Technology and the internet changed two key aspects of commerce: content consumption and how we shopped. The pandemic further accelerated these two factors.
During the lockdowns, we were left to our own devices (literally). With smartphones in hand, all we could do was watch content and do shopping online.
Brands and businesses caught on to this fast. Before long, the world saw a surge in live selling. Retailers used social media to live sell, combining entertaining content with convenient shopping.
But to understand why it’s so effective, we need to learn the basics.
Live selling directly connects retailers to the masses. It gives customers a chance to interact with shop owners, ask questions, and purchase products in real-time.
The person hosting the live stream can be a brand, influencer, or owner of a small business. Anybody can live sell. This makes live selling one of the most effective eCommerce or Shopify marketing tools.
Highlighting a product's features - how it addresses customer problems - and entertaining viewers is crucial to making live selling work.
This simple formula already helped thousands of retailers. According to statistics, live selling surged 76% since COVID. Here are some of the reasons why it became so effective:
Now that we understand the core concept of live selling, let’s take a look at the advantages it brings to eCommerce.
Social media is the best place to market products. According to data, there are 4.4 billion active monthly users across the globe. This number will keep rising year by year.
Video and retail are also intertwining at unprecedented rates. In 2021, the world saw a 48% spike in Gen Z’s interest in live selling. This clear trend is what drives retailers to optimize their platforms for social media.
Live selling on social media allows retailers to:
Live selling has several advantages but there are several factors to consider before investing time and resources into it. Research is necessary for retailers to identify what works for them.
To help speed up the process, we’ve compiled these best practices for live selling.
Influencers provide social proof for your brand and the products you sell. Unlike celebrity sponsorships, they can give a more grounded approach to marketing.
Influencers improve engagement in live streaming. Retailers can also tap into their audience. At the same time, an influencer benefits from tapping into your dedicated customers as well.
Despite not having as many followers as celebrities, most influencers have their own niches and dedicated fan bases. Their fans trust what they say which can increase product conversion rates.
We all want to be a part of something. That’s one of our most basic human instinct as a social species. Live selling offers a chance for retailers and brands to build just that.
Live sellers can establish a community just as vloggers do. Customers can be more than just customers during a live selling stream. Not only can they interact with the seller but with other customers as well.
Let’s use the brand Lola Getts as an example.
The brand offers “plus-centric” women premium-quality sports apparel. Lola Getts organizes live shopping events to enable plus-sized women to find the perfect fit.
Not only do they offer a convenient shopping experience, but they also provide a safe space for women to shop.
If it’s free, people are going to want it. Just the prospect of a “chance” to win a giveaway is enough for people to tune in to a live-selling event.
When paired with influencer marketing, this live selling tactic can skyrocket engagement in any social media platform.
Take Eidon Swim as an example. They partnered with surfing influencer Lindsay Takekawa during their live-selling event “adventure takeover”.
The combination of live selling, influencer marketing, and giveaways resulted in a massive sales boost of 318%.
Retailers get to engage directly with customers during live selling events. Customers get a more personalized experience because of this.
They can ask for more details about products and availability. Answering these questions is one of the most important eCommerce customer service best practices to follow.
One of the most popular ways of engaging with customers is shown by the female clothing brand Sozy. By putting "SOLD" to purchase products, the brand increased live stream views and customer interaction.
Asking customers to comment or ask questions during the live stream increases sales. This is beneficial for engaging customers who can't attend in-store activities.
Retailers can do live shopping events on different social media and eCommerce platforms. Each platform can have different types of consumers.
The skincare brand Dermalogica shows a good example of this. It hosts live selling events on several platforms such as Vimeo and Bambuser, as well as shoppable Instagram live streams.
Test live selling channels and platforms to determine what your audience likes. Each live-streaming event should improve the next.
There are advantages and disadvantages when it comes to eCommerce. Live selling won't always work, especially when you're starting out.
Live selling should be part of your pre-launch marketing strategy. If you're releasing a new product you can see a rise in sales, interest, and engagement because of it.
Three Ships Beauty makes for a good case study on this. They promoted a new night cream product at a live selling event even before it was released.
The anticipation and the hype around the product worked wonders for the brand. They managed to get 1,200 unique watchers, 356 orders, and a 26% conversion rate, all in just one hour.
Consider starting a specialized email list before venturing into live sales. Your ability to interact with and excite your target audience about the impending event will greatly improve as a result of this.
For example, women’s jewelry maker, Misha Hawaii utilizes a dedicated email list before starting a live selling event. They begin email nurturing and promote their products to get customers excited.
Customers that sign up for the community through emails will have access to member-only discounts and daily giveaways.
Live selling isn’t a plug-and-play marketing tool that boosts sales the moment you do it. It takes time, practice, and a lot of research to make it work.
There are several things to consider such as optimizing headlines, targeting the right audience, and the system you’re using to ensure a smooth experience for customers.
It’s easy to get lost in all the nuances that come with live selling. Here are three tips to help guide you through them:
Even though you’re a natural at hosting or entertaining, it’s important to practice before starting a live selling event.
Live selling combines both entertainment and eCommerce. You’re there to entertain AND SELL. To avoid any mishaps during events, follow these tips:
You can’t afford to have a dull moment during live selling events. Keep your audience engaged and primed for purchasing.
The key to doing so is consistency and speed. Don’t talk too fast. The audience needs to understand the host. According to Incorporation Insight marketing head, Michael Knight, the most successful sellers are swift and reliable.
This will ensure that your videos continue to attract a large audience. Retailers also get a chance to showcase a greater variety of items throughout the live sale, increasing the likelihood that viewers will make more purchases.
According to research, just 10 to 30 minutes of live selling can be effective. Smaller businesses can benefit from this short time period as they have a smaller audience.
For more popular brands and stores, this could go up to an hour or longer. But no matter how long or short a stream might be, always ENGAGE with your customers.
Offer your audience limited-time deals. Provide a sense of urgency on high-demand products.
Instilling the “fear of missing out” or FOMO is a great marketing tactic, especially during live streams. There is constant pressure to buy since viewers fear missing out on the products being exhibited and don't know what else will be offered during that live sale session.
Done right, customers will plan their week based on live selling schedules. Your audience will come to a live event if it’s well-marketed. But, even if they miss out on the event, you can also repurpose it.
Nicolas Bailliache, founder of eStreamly said 60-70% of their sales are post-live event purchases.
Live selling is revolutionizing retail. It combines the convenience of eCommerce with the entertainment of watching online videos.
The best part is every business, no matter the size can use live selling. But before spending time and money on it, here are some things to consider: