellers and brands that want to introduce and promote their products to their viewers — these can be in the form of modelling or demonstrating the product or in the form of concerts, workout sessions, do-it-yourself videos, and game shows where shoppers can interact and engage and sometimes win vouchers or items. Lazada’s livestream content is under the LazLife category on the app.
“Livestream is now the new mainstream [in China]. In Alibaba, they’ve been doing thousands of livestreams [a day] and it’s really been sort of its own economy where brand sellers have been able to engage with their audience,” he explained.
The livestream function was added in March 2019 and its first offering was an online concert by English singer Dua Lipa.
In the Philippines, more than a hundred livestreams are conducted every day, and are steadily increasing, which Mr. Trinidad said is a testament to the format’s popularity and its effectiveness in turning clicks to sales.
“The key metrics we’re looking at livestreams is how many views you are getting. Views are very important,” he said.
A cursory look at the app on Sunday morning as this writer was writing this piece showed that there were 10 livestreams ongoing, each getting at least a hundred viewers with some approaching 200.
What’s interesting about these livestreams is that they cut across categories as Mr. Trinidad pointed out that sellers and brands from the electronic segment, fashion, home living, “and everything else” do go on livestreams to promote their wares. And livestreams have become an important part of selling itself as he said that it’s “a great way to build presence” and to introduce oneself to the market.
“We’ve seen that viewers who have watched a livestream returned [to the same store] the following day,” Mr. Trinidad said, adding that it makes it an effective way to get repeat traffic as 40% of those who viewed a livestream returned to the store the next day.
Such is the popularity of livestreams that Lazada created its own live show, Sing It!, where viewers can sing along with celebrities such as Karylle and Yael Yuzon. The show was created during the early days of the lockdown in March and continues every Saturday.
“We created the show while all of us were working from home. We did it in the span of five days,” Mr. Trinidad said. The shows are typically watched by around 80,000 people.
Other shows created by Lazada were Guess It (inspired by The Price is Right) which was introduced last year, and LazTalent, a reality show held in June searching for “the next livestream star,” with Lazada users getting the chance to win P50,000 and a livestream contract with the platform. Lazada also held a benefit concert called Lazada for Good in April for the benefit of frontliners during the pandemic. — Zsarlene B. Chua