Popular Chinese video sharing platform Bilibili is currently on a mission to revamp its business through livestream e-commerce. For the first time ever, China’s ‘B Site’ has launched a livestream shopping section right on its homepage, just in time for the upcoming Double 11 shopping festival.
Currently, Bilibili’s livestream rooms offer products such as digital collectibles and virtual clothing from its self-operated stores as well as items from third-party platforms such as Alibaba’s Taobao and JD.com. This is a similar strategy that Douyin and Kuaishou applied to their e-commerce business in the early stages to save on supply chain expenses.
To increase the allure of its latest livestream function and incentivise participation, Bilibili has set up a rewards program in which top sellers can receive up to 50,000 RMB (6,953.62 USD) in cash. Moreover, the platform has lowered its requirement threshold to encourage more user engagement. In order to host a livestream, users must be at least 18 years old, have a minimum of 1,000 followers and hold broadcasting records from the past four years. As such, the initiative now opens the door of eligibility to Bilibili’s 3.6 million monthly active uploaders.
Bilibili’s expansion to livestream shopping can be attributed to the company’s mission to become profitable by 2024. Over the past two years, the platform’s net losses have widened with a loss of 6.8 billion RMB (946 million USD) in 2021. In the first half of 2022, the company has already experienced two consecutive quarterly revenue declines with 4.3 billion RMB (598 million USD) in losses.
Venturing into livestreams, therefore, may be Bilibili’s golden ticket to recover lost ground. According to AdChina, e-commerce sales from livestreaming in China are expected to soar to 624 billion RMB (85 billion USD) by 2023, indicating that livestream e-commerce still has huge room for growth in the nation.
At the same time, as Bilibili is a latecomer to the livestream e-commerce game, there is still a long way for the platform to go until it can reach the ranks of existing players in the market. However, if the video sharing giant manages to take full control its supply chain rather than fully relying on third-party retailers, the platform can increase its appeal to shoppers and subsequently recover from financial losses in the long-term.