China Connect is the leading European organization that connects the Chinese internet and China based digital marketing experts with their pairs across Europe through online and offline events, training, and consulting. The ReStart Live Series launched this Spring as the pandemic raged, and is hosted by Laure de Carayon, founder & CEO of China Connect.
In this episode, Laure speaks with Yizan He, Founder & Marketing Partner at Alfilo Brands, Xinyi Lim, Senior Director Corporate Development at Pinduoduo, and Phil Cao, Franchise Operation Director China West Region at Coca-Cola.
While livestreaming is hardly new, being a driving force for e-commerce in China for nearly half a decade, COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of livestreaming and influencers as tools for a wider range of industries. As the pandemic increased online screen time and shopping on nearly all platforms, more brands and organizations have decided to buy in, creating both successful cases but also highlighting pitfalls.
For Yizan He, livestreaming presents an opportunity to generate a certain level of emotional connection before purchases, even for traditional institutions like The British Museum.
In April, Alfilo Brands and the British Museum organized a three-hour live-stream session on Tmall Luxury. It was carried out with the participation of several big luxury brands and with a top fashion KOL in China, Gogoboi.“Whereas traditional livestreaming is shot in house, we have done it on stage with an elaborate design. I was invited to share with the audience how we transform masterpieces into beautiful products,” said He.
“There are many advantages that any brand can take from livestreaming, but there are also many areas to watch out. We need to pay a lot of attention to the content, how much creative, fun, entertaining we can be. It is not how much [the price], how many people want to buy, this kind of traditional sale approach anymore.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has also led to consumers trying something they may not have tried in the past. As a result of the the pandemic, Pinduoduo has seen consumers become more receptive to watching livestreaming content, with the number of sessions held from February and March 2020 multiplying by five. In turn, the platform (which leads China’s group-buying vertical) has been focusing on diversifying its content offering.
“Rather than concentrate the traffic on just a few high-profile KOLs or celebrities we choose to de-centralize our livestreaming and focus it on the merchants and their products,” said Xinyi Lim.
Livestreaming has also proved to be a versatile tool for brands who generate revenue through offline sales. While The Coca-Cola Company depends on a traditional business model, with e-commerce accounting for just 4 to 5% of total revenue, the world is changing, according to Phil Cao, especially with this COVID-19 crisis. For example, the company launched Night of Sprite to build connection with young people for Sprite, a soft drink.
“Within two hours, we have accumulated 17 millions viewers on 6 platforms, generating RMB 2.2 million (USD 320,000) in revenues,” Cao said.
“Livestreaming has some characteristics of a sale channel, we sell products and get money. But we believe it is not only a sales channel but a new approach to connect our consumers, customers and employees.”
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