Live Streaming as the New Frontier of Fashion Industry

Source: Shanghai Fashion Week Weibo Account

Livestreaming as a transformative tool to communicate

During the outbreak of COVID-19, China’s livestream market experienced a strong boom, and to communicate through livestream platforms has become a new normal for luxury brands. The phenomenon is transforming how people perceive online retailing scenario and proposing new potentials for brands to communicate with consumers.

The very first function of livestreaming is obvious – leveraging the follower base of KOLs to carry out promotional campaigns to sell products. It is true that top-tier livestream KOLs like Viya and Austin Li have already shown their great potential to boost online sales. For instance, once in 2018, it only took Austin Li five minutes to sell 15,000 lipsticks. However, simply using KOL’s livestreaming sessions as a way to boost sales or executing a campaign may not be a long-term strategy.

Mr. Bags is one of the most influential fashion bloggers in China
Source: Official Weibo account of Mr. Bag
Mr. Bags is one of the most influential fashion bloggers in China
Source: Official Weibo account of Mr. Bag

To create a new retailing doorway is indeed a great benefit which comes along with going digital, but it is even more important for brands to utilize communication tools with more availability to consumers.

After a stimulus comes a solution

China, the first market hit by the pandemic, was challenged in every part of the fashion offline retailing market due to the closure of basically all shopping malls and physical stores. The very urgency stimulated the fashion industry to shift online for new solutions.

Luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany have set up official livestreaming sessions to showcase their products and to better stay connected with consumers. The more surprising case is the Shanghai Fashion Week. From March 24th to 30th, Shanghai Fashion Week moved its runway online for the first time and organized a “Cloud Fashion Week” grand livestream show with Tmall. On the opening day of March 24, Cloud Fashion Week attracted a total of about 6 million views.

Shanghai Fashion Week 2020 - Cloud Fashion Week 
Source: official account of Shanghai Fashion Week
Shanghai Fashion Week 2020 – Cloud Fashion Week
Source: official account of Shanghai Fashion Week

Shanghai Fashion Week’s successful essay of livestreaming fashion show seems to set a precedent because more and more organizers of fashion weeks and brands are following. The organizer of Paris Fashion Week – Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, and the organizer of Milan Fashion Week – Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, both announced to move their shows in July this year online.

A creative way to enhance customer relationships

Brands are taking creative approaches to tackle this pandemic as well.

Nike’s livestreaming campaign 
Source: Nike Official Account
Nike’s livestreaming campaign
Source: Nike Official Account

Sports brands like Nike and Under Armour have shown strong adaptability during the pandemic. The Stay-Home policy could be regarded as a crucial strategic point to sports brands – as gyms were closed, indoor workout was prominent at that time, and livestreaming became an interesting tool to complement the gym scenarios. Brands like Nike invited fitness experts and sports KOLs to deliver their training tutorials and launch live fitness classes. The creative usage of livestream channel allowed brands to achieve stronger engagement and build a positive relationship with consumers.

Coming back to the luxury industry, while livestreaming seems a proven better attraction to consumers than traditional marketing campaigns, as shown in the case of Louis Vuitton or Tiffany, brands should find the balance between the use of the newly risen digital tools and not losing original brand value.