What Is Live Shopping, and How to Boost Your Ecommerce Sales Using Live Events?
It all started with getting into a car, heading to a mall, and checking out different stores to make a purchase. Soon after, we began shopping at the comfort of our home, browsing online stores on our smartphones and desktops, and getting things delivered to our doorstep.
While online shopping provided convenience, it lacked one aspect, i.e., the touch of human interaction. Customer experience plays a great role in ensuring that a consumer makes a second purchase from your store. Thus, enter the next phase of online shopping — live shopping. Live shopping combines the personal help of in-store shopping with online convenience.
Live shopping is nothing but the ecommerce store coupled with video live streaming. It brings an in-store experience online by allowing customers to have real-time conversations about products and buy them directly from the video without having to leave it. According to Coresight, live shopping generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019 itself.
Let’s understand the concept of live shopping, how it was started, how it benefits ecommerce retailers and brands, and how to launch your own live shopping event.
What Is Live Shopping?
Until a few years ago, home shopping channels like HomeShop18 were all the rage. They had managed to successfully combine shopping with entertaining content and their favorite hosts.
Live shopping works in a similar manner except that the channel has shifted to social media platforms and ecommerce sites. Also referred to as live commerce, live shopping allows you to showcase your products in real-time. It gives your customers the ability to initiate an order from within the video – directly add the displayed product to their cart and make a purchase or learn more from the video itself about your company.
Depending on the live commerce platform you choose, your audience can perform more activities like sending voice messages, doing live chat, asking questions, and so much more.
In essence, live shopping allows brands and ecommerce retailers to create an experiential shopping experience of brick and mortar stores for their consumers at the convenience of their homes.
The Origin of Live Shopping: How It All Started
The dawn of internet shopping changed the entire retail landscape. More so, when the Chinese giant Alibaba launched Taobao Live in May 2016 — linking up an online video live stream with an ecommerce platform.
It marked the beginning of a new revolution in how we shop online. It allowed customers to watch and shop at the same time. In 2020, Alibaba’s Singles’ Day pre sales campaign on Taobao Live was able to generate a whopping $7.5 billion in total transaction value in the first 30 minutes itself.
There’s no doubt that live commerce empowers sellers to serve a huge set of audience at once. Besides, the growth of live video shopping was further spurred during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were forced to stay home to maintain social distancing. Not surprisingly, the global sales from ecommerce grew by more than 25%.
And the best thing is that you can see anything during live shopping events — from high-end luxury products to regional handicrafts and local farm goods.
The Benefits of Live Shopping Events
Research reveals that 44% of retailers surveyed will increase their investment in livestream selling. Clearly, you will see massive growth in the adoption of live shopping in 2022.
Here are a few reasons why.
Builds Brand Awareness
Going live and engaging with your audience allows you to create a long-lasting impression in your customer’s mind. The only key is to stay consistent if you want to create a loyal fan-following community for your brand.
This will likely increase the chance of your audience remembering your brand. Besides, when you involve a famous personality — an influencer from your industry or a celebrity — it can further increase your brand presence.
Assists in Impulse Buying
Did you know that impulse buying accounts for between 40% and 80% of purchases?
Live shopping provides instant gratification to the consumers by allowing them to buy instantly whatever they like in the video. Moreover, with a live commerce platform like Swirl, your audiences can directly add products to their cart without leaving the video.
In essence, it creates a sense of excitement that encourages consumers to buy.
Reduces Return Rates
One thing that ecommerce retailers suffer from is high return rates. In fact, a study shows that at least 30% of all products ordered online are returned compared to 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores.
However, when it comes to live shopping, consumers are considerably less likely to return items when it comes to live shopping. Coresight reveals how live shoppers are 40% less likely to return items than other online shoppers.
Live video shopping creates an opportunity for brands and retailers to educate their consumers about their products and services. This results in less return as they know what they are buying.
Highlights Underperforming Products
When shopping in a brick-and-mortar shop, strategic product placement plays a huge role in making you spend more. Retailers place the product in such a way that entices a customer to buy more.
In the same manner, live video shopping provides you the opportunity to bring the limelight to your most underperforming product. It gives you the potential to turn it into a top-selling product.
For instance, viewers could be more convinced to buy when you promote it as a limited edition. They might see themselves as the trendsetter. Or, if a product is complicated to use, your store associates can help explain its usage in the live stream.
Selecting Your Live Shopping Platform
Earlier, customers came from only one way, which was your store’s main door. But now, people can stream and shop from various devices, including computers, smartphones, and more.
When you look for a live shopping platform for your business, there are certain factors to look for.
Ease of Joining the Live Events
You may say that the concept of going live is not a new phenomenon. Influencers have been going live on social media for quite some time now. So, how does live shopping differ?
The development of live commerce technology directly integrates with the ecommerce platform, allowing brands to go live from the site itself. Choose a shoppable video platform that allows your users to join the live event with just a click.
Customers are looking for convenience. Having a live video selling platform that lets your users buy products from within the video itself will help you stand out from your competitors.
What sets the best live commerce platform from others available in the market is its ability to seamlessly integrate with your ecommerce platform.
You should be able to easily embed and stream live events on your website or any third-party platforms like Shopify and interact with your customers. Choose a platform that allows for seamless zero code integration, saving you from hassle.
More and more consumers are using smartphones to carry out everyday activities — starting from buying online to paying bills and taking photos. Shoppers today prefer to shop using their mobile phones.
In fact, most traffic on ecommerce sites comes from a mobile device. A live commerce platform should provide a rich mobile experience that provides a seamless viewing experience to your audience.
You should know that mobile retail commerce revenue via smartphones is expected to surpass $400 billion by 2024.
One thing that can help you grow your sales on live events is with the help of real-time analytics. Having access to real-time engagement analytics and predictive sales, you can attempt to deliver an immersive shopping experience to your audience.
Running a live shopping event with access to key metrics and customer data points can help you increase your conversion rate. These detailed analytics will assist in making smart decisions and optimizing your success.
Best Practices for Using Live Shopping to Grow Your Ecommerce Sales
Live video grew by 93%, with an average viewing time of 26.4 minutes per session in 2019. The number is only expected to grow in 2022.
If you want to grow your business and attract more customers, there’s no better way than conducting live shopping events. It enables you to interact with your audience in real-time. Instead of uploading previously recorded videos, you can sell your products in real-time. So yes, it’s crucial to use live shopping in your ecommerce strategy.
That being said, there are certain practices for live streaming that can boost your ecommerce sales.
i. Connect to Your Viewers
The whole purpose of live streaming is to get the chance to interact with your customers in real-time. It’s important to build a real connection with your audience if you want them to come back.
One of the best ways to do that is by understanding your audiences and providing them with enough information about the product. It is said that instead of addressing the whole live video using phrases like ‘I like it,’ replace it with ‘you might like this.’
It helps create a picture of how it will be useful for them and helps connect with the product you are selling.
ii. Make it Engaging and Entertaining
Live shopping allows you to add a human touch, bridging the gap between online and offline shopping experiences. However, it’s important to keep the video entertaining while educating audiences about your product.
You can invite an influencer or have them interact directly with your store associate. Your consumers might have a lot of questions to ask them. Besides, allowing them to leave comments and live reactions can make the whole experience engaging for your consumers.
iii. Stay Consistent With Your Live Events
If you want to make the most of live events, staying consistent is the key. Schedule your live shopping events in advance — you can choose to have a weekly or monthly event depending on your resource.
Promote your events and keep your audiences informed when you are going live. In fact, if you conduct live events at regular intervals, your subscribers can even set time aside to attend your live shows.
Use live shopping to build genuine connections and entertain your audience while selling products simultaneously.
iv. Record Your Live Shows
When you stream a live event, the best thing to do is record your show and reuse it for later viewing. This allows your users to watch the video even if they missed your live stream and buy products that they wish for.
You can easily embed recorded live shows on the relevant category page of your website and allow them to watch on-demand. It can further boost your ecommerce sales.
Launch Your Live Shopping Events Effortlessly With Swirl
Hosting the live shopping platform from your own storefront gives you control and allows you to meet all your customers in the right place at the right time. Using Swirl, an end-to-end white-label live commerce platform, you can easily embed and launch live events into your websites with just a few clicks.
It gives you better opportunities to add your own brand and promote one-to-many live shopping events. Moreover, it captures verified customer data points and provides real-time engagement analytics to ensure your audiences are actively involved.
Most importantly, Swirl allows you to record and save your live shopping events and repurpose them for later viewing. If that wasn’t enough, you could even aim to maximize viewership by casting live shopping events on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube simultaneously.
Your audiences do not need any app to join. They simply need to click on a link and start watching the live events.
Plug Swirl into your website and start accelerating your sales by engaging, converting, and retaining more customers.