Retailers have been using video to attract and interact with customers for a long time. With the advent of the digital age, eCommerce businesses have used video consistently to advertise their products and services across a wide variety of platforms. Live video broadcasts are a relatively recent and innovative way to connect with your customers directly. Live-streamed shopping makes the online shopping experience more interactive and allows your audience to engage with you in real-time.
Traditionally, the eCommerce journey has always been lacking, and it can barely compare to the classic retail experience. The main advantage of eCommerce is that it allows your customer to shop from the comfort of their home. Live streaming brings the store to your customer’s home in the most exciting way possible, presenting a unique opportunity to create a fresh, more personal shopping experience.
Live social broadcasts reduce common barriers that often limit an online shopping experience. Retailers can develop deeper connections with customers through live streaming, which can positively affect their bottom line and customer retention. Live selling generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019 alone. It’s booming in China and growing in other parts of the world, especially as online shopping has skyrocketed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Consumption of social video on Instagram and Facebook is at an all-time high, especially with the rise of micro and macro-influencers. What started with YouTube has become central to nearly every eCommerce business’s marketing and customer engagement strategies.
The Benefits of Live Streaming
Live streaming can boost your eCommerce sales in ways that text, images, and other static content cannot. The most notable benefits of live video broadcasts are:
- Higher engagement – 80% of people would rather watch a live video than read a blog post. Live streaming enables customers to have more intimate discussions with brands and also allows customers to engage with each other on social comments.It has also been found that businesses with effective customer engagement have a customer retention rate of 89%.
- Cashing in on Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) – when you stream a live video, your viewers won’t want to miss it, especially millennials, who may suffer from a constant FOMO. This brings in a more extensive viewership and ultimately more conversions. Due to the collective Covid-19 related experience of being isolated for so long, live streaming allows us to be around people, albeit virtually.
- A natural, lifelike shopping experience – live streamed shopping is the next best thing to shopping in-store. Most customers are not satisfied with images and therefore prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar establishment. Live video gives them a much better idea about the quality of a product.
- Affordability – live streaming is affordable and accessible. It is practically free to live stream via social media, and even the more professional live streaming applications are easily accessed.
- Authenticity – a person on a live video is far more inviting than a simple website. The human factor makes live streaming preferable to simply browsing online. People prefer to have goods sold to them by humans instead of talking to chatbots on a website.
- Simplicity – you can live stream through your mobile device. There’s no need for any technical know-how whatsoever with such an intuitive app – just download and start streaming.
- Improves visibility – live broadcasts are one of the best ways to gain more attention on social media and get your content seen by more people. After we ran a webinar with client acquisition specialist Amy Walker, she recommended doing live videos as one of the most important free organic lead generation tactics. As she said:“Live video is the thing that breaks the algorithm and gets you SO much more traction.”
Here are ten tips for making the most out of live-streamed shopping:
1. Choose the Right Platform
You could choose to have a paid live stream platform integrated with your eCommerce platform, or you could host your live stream on social media free of charge. The reach for each platform is slightly different depending on where most of your business comes from. If your eCommerce business is mainly engaging on a Facebook or Instagram page, live stream there.
If you have an eCommerce website, live stream shopping platforms give you more control and centralizes the overall shopping experience. You’ll want to consider scalability for peaks in traffic because of a live-streamed shopping event.
While there are indeed many benefits to live streaming, there are inevitably a couple of drawbacks. Implementing streaming from social media or a third-party cloud app that does not connect to your website means giving up control of the customer experience. You also lose the opportunity for data capture and gaining leads for re-engagement – points worth keeping in mind before you embark on your live streaming journey.
2. Plan Ahead
It’s live, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it completely impromptu. The more you prepare for the live event, the more chances you have for it to succeed. You can pre-decide the format of your live stream and plan the agenda.
Make sure the bare minimum is decided on the spot. If you want to have a Q&A session with your audience, or if you’re inviting a guest for an interview, settle on the schedule beforehand. If your format is predefined, it becomes easier to create content to match. A scripted live show will have fewer hiccups than an improvised live stream.
3. Build up Excitement Before the Live Event
Long before your live stream broadcast, start sending event teasers and notifications to your customers and social media followers. You might even send notifications and promotions on different platforms to make the maximum number of potential viewers aware of your event. Having a pre-event campaign can also boost the impact of your live shopping event.
Whether your live stream is successful depends on the number of viewers that joined and engaged during the event. Promoting your show before the actual transmission will ensure that the maximum audience is aware of your live broadcast and will (hopefully) attend it. Creating hype is the surest way to ensure bolstered viewing figures. Make sure there are posts on all your social media pages informing your audience about your live streaming event.
4. Improve Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a marketing tactic of having an influential person promote their products. Include live streaming in your influencer marketing contracts as it can double video engagement. Whether you partner with a famous content creator or a celebrity, influencer marketing can benefit greatly from live streaming and vice versa. Get strategic with your collaborations and leverage their influence on live video.
Instead of having your influencer partner post only photos or videos, have them unbox your products on live video. This lets the audience see your actual products, and they are also more readily influenced by the reactions and impressions of fellow audience members. You could also co-host a live stream with influencers. This can help you both boost your followings while marketing your brand to boot.
5. Involve the Audience
Live streaming is an important marketing tool because your audience can interact with you in real-time. If you’re unboxing your video or unveiling a much-awaited collection, do the following to build meaningful connections:
- Respond to the comments and questions on video
- Name check your regular customers from the audience
- Ask your customers what they want, hold polls, and include suggestions in your future videos
- Use the chat feature to host interactive activities
- Challenge viewers to a competition
6. Giveaways and Time-Sensitive Discounts
One of the best ways to increase viewership of your live streams is to hold exclusive giveaways. Giveaways on Instagram and Facebook raffles get people buzzed. Consider the giveaway an investment to entice customers to attend your live streams and learn more about your product and brand.
It’d be safe to say that most customers are impulsive buyers. Everyone loves a good deal, and no one wants to miss a chance to save some money. Give your customers a discount with the “buy now” option during the live shopping event to create a sense of urgency.
7. Hold Webinars
If you have the kind of brand that engages with a professional audience, you could use live streaming to host webinars. Live streaming does not necessarily mean limiting it to just showcasing your products – you could improve your brand image by calling experts related to your niche and hold a live seminar.
A lot of eCommerce brands that sell skincare products often host live webinars on their social media pages. They invite renowned dermatologists and help their audience with their problems. This is a unique way of helping your audience and converting them to customers. If you’re a reseller or a retailer, you could ask representatives from the brand to speak at your live webinar.
Your webinar can be complemented with presentations, infographics, and audiovisual content to further entice your customers. Always save a webinar session after the live event so more users can find it, benefit from the information and visit your website.
8. Incorporate Immersive Video
Immersive video content is a virtual reality-related video feature. It helps the viewer experience the video stream from a first-person perspective. It’s an advanced technology that makes the viewer feel that they’re actually _in _the video.
Using immersive video in live streaming can be a game-changer. Augmented reality has already transformed eCommerce by providing a more lifelike shopping experience. Immersive video can make your audience feel like they are right there beside you as they shop. This is of particular note for eCommerce shopping in the fashion, automotive, and real estate industries.
9. Broadcast Your Live Events
You could be hosting large-scale live events with thousands of people in attendance. You could be launching new products, limited-edition drops, or a fashion show. Live ecommerce can be adapted to such events too. Customers who are unable to attend your event in person can access the live stream at a later date.
Louis Vuitton and Victoria’s Secret have catered to customer demand and provided fans the opportunity to purchase items in real-time via shoppable mobile streaming.
Keep the following in mind when you broadcast your events:
- Get flawless video quality, HD if possible
- See if you can implement a multi-camera setup, so the audience can have varying angles of products, and the event itself
- If someone is speaking, include subtitles
- Make your broadcast mobile-device friendly
- Make your live streaming shareable
- For a bigger event, you will need a professional live streaming platform
- Regardless of where your server is and where the event is held, you can run the live stream from the cloud using Function as a Service (FaaS)
10. Track Your Metrics
Live shows provide a whole lot of data that can be indicative of your target market and related demographics. You can also use metrics to get an idea about your event’s success. The most important metric is the sales you have made during the live event as well as if you were able to attract new customers. This can help you analyze whether you need to modify your approach and alter content to increase customer interest in your live events.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted retail trends dramatically. The world is shopping online more than ever, and because of this, the demand for live social video will remain high. As consumers continue to spend most of their time at home, live streaming is an attractive option to connect with other people. Live video brings raw, unfiltered content that is far more personal than curated content.
The high that eCommerce is enjoying will continue regardless of the pandemic, as people have become even more comfortable shopping from their sofas. If you want to stay ahead of your eCommerce competitors, adopt live video shopping and boost your sales. It can help take your business to the next level without the need for a large investment. Your live video marketing strategy can help you reach customers on their own terms.
Live shopping has added entertainment value, and eCommerce has become fun and exciting because of it. It will become a critical part of the customer experience because it has the uniqueness of human interaction that traditional eCommerce lacks.
Live streaming can help you meaningfully engage with your consumers and convert them just as you would in a physical store, giving eCommerce operators even more reason to give live streaming a try.
Written by our guest writer Marjorie Hajim
Marjorie Hajim is the SEO Manager for EMEA at RingCentral, a leading cloud communications company that provides VoIP and video conferencing services. She develops and executes strategies for short-term and long-term SEO growth. In her spare time, she loves reading books at coffee shops and playing with her dogs.