Brick-and-mortar retailers have historically built deep relationships with customers locally, on a one-to-one basis. Though they’ve seen success, relationships built solely on in-person interactions aren’t scalable. Unfortunately, unexpected situations can occur at any moment, like a global pandemic that reduces foot traffic to a trickle, or the shift of consumer demand online from offline channels.
It’s no secret that retailers that pivot to an omnichannel offering are able to continue building meaningful relationships and personal connections with customers. What this pivot provides is the capability to reach new customers locally, across the country and around the world. The best way to do this successfully is through an innovative sales strategy: Live selling.
Live selling transforms live video streams into shoppable content where shoppers can purchase simply by engaging with the video. Though a relatively new channel for retailers in the U.S., live selling is proving to be a lucrative offering.
Consumers Want Digital Interactions
The growing demand for interactive digital content is at an all-time high. According to Coresight Research, 78% of companies surveyed for a recent report say that they’ve allocated “more than 10% of their total annual marketing budget to livestreaming campaigns.” Add this to consumers’ increased adoption of online shopping and it’s no surprise that live selling is becoming a force across ecommerce.
When was the last time you didn’t have a screen in front of you or in your pocket? Consumers have the ability to shop anywhere at any time, but static ecommerce sites aren’t the best at building long-lasting relationships. Typically the only interaction online shoppers receive comes from automated emails, text, chatbots, or worse — nothing at all.
When done right, live selling does just the opposite. It connects shoppers with fellow human beings to learn more about a product or a brand. It’s about building a personal connection with the faces behind that brand. Businesses can build a loyal tribe of customers whose strong brand affinity boosts profits with repeat sales.
Live Shopping is Here to Stay
Coresight Research anticipates that the U.S. livestreaming ecommerce market will grow to $65 billion in 2026, which will account for 5% of all ecommerce sales. In fact, live video is so popular, it drives 30% of conversions, which is 10X more than traditional ecommerce. Not only will “going live” get you more organic reach across social media, but it also delivers the type of content your shoppers prefer, which makes their user experience better. A better user experience for them means repeat shoppers and higher conversions for you. So the real question is: do you want to miss out on this opportunity?
Getting it Right
Ready to embark on live selling? Some important things to consider:
Be authentic: Share who you are and communicate with your audience the way you would one-on-one with someone in your store. You are an extension of your brand, so make sure to prominently display your brand’s aesthetic in the background of your live sales, and remind viewers of who you are and what you stand for.
Be entertaining: Once your audience tunes into your live session, be sure to keep them engaged by being entertaining. Capture their attention by drawing them in even before you start selling — show them how honored you are that they tuned in, share questions from the live chat feed, use viewers’ names in your dialogue and engage with as many viewers individually as you can.
Create excitement: Give your viewers exclusive offers only available during the live sessions, like prizes for correct trivia questions or the 100th pair of shoes sold. Generating FOMO will also help convert a sale: “Only 50 more of these! If you don’t act now, you may have to wait until next year!”
Be consistent: Let your shoppers know that you will be there for them at regularly scheduled live sessions. Think of your live sales similar to a television show your viewers can look forward to watching at the same time each day or week. Ask your shoppers to sign up for notifications on social media or within your mobile app and remind them of scheduled sessions, events or specials you think they’d be interested in.
It’s About Entertainment
Above all, have fun with live selling: 41% of consumers say that entertainment is the top reason why they watch livestreams, compared to 25% of consumers in 2021. Excitement is infectious and shoppers want to be entertained. If you can be educational about who you are and what your brand has to offer, and deliver that in an entertaining format, you’ll have great success with live selling while building lasting relationships with your customers. Enjoy the journey, not the destination.
Andrew Chen is the Chief Product Officer at CommentSold, a leading commercial live selling platform that has generated $2.8B+ in lifetime GMV and shipped 94M+ products by enabling thousands of retail businesses to unlock sales growth through live selling.