Taobao introduces live streaming to boost rural development
Taobao Marketplace is a social commerce platform that allows consumers to enjoy an engaging, personalized shopping experience, optimized by big- data analytics. Taobao Marketplace facilitates consumer-to-consumer (C2C) retail by providing a platform for small businesses and individual entrepreneurs to open online stores.
The Taobao Marketplace generated more than 100 billion RMB ($15.1 billion) in gross merchandise volume (GMV) through livestreaming sessions in 2018, an increase of almost 400% year-on-year. Taobao will further leverage its livestreaming technology to help incubate 1,000 key opinion leaders in China’s countryside in an effort to boost rural development. By helping farmers go online, Taobao aims to enable farmers to find new markets and customers from their home-grown products. The idea is to drive online sales of local agricultural products via livestreams conducted by the newly minted rural KOLs – the farmers, themselves.
To promote a new initiative, Taobao plans collaboration with county-level governments to highlight local points of interest and expand the popularity and recognition of various villages participating in the livestreaming.
Chen Lei, director of e-commerce content at Taobao, says, “Our rural livestream program aims to empower local live streamers to boost business for poverty-stricken areas, while enabling farmers to manage their own livestream e-commerce channels. It’s Taobao’s devotion to poverty relief by leveraging e-commerce and livestreaming via creative digital technologies.”
Taobao livestreaming is an emerging marketing channel that started in 2016 and has rapidly grown into a proven marketing strategy. Powered by advanced technologies from across the Alibaba Group, KOLs and live streamers provide both indoor and outdoor livestreaming to customers. During these livestreams, they introduce and recommend different products across diverse areas ranging from clothing, cosmetics and jewellery, to agricultural goods and plus-sized clothes. In 2018, 81 live streamers notched over RMB100 million in sales, respectively.
Across all industries and sectors in China, brands and sellers are already transforming their digital capabilities to stimulate business development through Taobao livestreaming. L'Oréal’s flagship store experienced a nearly 20% increase in purchases after Viya and Jiaqi Li, Taobao’s most recognized livestreamers promoted the brand’s signature goods via livestream. Among the top female clothing brands, more than 30% of sales are driven by live streaming. In certain industries such as jewellery and jade, flowers and plants, the penetration rate of brands using Taobao livestreaming is close to 50%, bringing great changes to the previous online marketing mix that was adopted.
In order to inject more renewed energy into traditional industries, Taobao has also launched plans at the recent summit to incubate and develop 10 offline traditional retail markets. The aspiration is to help them reach annual revenues of over RMB 100 million.