In April, Yan Di left his role as AliExpress country manager in Brazil to become CEO at Mobocity, a company focused on producing and broadcasting live stream videos co-founded with Zhang Zhen. The duo wants to get a share of the social commerce market, a business model born in China in which purchases are made through social media apps and products are usually offered in live broadcasts that allow interaction with consumers in real-time.
Mobocity’s bet is well-founded: social commerce has advanced by leaps and bounds around the world. An Accenture report forecasts that social commerce will grow three times faster than traditional e-commerce, rising from $492 billion worldwide in 2021 to $1.2 trillion in 2025.
Eyeing this growing market and quite sure that it will boom in Brazil – until 2025, it is expected that the e-commerce market in Latin America‘s largest economy will maintain a steady growth of 30% per year, according to the Beyond Borders study, and from this, we can see the huge potential for live commerce –, Di and Zhen developed a complete solution for managing live commerce projects for brands, from broadcasting to the logistics, such as traffic generation, partnership with influencers and selection of products with greater impact on the consumer audience.
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“For a while, lives and short videos were seen as secondary content formats. But that has changed. Today, in China, 20% of sales happen through live commerce, the Chinese consumer watches live to consume. In five years this kind of content will be massively consumed worldwide. However, live commerce is a complex product, since everything happens in real-time, including engagement and conversion rates. Mobocity wants to solve this issue,” said Di.
Mobocity’s portfolio includes four products developed in-house for brands that want to boost their sales through live streaming. LiveHub allows not only video creation and broadcast but also multiple live sessions on different social media platforms at the same time. AutoTrade is a marketplace for connecting advertisers and micro-influencers, who generally reach higher engagement and conversion rates.
There is also a LaaS (Live as a Service) platform, which provides white label solutions for lives, and, finally, LiveAnalytics, a real-time data analysis platform to optimize the lives’ performance. “The most scarce asset in the market today is data analysis. And so the lives’ performance becomes stagnated, not converting into sales. At Mobocity, we developed a live analytics system in real-time,” explained Di.
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Mobocity is not a newcomer in the market, the startup has been operating bootstrapping for five years with a consistent growth rate, according to figures presented by Di, reaching revenues of $6 million last year and forecasting revenues between $15 and 20 million by 2022.
With about 100 employees across Latin America, Europe, the United States, and China, Mobocity serves clients such as Bytedance (owner of TikTok), Kwai, Tencent, Amazon, AliExpress, ClickBus, Alice, and ISDIN, among others, and runs more than 500 live streaming sessions per month. According to Di, the startup holds the record for sales via live streaming outside China: $500,000 in less than an hour.
Given the growth of social commerce beyond China, where WeChat leads the market, major social media companies have begun to adapt their business and launch social commerce solutions for their platforms, such as Facebook and its Facebook Shops and Instagram and its Instagram “shop button”.
According to a report by eMarketer/Insider Intelligence, Facebook is the leading social commerce platform out of China, with 56.1 million shoppers by 2021 only in the United States. Instagram is in second place with 32.4 million, followed by Pinterest with 13.9 million.