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Turn your sales staff into content creators and brand influencers with these easy tips

Date: October 27, 2021

Before you consider investing in influencers and celebrities for your livestream shopping, have you thought about the experts who are already working with your brand? How can you turn sales associates into content creators and maximize the potential of your in-house product experts?

There are a few convincing reasons when it comes to turning your sales associates into livestream hosts:

  • They are the best authority on the brand: They know the range, they understand the uses and applications of each product, and they represent what the brand stands for. Who better to represent your brand than those who live it, every day?
  • They have a deep understanding of your customer: Sales associates work in a customer-facing role all day. They know what customers ask for, they are able to predict frequently asked questions, and they know what pain points customers are seeking to address. If you’re looking for a way into your customers’ minds, just ask your retail associates. 

But as a business owner, it is easy to second-guess this decision. It’s natural to wonder if it is the right move to put your team in front of the camera. In this article, we’re going to discuss the possible concerns and best practices when it comes to turning your employees into brand ambassadors. 

Busting the myths about sales associates becoming content creators

When it comes to creating livestreams for virtual shopping, many brand owners are reluctant to try out their own teams as hosts. This may be simply because it’s a new and unique idea, but there are also some misconceptions about it. Let’s address some of these: 

MYTH: Retail associates are not qualified to host livestream shopping.

FACT: Your retail associates are the real experts when it comes to your brand. They are knowledgeable about the product range and are able to discuss the features and benefits in far more detail. They’re also aware of the competitors in the industry and are able explain why your brand is different to other similar brands. 

MYTH: Retail associates may be camera-shy or awkward in front of cameras.

FACT: Anyone working in retail is accustomed to facing customers all day. They know the importance of being knowledgeable, able to predict what customers will ask for, and can offer solutions and customer service on the spot. 

MYTH: My retail staff is not tech-savvy enough to create quality content.

FACT: Most retail staff members are comfortable using smart phones and payment gateways. They consume popular content via social media and will probably be able to give you a few suggestions on creating quality content for the brand. 

MYTH: Retail associates are not as influential as celebrities or influencers.

FACT: Some argue that the era of influencers is over and that customers are seeking more reliable, genuine voices. While influencers bring a substantial following to virtual shopping and work better in some markets more than others, positioning your sales associates as the face of your brand lends authority to them and authenticity to the brand. 

Read our blog: Busting the Myths Around Livestream eCommerce.

How to train retail associates to host a livestream shopping session

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Having said all of the above, it is important for a brand to train its retail executives to create effective, quality content. While all the natural inclination and talent may be present, there are some skills that will help align all members to the common objective. 

Here’s how to go about it:

Create a profitable rewards program to motivate your associates: When you plan a virtual shopping structure with your associates at the center, do create a program for commissions. If your employees earn for every sale, it will encourage them to stay current, use their video shopping streams creatively, and direct viewers towards purchase. 

Explain clearly how sales and rewards work: In keeping with the point above, make sure every employee is able to monitor and track their own commissions. This way, there are no disappointments or surprises at the end of the month. With Swirl, each employee gets a log-in and a dashboard that allows them to view their monthly sales. 

Train sales associates on how to create effective content: This is an important point – your employees may have watched videos or even shopped online themselves, but it isn’t as easy to create it. If you provide training and tips before your employees begin, it ensures that all content is in line with the brand and with your expectations. If you are new to video shopping too, consider bringing in an expert to conduct this session. Read our guide on How to Create Compelling Livestream Content.

Establish rules for all livestream content: It is always best, when there are multiple participants with different levels of understanding and maturity, to have a set of guidelines in place. Explain to your retail associates that they represent the brand online just as they do in-store, and that they must conduct themselves as such. 

Explain brand messaging and tone so that employees always remain on-brand: Even though your retail associates know how to conduct themselves in-store, going online is different. An important part of the training is to teach employees how to communicate professionally in a virtual shopping video.

Do trial runs/role play for confidence-building: It helps to engage all team members in a practice session. In this, ask one employee to host a virtual shopping session while others interact as customers and ask questions. Allow everyone to get a chance to host and also to watch the others. 

Create spaces for livestreaming in-store: When your retail associates are ready to host video shopping sessions, it is critical to create a space in the store for them to conduct the session. Ensure that there is space to set up a camera, put up a branded background, and place products in convenient and easy-to-reach spots. If it is too difficult to set up a livestreaming spot, your employees may be less motivated to do so. 

BONUS tips for smooth, successful livestreaming

When it comes to creating your video shopping content, it is best to plan ahead. A video shopping session should run smoothly and be easy for all your viewers to access. It should also be engaging, informative, and well-paced so that the message is conveyed in the shortest time.

Here are some tips to make sure your livestream content is the best it can be.

  • Conduct a lighting and audio check: Before you begin shooting a video shopping session, do a trial run to make sure that the audio is clear and the lighting is sufficient. Check that the video is being recorded, and that there is enough battery power/memory in all devices. 
  • Check the branding and products through the recording device: Look through the camera or at the livestream to make sure the viewer gets a clear view of the background, branding, and products. Ensure that the products are within reach of the host so that the livestream can proceed smoothly. 
  • Update all products on your website: Before you begin the livestream, make sure that all the products that the host is going to talk about are updated in terms of price, variants, packaging, and available stock. When the viewer clicks on an item to buy it, it should be an error-free experience.

Communicate clearly about offers, discounts, limited stock, etc: If there are special prices or limited time offers, do make sure the host is aware of these. During the livestream, customers will click on items or ask about discounts and expect immediate answers.

See how brands are empowering retail associates to become livestream hosts

Italian fashion label, Motivi has 200 stores across Italy. In 2020, they launched a new initiative in which retail associates from these stores host livestream sessions for loyal, by-invite customers. The brand uses this time to introduce new products, conduct styling sessions and fashion shows, and offer one-on-one consultations.

While brands like Nordstrom, a chain of US department stores, conduct regular livestreams with their own executives, some of the retail giants in the US (such as Walmart and Amazon) are still experimenting to find their niche and develop a following. 

Japanese beauty brand Tatcha launched their much-awaited Silk Powder exclusively on livestream, offering the product to eager buyers. Global Director, Daniel Martin, was the host, but guests were also able to learn how to use it from a panel of different make-up artists.  

Read how different brands are using livestream to boost revenue.

Chinese luxury department store Intime has been training its staff for livestreaming since 2019, when the video commerce boom was already in full swing. During the lockdown of 2020, over 5000 retail associates hosted livestreams, conducting over 200 sessions a day. The company stated that a single livestream session enabled the host to sell more than they would have in one week of offline sales.

Swirl has helped multiple brands make the transition from offline to online retail. Giva Jewellery collaborated with Swirl to showcase some of their most popular products in time for Raksha Bandhan in 2021. Click here to view the livestream.

Zariin Jewellery has seen an improvement across the board with their collaboration with Swirl. With this creative livestream campaign as well as an exclusive product launch executed through Swirl’s platform, the brand reported an increase of 117% in customer interactions, a 3x increase in average order value, and an impressive 32% increase in conversions. 

Ready to make your livestream debut with Swirl?

With Swirl Live Shopping, you get easy access to a modern SaaS platform that lets you offer livestream and video ecommerce to your customers. You can create short videos, host one-to-many livestream sessions, conduct virtual clienteling services like one-on-one appointments, and build a database of engaged customers. 

Read more about how Swirl can optimize your virtual clienteling here.

When you subscribe to Swirl, you get a unique dashboard that lets you create and host livestreams, monitor sales, and see trackable, actionable data that lets you predict what customers will love. Whether you’re looking to provide exclusive services to new-age customers or engage with casual shoppers, Swirl is the tech partner you need to do so. 

To know more about how Swirl can help you, visit https://www.goswirl.live/ 

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