Revolutionizing Retail: Live Shopping in Singapore


Live shopping is an interactive form of home shopping where consumers are able to communicate with their salesperson and make their purchases in real time through a webcast. This can be done in a variety of ways: audio, video, multimedia, and even using chat. Live shopping allows consumers to ask questions or seek information about the products that they want to buy. With the answers that they receive, it creates customer satisfaction and confidence that the products they intend to purchase are the right ones. Live shopping, whether done formally or informally, generates increased contact between the salesperson and the customer, and it provides a greater sense of community for the customer. Live shopping often uses tactics such as auctioning to attract and encourage customers to stay curious about the products and the sellers. This can be a good strategy for retailers as they can create special events to clear off old stocks and promote new products while creating an image or popularity with customers about their shop.

Firstly, we have an overview of live shopping and its importance in revolutionizing retail stores in Singapore with the concept of live streaming┬áSingapore. Technology has brought and created a whole new experience and ways of doing our daily activities, work, and even shopping. It has changed consumers’ behavior and how retail stores will have to attract and make their consumers interested in their products.

Overview of Live Shopping

Currently, there are a few different platforms used for live shopping. In some cases, retailers host live streams on their own websites. Live shopping events are also conducted within online marketplaces, typically around a specific product sale. Online retailers may also use third-party video streaming services and link to product pages that are separate from the video stream.

In its simplest form, live shopping is the combination of live streaming┬áSingapore┬ávideo and ecommerce. Sellers promote products by interacting with buyers in real time. Essentially, it’s a marketing channel in which sellers can demonstrate products and create urgency to buy through live video. Buyers can communicate with sellers and other buyers, ask questions about products and make purchase decisions while the stream is live.

Live shopping, in its many forms, is quickly becoming an essential part of retail strategies. Although live shopping via streaming services is a newer development in the Western world, it has been a key component of retail strategies in Asian markets for years. To understand how to integrate live shopping into Western retail practices, it’s important to know the basics of how live shopping works.

Importance of Live Streaming in Retail

The simplicity of live shopping is a beautiful thing, where all the customer needs to do is sit back and watch the broadcast, and through a few simple clicks, they can make a purchase. These clicks aren’t just any clicks; viewers are directly led to the purchase of a product through links displayed on the stream, which can be implemented to practically any e-commerce store. The viewer can purchase the product being broadcasted without needing to visit a physical store, and often for a better price than in-store. This helps the consumer associate purchasing the product with a positive and entertaining experience, while never leaving the comfort of their own home. This sense of comfort and novelty is especially effective with today’s audience, where it is not uncommon for a modern consumer of any age to do a considerable amount of shopping online. After the purchase is made, there is a good chance the product will be delivered to the consumer’s house within just a few days, reinforcing associations of the product and purchasing it with a positive experience.

Live streaming has become an increasingly popular marketing tool, thanks to its proven efficiency in increasing engagement and dwell time. Adopting a live shopping strategy can be very fruitful for a retailer, especially in Singapore where the e-commerce market is expected to triple in revenue to a whopping US$7.58 billion by 2025. The method of live broadcasting an event to the audience in real time is commonly related to platforms such as Twitch and YouTube, but the application of live streaming in retail is a whole new playing field and is being pioneered by Asian retailers. Live streaming an event to sell a product is not a new concept, but with the technological advancements over the past decade, it has become a new and viable method to increase sales for a retailer and revitalize interest in a product.

Benefits and Challenges of Live Shopping

For a consumer, the biggest challenge of live shopping is adapting psychologically to a new mode of shopping. The tradition of physical shopping is a habit inherent to consumers. To artificially recreate the ambiance of a store on the internet is a difficult task. When a store environment is nonexistent or different, the consumer’s mood and buying behavior may be changed. Although technology has advanced to allow methods of live shopping that are very similar to physically going to a store, intercepting a consumer to try these technologies and to keep using them can be tough. A big issue with live shopping is the necessity of a larger bandwidth. As the environment and content become richer, there is a higher demand on network resources. Japan, a nation often considered to be on the cutting edge of technology and a good testing ground for new technology, has seen various attempts at live shopping initiatives, with varying degrees of success largely due to network constraints. In nations with poor internet infrastructure, there may be a technological divide wherein live shopping is only available for certain demographics.

The video conferencing technology has numerous benefits for consumers, but perhaps the biggest advantage is the convenience offered. The consumer can now ‘go’ to a retail store at any time without leaving their home. Homebound individuals may possibly still shop and take advantage of the provision of goods not available in their living area. Also, with the widespread usage of mobile phones, now a consumer can, in essence, shop in any situation. For example, students can shop while having lunch after school, or a spouse can shop while waiting to pick up their partner. The time-saving benefit of not needing to travel to a store means consumers now have more time for leisure and recreation. Shopping also becomes more interactive. Since the consumer shops from a phone, they can communicate instantly with others and get their opinion of purchases. This is a direct contrast to going to a store, where hectic modern environments often discourage conversation with strangers and weak cell phone reception makes instant communication difficult.

Benefits for Retailers

Increase sales conversion: An increase in the conversion of visitor to buyer is the most sought after result for a website owner. The live shopping audience of both vendors and software providers were unanimous in their experience of significantly increased sales conversion when using live shopping compared to traditional online marketing tactics. One vendor reported that the conversion rate for visitor to buyer was 600% higher than traditional online marketing methods but that the traffic to his website was decreased by 80%. This suggests that live shopping has the potential to be used as a sole marketing method or to supplement it by reducing the amount of traffic required to generate a sale.

Eliminate the need for dedicated sales staff: A traditional retail store with four staff working in sales and service would require a weekly wage bill of at least $1200. In comparison with a website that sells the same product, staff are no longer required. Live shopping facilitates that same level of customer service without requiring additional staff. The presenters are also able to interact with multiple shoppers at once and feedback suggests that the shoppers do not notice the difference in levels of service delivered. The company importing Persian rugs to sell in Singapore found in its initial experience videotaping their salespeople in action that they had to employ a Mandarin speaker to do the presentation and that it was too costly to trial. This prevented any further attempt and live shopping may have suited their needs perfectly.

Benefits for Consumers

Shoppers are able to interact with the hosts of the shopping program and ask questions about featured products using real-time instant messaging. Hosts can use the information about consumers’ needs and preferences to tailor their sales pitches on products, and the live shopping experience becomes more consumer-driven. With added features such as consumer product review submission and product forums, the live shopping experience can be an educational experience for consumers to make more informed shopping decisions. Live shopping allows consumers an opportunity to visualize and understand the functionality and features of products as though they were shopping in an offline retail environment. Live demonstrations of product features and benefits provide consumers with a clearer idea of what the actual product is like compared to viewing static pictures and text descriptions. Consumers are able to see how products are being used and its performance in real-time. This additional product information can reduce doubt and anxiety about the product that would potentially hinder online purchasing, hence increasing the consumer’s confidence in making better purchase decisions. The ability to instantly purchase products at any time during the live shopping experience provides increased convenience and accessibility for consumers to shop at any time from anywhere.

Challenges Faced by Retailers in Live Shopping

Another key issue that will act as a barrier to entry to live shopping is the nature of the merchants’ products. Live shopping is likely to be most effective for retailers of low involvement and impulse purchase items. This is because the nature of the purchasing process in live shopping is very different from purchasing through standard internet shopping. This creates a situation where consumers find it entertaining to bid and purchase low involvement items. The interactive nature of live shopping also lends itself to impulse purchase products, as consumers are required to make quick decisions in auctions and limited time sales and may be influenced by the seller in the decision-making process.

This is a substantial barrier because without a clear understanding of what is involved in live shopping, retailers are less likely to pursue it. Just some of the aspects of live shopping that remain unclear to retailers include the procedures involved in joining a live shopping network, the fees that merchants would have to pay, and what sort of resources would be required to run a successful campaign. A lack of information in these areas makes it difficult for retailers to make informed decisions on whether live shopping is right for them and how they should go about doing it.

Challenges faced by retailers in the live shopping sector are severe and diverse and are still capable of acting as substantial barriers to potential entrants. One of the key issues facing retailers considering live shopping lies in the availability of information and researching live shopping activities. There is a shroud of mystery surrounding how live shopping actually works and what would be involved in setting up a live shopping campaign.

Future of Live Shopping in Singapore

Another possibility would be to integrate live shopping with existing e-commerce solutions. An example of such a solution could be the utilization of live shopping videos as a sort of preview session to an existing product found on an e-commerce website. During the live video, customers could be enticed through special offers or discounts to purchase the product on the website instantly. This would help to resolve issues of payment and transaction in live shopping discussed earlier.

An example of such an innovation would be the utilization of mobile applications and smart devices. With the recent popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices, businesses can leverage this and develop applications that allow customers on the move to tune into live shopping channels and videos. This would help to further increase the convenience of shopping from home, as customers would no longer need to be in front of a PC to do so.

Live shopping in Singapore at the current moment is still relatively undeveloped, with the technology utilized to facilitate the process being rather basic. However, in time to come, the technology will improve, bringing about more innovative methods to enable live shopping services in Singapore.

Technological advancements have improved the way companies operate. One recently adopted medium by businesses is live shopping. Live shopping has just started to become popular in Singapore and is in its early growth stage, with a few tech startups beginning to offer similar services to those found in other countries.

Innovations in Live Shopping Technology

One of the most exciting developments in live shopping is the ability to buy products through MasterCard, VISA, PayPal, or internet banking. This puts consumers in an intelligent system that displays shopping suggestions dynamically, aligning consumers and retailers for purchases. It creates a virtual community of consumers and a virtual mall. This online shopping environment provides several innovative technologies that can be accessed anytime or anywhere. With a television-like online shopping environment facilitated through a game console, consumers can enjoy a video broadcast of products being displayed. In addition, they can use a suite of intelligent agents to bid on products in an automated manner. When they return home, they will be notified when any predefined products go on sale. Live shopping agents, developed by the Office of Technology Development in conjunction with InteList, cater to different consumer needs. These agents are already being used in the virtual community mentioned previously. Intelligent mobile agents are a new and exciting initiative in m-commerce. This is a natural extension of the most popular phase in e-commerce to date: mobile commerce. With intelligent mobile agents, it will become possible for consumers to effectively shop anywhere and anytime with an automated software agent.

Potential Impact on Traditional Retail

Famous Singapore disciplinary mistress Shireena Shahrin, 26, who is also a self-proclaimed online shopping sifu, enjoys the interaction and entertainment that comes with live shopping and is eager to experience a smarter and more satisfying way to stock up on her purchases.

Daniel Ho, 38, owner of Theseacret menswear, a small retail business in Singapore, considers live shopping as an ideal channel to jumpstart direct sales and introduce a new buying experience. He thinks that it will be easier to differentiate our products, talk to customers, and get direct feedback so that we can quickly find out what is good and what needs to be improved.

Ray Ferguson, group CEO at Singapore-based retail consultancy Servntire Global, identifies the ability to tell the ‘story’ behind the brand and the product in its authentic environment as an appealing way to engage the customer. Li believes there is also huge potential for live shopping to support direct online sales, brand building, and marketing for businesses. The ability to sell products straight from a show and ultimately engage and retain more customers is an attractive proposition for retailers compared to the expensive and indirect process of taking customers out of their house and into a bricks and mortar retail store.

Consumers can watch the shows from the comfort of their own home, and since they can ask questions, get answers, and advice in real-time, live shopping is able to recreate the authentic shopping experience more closely than the traditional e-commerce model. This on-demand, personal, and interactive nature of live shopping is what is appealing to Singapore retailers and industry experts.

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