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For retailers and brands, “going live” consistently can drive conversion rates that are higher than what they see on their e-commerce sites. Here are some tips that businesses of all sizes should keep in mind when expanding into the high-potential live selling channel.
Live selling proved a lifeline for retailers and brands over the past couple of years as the pandemic disrupted store operations and consumers moved online in droves for shopping and entertainment. Many retail operators that have recently dipped their toes into this new selling medium have quickly discovered that “going live” can generate higher conversion rates than they typically see on their e-commerce sites. It can also turn occasional customers into dedicated brand fans who habitually tune in to engage with their favorite live selling hosts to learn about new products and make repeat purchases. In fact, successful brands and retailers have found that their customers are tuning in not only to shop, but also for entertainment and personal connection.
Coresight Research forecasts that the live selling market in the U.S. will reach $25 billion by next year; McKinsey estimates that by 2026, live selling will account for 10 percent to 20 percent of global e-commerce sales. As the consumer audience for live selling continues to grow, the platforms where retailers and brands can stream are multiplying. Businesses can now live sell not only on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and other social media sites, but concurrently on their own e-commerce websites and, if they have them, on their own mobile apps. One major benefit of live selling is that it allows retailers and brands to meet their customers wherever they are, which, today, is most likely on mobile.
Here are some of the top tips that retailers and brands should keep in mind to grow their live sell audiences and revenues:
- Show your authentic personality and connect with your viewer. Viewers love hosts they can relate to and engage with, so don’t be afraid to be yourself and connect with viewers by giving shout-outs and making the experience more personal and conversational. Each live selling session should feel like a fun shopping experience with a group of friends.
- Go live at the same time on the same days each week. Think more like you’re airing a TV show, with ongoing episodes, than a one-time special event. Aim to live sell consistently at least once or twice a week, and always on the same days and at the same times so viewers make tuning in a habit.
- Offer plenty of SKUs. Shoppers love seeing new products and many will tune in repeatedly when they know they’ll be able to discover new items each time their favorite host goes live. Offering more styles, but in limited quantities, helps drive FOMO (fear of missing out) and improve sell-throughs.
- Use different-sized models to demo clothing. Every shopper wants to be able to understand how clothes will look on them before they buy. Having models of different sizes and shapes helps viewers see how items are likely to fit and drape on their own bodies.
- Combine some education with the entertainment. Viewers tend to love learning more about products before they buy, so share details freely. If you sell clothing, that might mean talking about how an item fits and how to style it with other pieces. A jeweler might talk about the qualities of the stones or metals used in their pieces. Beauty retailers can offer tutorials and educate their viewers about ingredients.
- Use good lighting, but don’t aim for Hollywood-level production values. Viewers need to be able to clearly see the products the host is demonstrating, so lighting is important. However, a tricked-out, formal studio setup with multiple cameras isn’t necessary.
Great customer service, empathy and true connection with the shopper is vital on every channel, so every retailer and brand should make sure the live sell purchase experience is seamless, quick and clear. If a customer has a question during a live session, try to answer it right then or follow up soon after. And when something doesn’t go as planned with a customer’s order, fix it as quickly as possible, just like you would with an in-store customer.
Finn Faldi is a technology investor and chief commercial officer at CommentSold, which is helping thousands of retailers scale their business and develop a loyal customer following using live selling.
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