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Good looks drive consumer engagement, study finds

A joint study between Charles Darwin University (CDU) and universities overseas has explored whether good-looking online sellers contribute to consumer engagement.
A joint study between Charles Darwin University (CDU) and universities overseas has explored whether good-looking online sellers contribute to consumer engagement.

Online sellers are more likely to boost their consumer engagement if they are good-looking, according to a new study undertaken by Charles Darwin University (CDU) in collaboration with institutions in China, Vietnam and France.

The study explored the influence of physical attractiveness of sellers who broadcast live streams on the Taobao e-commerce site in China on consumer engagement.

China has the largest live streaming e-commerce market in the world. 

CDU Senior Lecturer Ninh Nguyen worked alongside academics at China’s Xiamen University and Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics, Vietnam’s Dong Nai University of Technology and Thuong Mai University, and the Excelia Business School in France.

The study examined data collected from 810 Taobao consumers. Ninety per cent of respondents were aged between 20 and 30 years old, and 86.7 per cent of participants said they watched live streams for one-to-two hours per day.

The more time consumers spent watching live streaming services, the more they engaged with broadcasters and other viewers.

Dr Nguyen said consumers participated in a survey asking a series of questions on their emotions, thoughts and behaviours when watching broadcasts.

In live streaming e-commerce a broadcaster can live stream products and interact with consumers in real time. Consumers can see, comment, and discuss with the broadcaster and other consumers on the same platform.

“The finding indicates that consumers appreciate the beauty and tend to focus their entire attention and interests on good-looking broadcasters because they are physically attractive and charming.

“The physical attractiveness of broadcasters encourages consumers to devote more time and efforts to watching the live streaming of good-looking broadcasters.”

Dr Nguyen added the research could be beneficial to businesses outside of the live stream space.

"There isn't enough evidence to say whether this study can be applied to staff in bricks-and-mortar businesses, but with more companies getting involved with these types of online sales the findings will be relevant to many of them,” Dr Nguyen said.

The study, Do consumers stick with good-looking broadcasters? The mediating and moderating mechanisms of motivation and emotion, was recently published in the Journal of Business Research.

Xiamen University’s Professor Thac Dang-Van said the research could be used to inform how live streaming e-commerce firms can boost consumer engagement.

“People often hold this stereotype about physical appearance: ‘what is beautiful is good’. Given this stereotype, consumers often highly evaluate products and services recommended by physically attractive broadcasters,” Professor Dang-Van said.

“Therefore, in their marketing strategy, live streaming firms should combine the image of good-looking broadcasters with their products and brands.”

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