Southeast Asia is entering the age of ‘shoppertainment’

Lazada is launching a live streaming feature and the presence of entertainment content is becoming more common on e-commerce platforms

Lazada, the Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia is launching a new live streaming feature on the occasion of its 7th anniversary.

Lazada will broadcast its first live stream at its anniversary concert in Jakarta on March 26th through its app that’s available in six countries; Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand. Users will be able to interact in various ways through comments, emoticons, and quizzes.

The company calls this “shoppertainment”, ushering in an era where customers “can shop while enjoying live streaming and a variety of games,” said Chief Business Officer Lazada Indonesia Pierre Beckers at a media event in Jakarta on Monday.

Live streaming and shopping have already merged in various forms in China. Alibaba-owned Taobao lets merchant merchants engage customers in an online demo or direct sales pitches. In 2017, Alibaba’s Tmall, which is similar to Lazada, had ntroduced its version of shoppertainment with the “See Now Buy Now” fashion show that was broadcast live.

The lines between shopping an entertainment in China are further blurred on various video apps like Yizhibo where “influencers” advertise products on their channels. In Southeast Asia, this trend is just getting started.

Lazada hasn’t yet explained how this live streaming concept will live on after the Super Party concert, but it’s likely to take a similar direction as live streaming on TMall.

Meanwhile, other Southeast Asian platforms are adding video in their own ways. It seems that the presence of entertainment or lifestyle content, which keeps users inside the app for longer amounts of time, is becoming a necessity to reach the ‘super-app’ status.

In February, ride-hailing giant Grab launched an integration with video platform Hooq in Indonesia, letting Grab users watch video content to keep themselves entertained on the road. Grab’s archival Go-jek has also started to offer some news and entertainment content through partnerships. Indonesian e-commerce platform Bukalapak has some live channels and movies in its BukaNonton feature. While the focus is on entertainment for now, once in-app video watching and live broadcasting are more established,  Southeast Asia is likely to see a growing share of interactive shopping options on its major digital platforms.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad