Bridge the gap between online and offline retail with compelling livestream content
Date: August 4, 2021
Navigating the transition from offline store to online live shopping can be intimidating. Most brands are able to provide a deeply customized in-store experience but find it challenging to imagine replicating this through video content. But livestream shopping can be a great way to bridge the gap between both worlds and turn viewers into long-term customers. Here are our top tips.
When it comes to planning livestream commerce for your products, your goal is to bridge the gap between the brick-and-mortar store and the online store. All brands know that shopping in the real world is a more tactile and complete experience for customers. It is easier for a customer to explore and understand the product when they can hold it and try it before coming to a decision. In contrast, online shopping has many unknowns that could intimidate a customer and prevent them from making a purchase.
How do you capture the interest of a consumer when there are dozens of online distractions battling for their notice every minute? How can you create effective content that leads customers from the awareness stage through to the purchase stages? How do you create content that can replicate the benefits of offline shopping?
In this article, we’ll address how to overcome these challenges and provide relevant and successful livestream content.
Problem 1: How can I persuade new customers to trust/try my brand through online-only content?
Solution: Every customer wants to trust the brand they buy from, whether online or offline. Apart from your own brand promises, having trusted influencers speak for you is a great way to build trust.
Using influencers and micro-influencers can make a huge difference to sales numbers. When there isn’t an option to trial a product for themselves, customers will rely on the testimonials of people they trust. A study by MuseFind, an influencer marketing platform, found that 92% of consumers trust influencers more than celebrities. While they may have reservations about accepting brand claims, customers will pay attention when an expert or an influencer confirms the same.
In China, Viya Huang, ex-singer and top Taobao livestreamer, streamed content on Singles Day to showcase her products. Nicknamed the Queen of Livestream by Bloomberg, Viya sold over $45 million worth of products on just one day! Viya is known to be selective about what she promotes or sells and will even sometimes tell customers that a product is overpriced. When an influencer is seen as being ‘on the side of the customer’, they are perceived as being reliable and honest. Such influencers report higher sales and can persuade customers far more easily than those who seem fake.
However as a brand, one aspect of communication should come from you – assurances about safe seamless transactions, and easy returns and refunds. This is one of the top reasons that customers will trust your brand and return to buy again.
Read our blog about using live video shopping to inspire customer confidence.
Problem 2: How can I persuade customers to make a decision when they can’t experience the product for themselves?
Solution: Create content designed to allow customers to explore the products as much as possible. By providing all the information they need, you can persuade customers that they need your product and give them a chance to see how it fits into their lives.
When you provide multiple ways for a customer to get a feel of your product, they are more likely to purchase. By planning your content to be relevant to a wide range of customers, you can create relevant livestreams that allow your customer to understand all they need to about the product.
When you plan your content, consider the many types of usage and the diverse motivations customers have to use your product. This will help you generate ideas and scripts to show customers how much they need your product. Some of these include:
- Demos of how to use it or make the most of it
- Tutorials on how to set it up or make it work
- DIY or home improvement projects that are easier because of it
- Trial videos or haul videos
- Unboxing or review videos
On the Myntra app, almost all items now have a video clip of a live model wearing or modelling the product. This gives customers a better idea of the material, flow, and drape of the item than static pictures.
We all know how carefully the Indian consumer does research before buying formal wear for weddings. PN Rao in Bangalore is one of the most trusted names in menswear for formal or special occasions. During the pandemic, PN Rao partnered with Swirl to offer customers virtual tours, product selection advice, and even custom styling. By the end of their campaign, they had raised over 5000 leads during a lockdown and boosted month-on-month sales by 37%.
Problem 3: How can I replicate the personal touch of in-store sales staff in a livestream video?
Solution: The online medium provides many ways to touch base with your customer. It is also the medium that most customers are increasingly becoming comfortable with. Use various modes of interaction to help customers feel a connection with your brand and product.
One of the greatest benefits of livestream content is that you can interact in real-time with your customers. This gives you a valuable insight into the concerns they have, so that you can work on making your communication more effective.
Take advantage of this benefit to interact with your customer: offer advice, conduct polls, answer FAQs, or provide coupons or information on upcoming sales. Your employees are already trained and able to do this in person – it’s just a matter of training them to do this online.
Zariin is a digital-only fine jewellery brand that is made in India and retails in 21 countries worldwide. It already offers thoughtful services like free repairs and lifetime warranties, but without a store presence, the brand wanted to establish a deeper connect with customers. Zariin partnered with Swirl to create virtual appointments with a jewellery stylist, offer advice on cleaning and care, fashion advice, and to offer special prices for their End of Season Sale.
The result? Zariin saw an increase of 117% in customer engagement, 3x increase in average order value, and a 32% increase in conversions.
Problem 4: I’ve invested in creating a great in-store experience for my customers. How can an online experience match that?
Solution: Livestream shopping can offer an engaging, informative experience that customers enjoy – if you invest time and effort in your content.
Livestream commerce offers you wider reach and endless opportunities to experiment and provide customers with a pleasing, helpful experience, so shouldn’t you be investing more time and money in it? Without the physical limitations of an in-store space, you can reach out and cater to more people. Through data, analysis and technology, you can find more effective ways to communicate with your customer.
Take the effort to study brands with similar products and a stable presence online. Once you know what works well and appeals to customers, you can create longer and more relevant video content. By scripting the livestream, using aesthetic backgrounds, and investing in good quality sound and editing software, your livestream can become one of your most effective sales tools.
Chipotle is a Mexican fast-food chain that leverages its vibrant heritage and delicious food through their online presence. On Cinco De Mayo, the Executive Chef of Chipotle took to the screen with a series of recipe videos for margaritas. By participating in the fun around the biggest Mexican festival of the year, and by adding value for the viewer, the brand was able to strengthen its authentic Mexican identity.
Read our blog on how to create different types of livestream content so that customers can interact with your brand on multiple levels.
Problem 5: It is easier to create a brand identity offline than online. How will my customers recognize my brand in livestream content?
Solution: By staying true to your brand personality, you can create a deeply memorable brand identity through your livestream content.
When it comes to representing your brand online, consider how your customers perceive the brand. Is it aspirational? Approachable and helpful? Inspirational? By capitalizing on this identity in your livestream content, you can reinforce brand recall and ensure that your messaging is effective.
Consider using logos and brand colours in the background or even shooting livestream content in your store if possible. This gives the video a fresh behind-the-scenes appeal that stands out from the rest.
Use your livestream to discuss other products under your brand to showcase the breadth and depth of your offerings. By creating doing so, your customer makes connections that may be outside the scope of the video but can bring them back later for a secondary purchase.
For example, Origins is a cosmetics company that uses only naturally-derived ingredients. Their experts host a regular video session that discusses skincare issues with customers. The staff of Origins offers demos of the products, opening them to display textures, packaging, ingredients, and more. If a customer logs in to watch how to use sunscreen, they are also exposed to other products during the live chat, which means they will be more likely to buy a second product.
It is important that your livestream content is consistent, brand-specific, and helpful. Find out the top 5 things to know before you begin planning video content.
Instead of comparing offline to online, think of livestream commerce as a unique but equally critical part of your business. For many brands, building a brand in the livestream space has proven to be a catalyst for strengthening the business. If you view livestream commerce as a fad, you will not be able to capitalize on the immense potential that it offers.
Apart from the potential in terms of revenue, livestream commerce has an added advantage. It helps you future-proof your business. Whether the pandemic has affected your brand or not, there are always factors – black swan events, changing consumer behaviours, new competitors, etc – that may impact your business. By moving with the times and creating new sources of revenue, you are simply future-proofing your business.
As consumers spend more time in the online medium, the brands that are present are the ones that will benefit from increased brand recall and boosted sales. Livestream commerce is here to stay, and it is likely that brands that cannot be agile will be left behind.