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[ ACADEMIC ESSAY ] Live streaming commerce opens up a new way to sell

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With the development of social media platforms and network technologies, live streaming commerce has become a new marketing method. As a new social business form, real-time streaming media shopping is becoming more and more popular among Chinese consumers. In China, there are a lot of real-time streaming media shopping platform (including taobao, Jingdong, Tiktok, etc.) live streaming commerce is a kind of marketing based on Internet media. Businesses only need to find anchors for live broadcasting to promote and sell their products.

This essay will use China’s live streaming development as an example to illustrates this new way. live streaming commerce also combined with the advantages and disadvantages, this essay will introduce with two sides and put forward some Suggestions for the future development of live streaming commerce.

The rise of live streaming commerce

Live streaming commerce is a new business channel, which is based on Web 2.0 and developed. Web 2.0 is a platform that spans all connected devices. It allows everyone to become a participant in online media, beyond the single browsing page of Web 1.0. Web 2.0 encourages more users to become “producers.” The emergence of Web 2.0 provides users with a richer experience. Delivering software as a continuously updated service can enable more people to use it and obtain better services. The emergence of live broadcast is because of the concept of Web 2.0, which let everyone can use self-media or social media to start live broadcast. With the popularity of live broadcasting, it has appeared in more categories such as performing talents, recording life, selling products and more. Therefore, the emergence and popularity of live broadcast business is brought about by Web 2.0.

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First of all, with the development of live streaming commerce, anchors are becoming a new profession. The emergence of this profession has not only brought about an increase in employment but also improved the economic status of some people. live streaming commerce not only need an anchor but also need to have an anchor operations team behind. The generation of a large number of new jobs for new startups, the formation of a live team or can bring at least five jobs can provides more employment opportunities. Moreover, compared with the professional team, the individual anchor trying to take goods more is a kind of flexible employment works, in the case of both the main through the live band bring additional revenue for their goods.

According to the statistics, China’s famous anchor Li Jiaqi can reach over ten thousand yuan in a live streaming show. Although other amateur anchors do not have such a high income like Li Jiaqi, but this kind of extra income is enough to improve the life quality. Moreover, the live webcast has helped some groups increase their incomes and reduced poverty. For example: In many areas of China, in order to solve the problem of slow sales of agricultural products, the local government will invite volunteers to voluntarily show these products to everyone through the webcast platform. Under this promotion, farmers have changed the traditional way that they can only be transported to the market for sale. Statistics show that in the vast rural areas of China, there are still many farmers on the way to live broadcast poverty alleviation.

As of the end of November 2019, there have been more than 1.2 million Taobao public welfare live broadcasts, driving 4 billion agricultural products transactions, and more than 50,000 farmer anchors. Charity + live broadcast has become a new path for live broadcast e-commerce. Even some well-known anchors will devote themselves to public welfare live broadcasts. On the evening of December 12, 2019, Gao Xiao song and Li Jiaqi conducted public welfare live broadcasts on Taobao for the first time. That night, many crops were sold out within a few seconds, which is expected to increase the income of 1,114 poor households by 439. Million. The biggest contribution of live streaming commerce to a country is to solve some of the poverty problem. These anchors who have devoted themselves to public welfare are also worthy of respect.

Live streaming commerce has also made important contributions to increasing product sales and market competition. Some companies and brands have achieved online sales of goods through cooperation with anchors. The promotion of live broadcast can increase the popularity of the product to a certain extent, so that more consumers will choose. When the live streaming just became popular, some companies seized the opportunity to promote their products and businesses.

Moreover, live streaming commerce and traditional business have different characteristics, so both of them have their own advantage. For example, less people were going out during the COVID-19 period this year. Traditional entities the economy has been hit hard. At this time, more companies choose to promote and sell online live broadcasts. According to statistics, the total sales of live broadcasts in China in 2020 will reach approximately RMB 961 billion. Live streaming commerce as a new sales channel, combines with traditional sales to better help companies and enterprises. Moreover, with the development of live streaming commerce, market competition has become relatively fair. Since there is also traffic among live broadcast delivery agencies, and the cooperation between anchors and selected products, if a good product is indeed high-quality and cheap, it can be quickly exposed even if the brand is weak. This has given many small and medium-sized merchants who provide products with care. A huge opportunity. According to Nassim, live media has recently become a popular direct sales channel, providing consumer interaction and engagement for small self-employed operators. In traditional sales methods, some small business operators may not be discovered by consumers because they are not well known. Through the promotion of live broadcast platforms, they can also be brought to the market. Consumers also have more choices

The Ethics of Live streaming commerce

But some people argue that some anchors have no sense of social responsibility. The extremely low barriers to entry have brought a large number of practitioners with uneven quality, and the low integrity level of some practitioners has also harmed the legitimate rights and interests of some consumers. They often advertise some products that are not very good because of high advertising costs, which will affect the judgment of consumers. Live broadcast is a real-time streaming media service (such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live or YouTuBe Live) that can broadcast video images in real time, which can bring a high degree of consumer participation. According to Wong’s academic article, there is a relationship between trust and participation. Consumers are more likely to trust this kind of live broadcast with a good sense of participation and interaction, and more likely to generate consumption. If the anchor conducts false propaganda about the product, inciting consumers’ emotions to make them purchase, it will mislead consumers to choose products that are not suitable for them or of low quality. In the long run, many people will lose trust in the live streaming commerce, which is not conducive to the development of its industry.

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In order for the live broadcast channel to achieve better and better development, first of all, these anchors need to have a strong sense of social responsibility and not only care about their own interests. E-commerce real-time streaming media is booming in the online market, and more and more Customers make purchases through live streaming sessions of Internet celebrity streaming. This prosperity has intensified competition, and more and more Internet celebrity live broadcasters have begun to appear. (Hong F, 2020) They need to understand the true information of these products and services before promoting them and be responsible for consumers. Because the success of the cargo anchor needs to establish a good image and establish ties with fans. Therefore, the quality of the product and the price of the product are particularly important. Product quality will be guaranteed through product selection, and product prices will benefit the people through the bargaining power of the anchor to bring the goods, and eventually a large number of high-quality and cheap products will be introduced to the society, and inferior products will be gradually eliminated. If the product selected by the anchor is trusted and recognized by everyone, it will have more popularity. At the same time, government departments and related live streaming platforms must strengthen the supervision of web live broadcasts. They need to take corresponding punitive measures for some anchors who have repeatedly violated the regulations. Through the formulation of these rules, the standardization of platform uses, and promotion is managed. For violating regulations, the anchors who make false propaganda must be punished. For example, in China, the “Code of Conduct for Online Marketing Management” has been implemented since July 1, 2020. The emergence of this law has strengthened the management of live streaming commerce and can better protect consumer rights. Each live streaming commerce platform must strictly abide by this rule to manage anchors and businesses. Such a strict regulations can be used as a case to guide the development of live streaming commerce development in other countries. As consumers, they should also shop rationally and make good distinctions and comparisons during consumption. Some people tend to have a good impression of some products because of their favorite celebrity endorsement products, and they buy something that they don’t really need. It is more likely to be affected by false propaganda, purchasing power and quality items. Consumers should carefully understand the product information, usage and evaluation recommended by the anchor. You cannot buy blindly just because you trust and love the products recommended by the anchor.

Some people believe that live streaming will cause malicious price competition between merchants and anchors. For example, the war between Taobao anchor Li Jiaqi and Wei Ya is about price. Famous anchors always want to get the lowest price on the whole network, because this is very useful to attract consumers. For businesses, such vicious price competition will reduce profits. But from another perspective, the rapid development of the live streaming commerce industry has brought more affordable products to consumers. In this kind of competition system, the quality and price of the products will be particularly important. While considering the price, the merchants also strive to improve the quality of their products. When the product quality improves, consumers’ favorability towards the brand will increase, and many new consumers will be brought in. Therefore, it is difficult to clearly judge whether this kind of webcast competition is really harmful to businesses.

To sum up, social media platforms have brought more sales methods. In some countries and regions, live streaming commerce sales have become more and more popular. On the one hand, this live broadcast can help some groups live and increase their income. At the same time, the products and services of some businesses have also been well promoted. However, there are also drawbacks in live streaming commerce, and some false publicity will affect consumers’ shopping choices. In order to achieve better development of live streaming commerce, anchors and social platform regulators should be responsible to consumers, and consumers should also learn to consume rationally and protect their rights. Although there is a certain degree of competition among merchants for live streaming commerce. Although this kind of competition has some disadvantages, but it is indeed indispensable. Live sales will become more and more popular in the context of the electronic economy boom.

This paper was submitted by Ruoyao from Curtin Singapore. There’s no attempt to edit the paper for this publication.


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