Live Streaming and E-commerce — Spectacular success!

Explore live video as a media format and come up with a mobile portrait experience that does live streaming for e-commerce.”

Soumya Suhane
7 min readJul 30, 2019

Live streaming is a beneficial medium which provides transparency. Consumers can see what products actually look like, rather than just generic photoshopped photos the seller found online (which is an extremely common practice).

Live streaming adds a human element to marketing, which can help brands build trust and better relationships with their customers. The informal approach feels more personal because it allows you to interact with your audience in real-time. For e-commerce companies that exist only in the online world, creating a human connection to your target audience is essential.

Background & Research

Several years back, Live streaming became an integral part of the users consume digital content. It’s everywhere. From Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to sports matches and fashion shows, to now even e-commerce platforms. Streaming is no longer intertwined with elementary brand promotions. Instead, it has become a full-fledged digital property on many e-commerce platforms, allowing customers to purchase items directly via a stream.

Apps and stats.

  1. Kohl’s - One of the first retail chains to unveil its live streaming feature was Kohl’s.There was no way to sell products directly through a stream, and as a result, the marketing-to-purchase flow was rather long-wound.
    Feature added: After understanding the flaw kohl’s decided to introduce an instant purchase feature through its live video streaming platform. Its first initiative was a live stream held through Periscope, that showcased the New York Fashion Week.
  2. Taobao - Alibaba Group’s subsidiary e-commerce. Taobao, has launched its own live video streaming platform.Taobao has recorded a live stream conversion rate of 32%, meaning that for every thousand views, 320 products will be added to consumers’ shopping trolleys. The Taobao live streaming example is easily replicable for even a small e-commerce business.
  3. Facebook Live - Videos are watched 3X more than regular video content on the platform. And when it comes to commenting, it is 10Xmore on live videos than the regular ones. The availability of features like live filters and reactions during the stream makes it interesting for the audience to watch and participate in it. The platform allows you to save the live stream videos and replay comments after the broadcast has ended so that it is always available for the audience to consume it.
  4. Instagram - Instagram has been immensely popular among the younger generations. It has around 700 million monthly users with a predominantly women user base. The Instagram Live feature is a part of their recent Stories rollout which disappears after twenty-four hours. You can also go live with a friend now which makes Instagram stand out from the other platforms that provide live streaming.
Source —

How Indian market rocked Live streaming?

  1. SIMSIM — Features :Share the videos you like with your friends and family through whatsapp so even they can discover the best products suited to their needs and problems. (Easy sharing).
    Vernacular: Watch videos on simsim in Hindi and English (One of the topmost feature for Indian audience)
  2. HEALOFY — Users can post questions, seek advice from medical experts and others regarding maternity and childcare. Introducing features like —
    1. Q/A community.
    2. Live sessions with experts and gynecologists.
    3. Buy baby necessities as prescribed by the experts during live stream.
  3. BULBUL — India’s first multi-language live-streaming video e-commerce platform aims to redefine how products are sold in India by providing a live, engaging and interactive experience for buyers and sellers.
    Features : Multi-language live streaming
    hosts to demonstrate their products live, and answer viewers questions in real time.

Value propositions-

  1. Sending virtual gifts to generate revenue.
  2. Consumers feel vicariously that they are actually handling the product themselves. They’re no longer picking a product off a shelf, they are now part of the process
  3. Break free experience for premium users.
  4. Entertaining and event-driven formats, celebrity involvement and frictionless mobile payment solutions.
  5. Multi- language live streaming.

After my initial research and understanding how live stream works as an experience and the value it brings to our target users. I will start to brainstorm and explore different user segments and user goals.

Traditional v/s Live E- commerce

Measurement of successful live-stream

No. Of people joined the live stream
No. Of people reacted/interacted with host/live stream.
No. Of people added item in the cart while watching livestream
No. Of minutes spent for successfully completing the transaction

After my initial research and understanding how live stream works as an experience and the value it brings to our target users. I will start to brainstorm and explore different user segments and goals.

By considering all of the above user set and basic requirement of the traditional e-commerce I have prepared list of features.
(Considering all the basic features are already available on the platform like- user profile, coupon code, order history, order tracking, etc.)

User Stories for different segments

User stories for several user segments

Sketches & Wireframe

Now that we have a basic understanding of the experience Let’s now explore the different mobile portrait experiences that can be achieved.

Below are some roughly sketched wireframes -

Low fidelity wireframes for live streaming

Live video streaming experience

Home screen - It features a series of top notch insights showing the best deals followed by other categories and trending influencers. The live section shows the products that are live now. User can directly click on the product and check live stream.

The UI designed above is basic, and through iterations can be polished and well done.

Audience can choose from a list of categories, trending influencers according to users past purchases along with other categories such as Gadegts, beauty or home decor.

The UI designed above is basic, and through iterations can be polished and well done.

Now when we click on a certain category of live stream, they can notice the host demonstrating the product to them.Emoticons help both the host and the user to understand whether the product demonstrated is achieving its target or not. User can ask frequent question as they want by typing or commenting in the comment section, Also users can get answers immediately for generic questions through Bot (AI Driven autobot). Host can attach the common questions along with their answers. (consideration).

The UI designed above is basic, and through iterations can be polished and well done.

Some considerations

  1. User has already signed in into his account. ( to get into comment section he needs to sign in)
  2. User knows about the platform and basic features about the application.
  3. After adding products to the cart user can checkout through traditional methods ( selecting/entering address and completing the payment )
  4. User is already following the influencer/host.

Final Words -

The future of live video streaming is not so far. In the year 2021 video will account for about 82% of total internet traffic and live video will account 13% of all internet video traffic. In the near future, live video streaming will create an immense effect on entertainment and businesses. For effective growth in the business with live streaming trend, businesses and individuals must ensure to avail the technology in a more appropriate way to gain profit with it. Hopefully, maybe!

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Soumya Suhane

Designing humanised experiences! Former - Colearn, Vedanta, Smallcase and Xiaomi