China Returns to Normality and Brands Turn to Livestreaming


Taobao Live reported +110% of its livestreaming activity. With offline businesses down, marketplaces and platforms began looking for better ways to engage customers


This past month livestreaming e-commerce platforms saw a sharp rise in brand activity as as providers slowly resumed their activities and looked for ways to reach consumers in the midst of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

For example Taobao Live reported in early February that its livestream sessions on the platform had increased by 110% compared to the same period last year. According to data, driving that growth was the surge of businesses using online tools to maintain sales and engagement with consumers while their physical stores remained shuttered and millions were confined to their homes to prevent further spread of the virus.

Despite a drop in new cases of infections, virus fears still loom. More time is needed to bring economic activities and production levels back to normal, but public facilities, retail stores, offices and schools throughout the country are now cautiously reopening after an extended closure.


1. Innovation is the key word  

For producers across different industries, livestreaming has already  become an important tool not only to offset the decline in offline business, in particular in last weeks. But now also encourages creativity in marketing and developing customer relationships.

This month, livestreaming platforms users have seen chefs broadcasting cooking tutorials in restaurant kitchens, real-estate agents giving tours of apartments, celebrities and singers performing in an online concert from their homes, rural farmers promoting their fruits and vegetables and even auto dealers such as BMW showcasing the interior of luxury cars.

Once again Alibaba is the forerunner. Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant decided removing barriers among Alibaba business units, such as DingTalk, Tmall, Taobao and Juhuasuan, to connect eslay all accounts due to create an ecosystem fully connected to all levels as well as providing training and marketing resources.


2. Brands before go online, now go live

livestreaming is not only the ultimate entertainment format but it is also the internet’s next form of digital communication. It is coming from China to reshape the whole e-commerce industry one stream after the other. That’s why every big e-commerce player such as Pinduoduo, Xiaohongshu and more decided to embrace this trend. How brands can maximize live streaming for successful Marketing and E-commerce in China ?  And Why live-streaming is so welcomed in China?

First, livestreaming is the “go-to” option for Chinese consumers when seeking out new products and deciding on what to buy. It is an essential part of the discovery journey, unlike for consumers in Western countries. Second, livestreaming allows experts to demonstrate the products when being used and talk through their functions in the liveliest way possible. Meanwhile, the audience can ask questions and receive explanations instantly, leading to immediate purchases. Besides, there’s a feeling of authenticity that comes from live streaming.

That’s why livestreaming is not just a standalone marketing tool but can be used strategically alongside other online resources to drive sales for new products. On Feb. 13, Xiaomi tapped Taobao Live, among other livestream channels, to broadcast the launch of its new smartphone, Mi 10, from its Beijing headquarters. Adidas also hosted an exclusive online debut of its limited-edition Superstar sneaker during its Super Brand Day last week. Its “See Now, Buy Now” stream, which lets consumers make real-time purchases of featured items from their mobile phones, drew 2.23 million viewers and generated more than RMB200 million in sales in 10 hours.


3. Cooking show due fight the storm

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Novel coronavirus outbreak has also taken a heavy toll on the restaurant business. Generally, earnings over the Spring Festival holiday represented about 15% of the annual revenue of China’s food and beverage industry. But this year according to the newest China Cuisine Association report, consumers canceled about 94% of food orders ahead of Chinese New Year. Beijing-based restaurant chain Meizhou Dongpo, for example, said it canceled 11,144 table reservations across its 100-plus stores during Jan. 21-30 and lost about RMB17 million over the Spring Festival period.

With offline business at a standstill, Meizhou Dongpo decided to virtually connect with consumers and drive sales to its online store. Its chefs appeared in livestreams to show viewers how to make traditional delicacies like homemade glutinous rice balls ahead of the Lantern Festival. This allowed the brand to share its craft with fans and receive direct feedback on things such as popular dishes. The sessions also directed consumers to products like braised pork belly in the chain’s Tmall flagship store, creating another revenue stream for the restaurant.



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