5 Keys to Hosting a Successful Livestream Shopping Experience

Adapt or perish – the world of eCommerce marketing is constantly changing. We see examples of how retailers are getting creative with the use of social media to promote products – but what’s next? Enter: The livestream shopping event!

Livestream shopping takes the traditional QVC-style home-buying shopping experience to the next level with the use of social media. Brands are able to go “live” online to reach a broader audience to sell products in a more engaging way. And it’s highly effective. Livestream shopping generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019 and we don’t see that number decreasing anytime soon. 

We’re sharing a five-step process you can follow for hosting a successful livestream shopping event!

Step 1: Determine what aspects of your eComm business are ripe for livestream

If you’re excited about launching a livestream shopping event, the first step is to begin forming a business case by conducting research. Considering asking yourself the following questions:

  • What social media platforms does your audience spend the most time on?
  • What products make the most sense to promote?
  • What is your pricing strategy? Will you offer a special discount for livestream attendees?
  • What is your promotion strategy? How will you raise awareness for your event?
  • What KPIs will be measured? How will you measure the success of your event?

Challenge your own business case! Conduct secondary research by finding livestream strategies that have worked for similar businesses in your category. And, don’t be afraid to fold: If you’re unable to justify the investment with a plan that’s going to engage your audience, realize it might make sense to shift gears and consider promoting a different product or category altogether.

Step 2: Research and select livestream shopping platform

If your business case passes the “sniff test”, it’s time to perform additional research to determine what type of technology will be used to host your livestream shopping experience. This step could make (or break) the outcome of your event, so allow ample time to evaluate your options. 

Generation, ease of navigation, and conversion process are all factors to consider when comparing technology platforms. If your target audience is familiar with live-streaming events, you may consider a dedicated livestream shopping platform, like Popshop Live or buywith. If your audience is more experienced with a home shopping program like QVC, it might be smart to stick with a social network like Facebook for conversion reasons. 

Step 3: Plan product and promotion tactics

Remember, the goal is to attract a mass audience, so choose a product and promotion tactic that is going to set you up for success. 

Generally speaking, there are two promotion tactics used to generate interest in livestream shopping events: Limited-edition releases and time-specific discounts. Promoting the same products you have on your website isn’t going to be enticing enough for shoppers to attend. It’s absolutely critical to create a sense of scarcity and urgency with your audience: 

  • A limited-edition release often includes a countdown timer that lets viewers know that a product is only available for a set period of time. This helps to increase urgency and expedite sales.
  • A time-specific discount lets shoppers know they can access a special promotion by purchasing during a particular window. 

Both of these are strategies are excellent for enhancing exclusivity and helping to meet the goals of your livestream campaign. 

Step 4: Define tone and communications strategy

Never launch a new marketing initiative without defining a communications strategy. Define the style and tone of voice. Messaging is a large part of the overall strategy and should be crafted to appeal to your audience’s emotions. What problems will your product solve? How will it make their life easier? How will it enhance their quality of life? What solutions can you offer them? And, how can you relay that your product is exactly what they need in their life at this very moment in time? 

Before building any creative, use a tool like Lucid Charts to map the buyer’s journey from awareness to purchase and beyond. Social media and email marketing will inevitably be at the heart of your strategy; however, mapping the buyer’s journey is imperative when defining when (and how) your target audience will be engaged simultaneously via both channels. 

Ensure messages surrounding your livestream shopping event are consistent across all mediums and frequent. When it comes to increasing awareness, consistency and frequency will help you remain top-of-mind until the event takes place. The goal is to first inform and then build excitement!

Step 5: Test, test, test

Plan to build and test a series of events to see what sticks. It’s unlikely that your very first livestream shopping event will produce perfect results. Consider testing different products and promotion strategies to see what resonates with your audience the most. A/B test different messages, posts, ads, emails, landing pages, and technology platforms to gather data that can be used to improve future events. Ask around, survey your ideal customers, and determine what your audience truly expects from a livestream shopping experience. 

Once you’ve gathered enough data to work with, evaluate the results of your control (pilot) campaign and compare the results to your test campaigns. Use that information to improve and begin developing a list of best practices to refine your strategy. This will enhance communication with your audience, and help build an online community that can be nurtured and further monetized. 

Lastly, remember: Successful implementation requires time, strategy, and patience to achieve positive results. Don’t be hard on yourself for trying a new strategy. If hosting a livestream shopping event was easy, all eCommerce marketers everyone would be doing it. You’re already light years ahead!

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