Is live trading about to break through?


Sep 20, 2022

by Guest Contributor

Wharton Staff Knowledge

Presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article published with courtesy of Knowledge at Wharton, the online journal of business research and analysis from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

In an article for harvard business review, “Selling on TikTok and Taobao,” Wharton marketing professor Thomas Robertson says live commerce is fast becoming the medium of choice for online shopping, but the learning curve of technology and marketing is holding the market back. adoption in the United States.

One of the main reasons live commerce is maturing faster in China than in the US is that Alibaba’s Taobao platform offers the ability to make a purchase without leaving the stream. According to iResearch China, live commerce is expected to account for 20-25% of online sales in China by 2023, up from 10% in 2020.

“We don’t have a built-in app right now in the US,” Professor Robertson said in an interview with Knowledge at Wharton. “It’s going that way.”

In the United States, the preferred format for social media platforms appears to be TikTok, while other platforms are being upgraded to accommodate video.

There is also a learning curve involved. Professor Robertson said: “You have to choose the right platform and you have to choose the right influencer. Is it a follower or a more niche influencer who knows more about a specific category, like cosmetics or a tech good? »

Nonetheless, Prof Robertson expects live commerce to grow rapidly as e-commerce moves from a ‘solitary experience’ supported by text and images to a communal experience including real-time videos led by influencers. .

He said, “People relate to each other, so you’re not alone. You may not know the people who shop with you, but you identify with them because you have similar interests. Other people are buying, and you think it’s legit and you will too. There is a kind of social pressure in live trading events.

His advice to brands exploring live commerce includes starting early.

“It’s part of your arsenal,” Professor Robertson said. “You need to integrate live trading with your other marketing strategies and tactics. How does he fit in? I recognize that when talking to some of these great brands, it took more than one experience to get it right.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think online shopping will become a bigger driver of e-commerce in the United States over the next five years? What advice would you give to brands considering going live shopping?


“Live trading is instant gratification at its peak. Gen Z will embrace it immediately.”


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