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When you’re presenting a product in a live broadcast, buyers tend to buy more actively. Streamers startup has launched a solution, which allows online real-estate agents to host online streams. Today, this solution is used by the largest players on the Russian market, and the team plans to expand to the US and Europe. Co-founders of Streamers Vitaliy Popkov and Dmitriy Fedorov share their plans and insights with us.
We talk to startups and investors, you get the value.
We have been successfully working with e-commerce projects for a long time: before the pandemic, Dmitry was the head of e-commerce at Levenhuk Ltd, I developed Yandex Market and KupiVip. Our experience has allowed us to see great potential in social commerce: now it is actively developing in China and gaining momentum in the markets of Europe and the USA. In 2019, 9% of all online sales in the Chinese market came from online broadcasts.
Live commerce will also flourish in Russia: since, the market there is large enough and actively growing during the pandemic. Many who have recently started to trade remotely being a bit cautious, now do it quite confidently. And after the technical issues of moving to online are resolved, everyone looks at traffic and conversion — this is where streaming is useful.
We already had one project in this field — a platform for consulting with stylists right through the dressing room or other similar place.Then we went into a bigger niche: we launched a streaming platform for e-commerce. It collected our experience in e-commerce and developments in social commerce: we embodied our comprehensive vision in a product for online stores, which allowed them to start selling easily and without serious costs using streaming. Thus, in May we started work on Streamerce and eventually, it was launched in August 2020.
Currently, we have more than 30 clients, including “The Gold Apple”, “Svyaznoy”, TOPTOP, as well as, “M.Video-Eldorado”. According to the collected data, we’re talking about the growth of the conversion by 5–10 times. If the sales conversion on the website is 0.5%, then on the stream it is 3–5% with the same sources of traffic.
The Streamerce platform is build up of three parts:
At the first part, the client sees the front with a stream window, the chat with the host, the possibility to activate promo codes and discounts, as well as the shopping cart. The products that are presented on the stream are available for purchase and can be added to the shopping cart and ordered right away.
The stream is usually placed on a subdomain of the store and the page is designed by using the identity (a set of characteristic features of the brand that make it visually or tactilely recognizable, or through other channels of perception, including the corporate identity, name and slogan, brand book, company principles and its philosophy — Startup Jedi) of the client, so the user doesn’t have a question where he ended up and who tells him about the products, as, for example, it happens at TOPTOP fashion retailer.
The second part is the administrative field, where you can manage your streams, host accounts and all related content. There are also statistics that show efficiency, visibility and other parameters.
We have created mobile apps for iOS and Android, which are designed specifically to launch the stream — this is the third part of the platform. The client needs to install the app, in order to go live. There is no need to set up anything, everything is ready — just a couple of clicks before the broadcast.
To complete the integration, you just need to use the help of the developers to integrate our platform with the shopping cart — everything takes nothing more than half-a-day. This simplicity is a prerequisite for survival. We make a new marketing tool that customers want to try at first, and a complex implementation will discourage many from this desire.
We know pretty well how the technical part of any online store works: what data is used, what is the API, what it sends to the outside, and etc. This knowledge allowed us to implement a relatively simple integration scheme, for which the client needs to engage developers only once. All other stages are based on the fact that the client has certain data and it is only necessary to provide us with access to them.
We are planning to make convenient broadcast control for the host: we are working on the application that will fulfill this task. The streamer or his assistant will be able to see important indicators in real time: which products in the stream are more popular than others, what they write about in the chat, which product is currently in the frame.
We are also moving towards creating more engagement tools and making a solution for streams from offline stores, as we have many requests for them. Customers want to walk through their trading floors and talk about products on display.
We started working on the Russian market as it is the most efficient way for our team. We have been in e-commerce for a long time, we have an excellent network among the industry players in Russia, and it was much easier for us to find partners for launching at home. In the very early stages of development, we discussed the product with its future users and received very valuable feedback. We are currently working with dozens of large and very large e-commerce projects.
These cases are quite relevant in other markets as well, because Russian e-commerce is well developed. Major players are comparable or surpass the leaders of the European market: Wildberries and Ozon are among the top 20 largest Internet retailers in the world.
Our product is universal, since the methods of streaming do not fundamentally differ from country to country. The content may change: the appearance and manner of communication of the presenter, the presentation of the goods. We collect cases of the use of shopping ethers in different countries and see that fundamentally different streaming mechanics have not appeared.
We just need to translate the interface into another language to launch it in a new country. We have already made an English version of our product and are now defining a more appropriate direction for international expansion.
There are companies that have similar products before we started. The Swedish company called Bumbuser has been working with live streaming for quite a long time. They developed as a technical provider, providing streams from many significant events. In 2019, they changed their strategy and went into e-commerce. Their new product is very similar to ours regarding the functionality.
There are several other products that consider social commerce from a slightly different angle. For example: there is “Twitch for shopping”, when a streamer, along with the audience, wanders around Amazon and selects products. Many startups that create quite similar products in terms of functionality are constantly appearing. We are very happy about this fact, it is much more pleasant to develop the market together.
It is more difficult to identify indirect competitors. Surely, when clients start working with us, they relocate the marketing budget in our favor. But I don’t think that they will take money from the traffic buying channels and reduce the cost of optimizing the conversion on the website. We can assume that in this case, our indirect competitors are advertising from bloggers, as well as various PR activities.
We have already raised a Pre-seed round from a group of business angels and the Ascent Partners fund — the deal was closed at the end of 2020. The new 2021 has started quite actively for us: we are launching large-scale projects in the Russian market that will increase our visibility. Paralelly, we are planning a Seed-round and determining its volume. If we decide that we are ready for international expansion, then we’ll increase the amount of the round by the required amount.
We already have an excellent roster of investors, which perfectly complements us with competencies and connections. In the next round, we will be glad to see partners with a strong network in the e-commerce environment. The sooner we reach companies and show them the capabilities of our product, the faster we will grow.
We will direct the main investments to improve the product and go beyond the borders of Russia, as well as pump our team. Today, we have a few very cool engineers working with us and we want to strengthen our competencies in sales, design and development. In the future, we plan to differentiate ourselves from competitors, so our clients could get the best experience in working with social commerce.