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May 3, 2021

Maryam Ghahremani, CEO of Bambuser: Why Livestream Shopping Is the Future of Ecommerce

Written by: Lavender Nguyen
“You put a layer of interactivity and shopping on top of video or live video … Instead of just having a video, you actually add interactivity in terms of audio, video chat … you can send emojis, you can have a dialogue with the customers.”            — Maryam Ghahremani, CEO of Bambuser

In 2007, four young Swedish men with the same vision of livestreaming from mobile phones found each other on the internet. Together, they built the world’s first interactive livestreaming platform, Bambuser. 

Bambuser allows users to livestream videos and share them with others. It’s been used by thousands of Associated Press journalists worldwide for everything from sporting events to drone shots.

 In 2019, Bambuser launched the livestream shopping product that enables brands to “innovate traditional shopping experiences and connect with consumers in a highly personalized way.”

Maryam Ghahremani, the CEO of Bambuser, appeared on a recent episode of the Unpacking the Digital Shelf podcast, “Live Shopping on the Rise.” Here’s her perspective on the benefits of livestream video shopping, why it’s the future of ecommerce, and how brands can get on board. 

Livestream Shopping Is On the Rise in China

Livestream shopping has experienced massive growth in China, which is where ecommerce began. In 2020, it accounted for 20% of the total Chinese ecommerce market, according to Ghahremani. In other words, 20% of goods sold in China last year came through live shopping.  

Will It Become Big in the Western Market?

Ghahremani says livestream shopping brings the same results to businesses in the Western market. 

The average watching time for streaming videos is nine minutes, which is “three times or four times higher than if you’re just browsing to a website or just look at something,” Ghahremani shares. 

About 25% to 30% of viewers will leave comments or ask questions while watching the videos. Ghahremani also notes a 30% increase in the add-to-cart rate across all brands.

“We couldn’t believe in our eyes in terms of the sales, the engagement, and the conversion.”                                              — Maryam Ghahremani, CEO of Bambuser

Why Livestream Shopping Is a Growth Engine for Ecommerce

Video live shopping encourages consumers to stay for a long time to watch, show interactions, ask questions, and have a dialogue with a brand. It also enables them to add products to their cart from the video, making shopping much easier.

Ghahremani made an interesting comparison between recorded videos, HTML text, and livestreams. A recorded video and a static HTML page with a picture and text provide no chances for customers to interact with brands. Meanwhile, livestream shopping offers that possibility — it allows brands to chat and talk with their customers in real time. 

It provides an environment where a consumer can get every one of their questions answered. “I think that the big innovation and why it works in the Western world as it does in China, is because it's a human behavior that you move it essentially from the store to digital store,” Ghahremani states.

Another reason livestream shopping works is its authenticity. “It’s real ... you can’t make a dress look better, even if you try it because it’s live ... you can’t change the colors or make it a little bit more longer,” Ghahremani explains.

Livestream shopping doesn’t just bring digital into the in-store environment but also brings the in-store environment into the experience — a higher degree of entertainment value. That makes it beneficial, especially for fashion, beauty, home electronics, food, sports, and home décor brands.  

Livestream Shopping Improves the Customer Experience

Today’s customers use information from social media and ecommerce sites to make a purchase decision. For example, a person will pop between a social media app like Instagram and then head to YouTube to see a tutorial or a demo. If they like a product, they’ll go to the brand website to buy it. Livestream shopping shortens the customer journey. 

“You're going to livestream, you can ask, answer your questions. You can look at the demo, you can interact in the demo, you get answers to all of your questions and you can add them back in the video. So you don't have to pop between YouTube, Instagram, and a brand website, because you actually do everything on your own website.”                                       —  Maryam Ghahremani, CEO of Bambuser 

For products like home electronics or machinery, the sales funnel is often quite long due to high prices. But by taking advantage of livestream shopping, you can improve your sales funnel. For example, Samsung invited influencers and celebrities to their studio to talk about their latest Galaxy smartphone in a livestream. “The interaction was super high,” Ghahremani emphasizes. 

How Brands Can Start Implementing Video Live Shopping

Ghahremani encourages brands to create a landing page and put a livestream shopping player on it. It’ll be “the most converting and engaging landing page on your whole website,” she says. 

Bambuser offers the simulcast or multidomain feature, allowing brands to distribute their live streams to as many places as possible on the internet and broaden their reach. In doing so, your social channels become very active, and you push traffic from social to multiple sites

The best part? You don't need to create content for several different channels — just do it once. Samsung applied this very well as the brand did video streaming on their website, a media outlet, and retailers who sell their products. 

Make sure everything is authentic and transparent. Have a dedicated team to test livestream shopping to check if it gets your customers excited and engaged with your brand. 

Livestream shopping is still new, and its true potential is yet to be uncovered. But it’s in your best interest to become a first mover. “When you find a new channel and a new format, you should be quick and you should try … it’s trial and error,” Ghahremani says.

Listen to the full podcast episode to learn more about livestream shopping and how to use it to grow your ecommerce business.