Hi Tirthadeep, thanks for your comment. That’s a good point you brought up. I also had the same question when working on this story but decided to leave that part out because it’s probably worth exploring in a separate article. But to address your question—as a disclaimer, this is mostly my personal take although some insights are based on the interviews I had—the video commerce model has yet to take off in Indonesia because:
1.) Building a video commerce platform from scratch is a lot more tricky compared to building a reseller or a group-buying platform. How do you curate the content? How do you make the livestreams relevant to buyers so that they actually make purchases? I’m not saying these are impossible to crack, but a platform with a robust ecosystem of buyers and sellers already in place has a better chance of rolling out a video commerce feature compared to a startup just starting out. In this story, I decided to focus on the newcomers.
2.) It’s important to note that Indonesia’s e-commerce adoption is significantly lower than that in China. In China, around 50% of all retail sales happen online, whereas in Indonesia, less than 10%. That means that even if an e-commerce platform decides to introduce the livestream feature, we’re not going to see sales like the ones we see in China, and that putting aside the difference in population size between the two countries.
3.) If the goal is trying to penetrate into tier-2 cities and beyond, social commerce startups have a better likelihood of success with the other two models—the reseller and group-buy. In areas where the population’s disposable income is significantly less than that in metropolitan areas, people may not gravitate toward livestream purchases to begin with as the simple act of watching the livestreams itself may take up too much of their data/phone credit.
That said, I do notice several brands experimenting with livestream sales on their social media page. It’ll be interesting to see which e-commerce or social commerce platform will venture into this space in the future. Do let me know if you’ve noticed any interesting developments :)