Homegrown short-video apps are eyeing the live commerce space to expand their revenue pool. Already equipped with new-age tech capabilities and the advantage of having an expansive network of content creators, foraying into the live commerce is the natural progression for most of them.
Video consumption in India has exploded over the last two to three years, helped by the proliferation of affordable smartphones and affordable data prices. The time is opportune for short video players to tap into live commerce, which is expected to touch $2-$2.5 billion in GMV by 2025, says Ashutosh Somani, principal and leader, digital media practice at Praxis Global Alliance. “Live commerce is an additional revenue pool for them and the China market has proven that it is also a very sizeable revenue pool. It also helps platforms to incentivise influencers,” says Somani.
Mohalla Tech-owned Moj has partnered with Flipkart to enable live commerce on its platform. Most of the short-video firms have either teamed up with or acquired e-commerce companies to create commerce capabilities, an area where they lack expertise. Roposo’s parent Glance, for instance, has acquired Shop101 for the same.
VerSe Innovation-run short video platform Josh said that it is “seriously considering” venturing into the live commerce space. “It will play a key role as we take the step forward towards monetising our platform, growing our app and creating a sustainable creator ecosystem," according to Umang Bedi, co-founder, VerSe Innovation.
Roposo, a business unit of Glance of the InMobi Group, has already pivoted to a live commerce format and is positioning the brand around the new strategy. Jain says the creator-led live entertainment commerce space that is currently at a very nascent stage in India will grow manifold in the coming years on the back of the country’s rising share of digital-first consumers, who are always looking for different ways to shop. The firm describes them as “Gen Now”. “They are the first to adopt new content formats like live,” Jain tells Fortune India.
In markets like China, creator-led live and social commerce is already driving as much as 25% of the e-commerce GMV (gross merchandise value). Roposo, which claims to have about 30 million monthly active users, says that live commerce is gaining good traction on the platform and the firm will now focus on scaling it up to enable more transactions.
Advertising revenues are paltry as of now and certainly not adequate to recoup investments. A study by market research firm RedSeer Consulting showed that the short-form video sector currently contributes less than 1% to the total digital advertising revenues. “If you look at India, advertising has great depth but it caps out at a certain point in time as volumes are still low. Overall commerce ARPU (average revenue per user) in conjunction with advertising can really drive monetisation,” says Mansi Jain, vice-president and general manager at Roposo.
“Live video commerce helps bring the offline shopping experience closer to the online experience,” says Shashank Shekhar, senior director, content strategy and operations at Moj. The revenue generated from a transaction is typically shared among the company, the creator and brand whose products are showcased on the platform. The bulk of the creator-led commerce is being driven by the growing league of new-age D2C (direct-to-consumer) brands that are leveraging the reach of short-video firms to attract more customers.
While live commerce certainly widens the monetisation avenues for short-video players, it also broadens the earning potential for creators. The 50-million strong Moj creator community can use live commerce to share their curated tastes with millions of followers, monetise their content, while allowing users to purchase their recommended products seamlessly, opines Shekhar.
Chingari is planning to launch live commerce on its platform in the next two to three months. The model is currently in the pilot stage, says co-founder & COO Deepak Salvi. “We will add commerce as we have the technology with us. Every video that is streamed on Chingari is already made in a shoppable format.” he adds.
The challenge, however, is to groom influencers and content creators into adept live streamers. “The live streaming format is different from the short video format. We have partnered with firms in China to provide training to our content creators,” says Roposo’s Jain.