Livestream e-commerce, also known as “live selling,” is forecast to generate $17 billion in the United States in 2022 alone. With the ability to broadcast a live stream to audiences across a wide range of channels, from private Facebook Groups to mobile apps and even e-commerce stores, going live is the easy part. When using this medium to sell products, there’s more to maximizing revenue than just showing off or promoting items.
The best way to resonate with customers through a screen is by connecting with them on a human level and understanding what motivates them.
Audiences tune in to streaming videos for a variety of reasons, including:
- Feeling connected to hosts and other viewers
- Wanting to catch or be included in an exclusive, fleeting moment
- Recreating an in-person experience if they need or want to tune in virtually
By connecting with consumers on a human level, brands can see higher engagement, customer loyalty, trust, and more sales. While some retailers are natural entertainers who have the ability to charm and captivate audiences even through a screen, others may feel a little shy letting their authentic selves shine on camera.
86% of surveyed people stated that they would like to see more video content from brands.
The following tips can help any brand level up their live-selling game and make money through live streaming. It takes a little practice, but by frequently hosting live sales and delivering a consistent brand experience throughout, retailers can begin driving greater revenue through live video sales.
Tip #1: Build Hype Before the Sale
Live selling pros have built a loyal customer base that will tune in to their streams every time they go live. It’s like watching a favorite television show: the audience knows what day, time, and channel to turn on to watch their favorite host selling products they love. Some live sellers are open about their families, hobbies, and other personal information during their streams, so viewers tune in to hear what’s going on in their lives during their lives.
It’s easy for these types of sellers to build hype for each live sale because they already have a loyal fanbase (that, presumably, likes to spend money on their brand). But for sellers who are new to the live-selling game, building hype will take a little more strategy. This can be achieved through research into where their target customer is already spending time online, as well as by using all available communication channels to promote their sales.
Online retailers should view their live sale as an event—especially if they’re not yet at a level where they stream every day. Market the live sale as if it were a sidewalk sale, Black Friday sale, or grand-opening event. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, use signage and flyers to let people know when you’re hosting a live sale and where to watch it.
Use the following marketing tactics to build hype for your live sale online:
- Create Facebook events and invite your friends and family, as well as anyone who has “liked” your brand’s Facebook Page.
- Send out email blasts and/or text messages inviting your contacts to tune in to the live sale.
- Send out push notifications alerting customers about the live sale if your brand has its own mobile shopping app.
- Use your social media channels to make static posts and stories teasing the sale. Utilize graphics, video, captions, and hashtags to get more eyes on your content.
- Tease a new product, discount, or giveaway that will be revealed during the live sale.
You can re-use these strategies to build interest and momentum for any future live video sale. We recommend working up toward hosting a live sale every day at the same time, and spending at least one hour on the stream. We also recommend broadcasting your live sale to all platforms at the same time—social media, your webstore, and your mobile app—so you’re reaching as many people and making as many sales as possible.
Tip #2: Manage Your Environment
When hosting a live video sale, the star of the show should really be the products you’re selling. But there’s no denying that an animated host and visually inviting video will cause more online and social shoppers to “stop the scroll,” or pause to view your content while browsing their timeline, newsfeed, or flipping through mobile apps.
Ensuring your stream is high-quality and well-lit is essential, but there are a few additional key tips to keep in mind to hook in more viewers and convert more customers.
- Create a beautiful backdrop.
Eliminate clutter, display your products, and dress up your set to align with your brand image and add visual appeal to your live sale. Check out Miss Milly’s Tips for Designing the Perfect Backdrops for Live Studios.
- Use a ring light.
Makeup gurus and TikTok stars know the key to a flattering shot is the use of lighting that distributes the light evenly on the subject. Ring lights diffuse shadows and make videos look more high-def by literally shining a light on both the host and subject.
- Think about sound.
When you’re going live, it should be all quiet on the set. Make sure you’re in an environment where background noise (traffic, construction, chatter, etc.) is at a minimum. Many live-sellers like to play music during their videos to set a fun mood, but be sure to choose royalty-free audio or you could risk your live video ending prematurely or being muted for violating social media guidelines.
- Hire a babysitter or pet sitter.
Many smaller boutiques will host live sales from home, and that’s a great and convenient way to get started! But since these video streams are live, the host can’t yell “cut” when a toddler runs in the room or a cat knocks down their tripod. Consider setting up a designated studio space that’s away from others. If this isn’t possible, designate someone to watch the kiddos and pets while you stream, or find a time to live sell when you won’t be interrupted.
- Bring in a “guest star”.
Depending on your brand’s level, bringing in an influencer, professional athlete, celebrity, or another popular live sale host can dramatically boost viewer count on your live video, especially if your special guest taps into their own network to cross-promote your sale. If this isn’t feasible for you, bringing in a family member or friend to help model your products can show audiences a different body type or add to the fun of the live-streaming event.
- Test your equipment.
Make sure your Internet, mobile device, laptop, and lights are all in working order before you go live. It’s never a bad idea to do a practice run before you “flip the switch” and begin broadcasting to real audiences. While bloopers and blunders make us human—and that resonates with other people—glitches and technical problems can mean missed sales.
Tip #3: Interact With Your Audience
There’s a reason influencers have become the newest desirable career path for younger generations. A person’s natural charisma and ability to connect with thousands or even millions of people across the Internet and social media has shifted our culture and the way brands market and sell products. It can be incredibly lucrative, too.
Influencers have followers and fans, and businesses have customers and leads. Now, the lines are being blurred, and brands should start thinking about who the face of their company will be and how that person can best connect with their target audience.
59% of buyers said they’re more likely to buy from a small business when shopping through social commerce (including live selling).
Whether it’s the head of the company, an influencer partner, a hired host or model, or multiple team members, whoever is in front of the camera during a live sale should frequently be engaging with the audience in real-time.
We recommend one team member monitor comments that come in through the chatbox and relay questions and responses to the live-sale host. This way, the live seller can focus on showing off and talking about products while interjecting with answers to inquiries or shout-outs to viewers. The more the host works the crowd, the more comments will roll in, which helps boost organic engagement on social media and promote more products being sold.
Here are a few ways to interact with viewers during the live sale:
- Ask general questions to start the conversation.
Warm up your audience by asking (on camera) things like, “What shows are you binge-watching?” or “Who has fun weekend plans?” Encourage viewers to leave their responses in the comments section, and read replies out loud. As viewers get more comfortable commenting, they’ll be more likely to comment “sold” on your live sale if you’re utilizing comment selling in your streams.
- Wait to start selling.
While it might be tempting to jump the gun and begin showing products for sale, we recommend waiting several minutes after you go live to allow time for more people to join the live stream. This is when you can introduce yourself, ask engaging questions, and instruct viewers on how to register and shop the live sale.
- Respond to product questions.
If you’re showing a product and someone asks, “Do these jeans have any stretch?” or “Would this look flattering on a girl with curves?” respond to the comments on camera by demonstrating with the products you have on hand, directing them to your website, or sharing an anecdote that helps answer the question. You can even crowd-source responses from other viewers.
- Keep an eye on product count.
If you’re going live through the CommentSold Dashboard, you (or your live-selling assistant) can see which products are selling out and how many are left. Think of the old home-shopping television show strategy: “There are only a few left!” Letting your viewers know that supply is scarce will encourage more purchases.
CommentSold Pro-Tip: Check out these Hot Tips to Work the Crowd.
Tip #4: Introduce Games, Contests, and Giveaways
When you provide shoppers with engaging, interactive, and compelling buying experiences across your selling channels, you can see revenue multiply. Aside from showing off products and explaining how they look, fit, and function in detail, turning your live sales into an entertaining experience that involves viewers will build connection, authenticity, and brand loyalty.
Tap into the customer mindset by thinking about the reasons they go shopping and tune in to virtual events. Sometimes shopping is just another errand to cross off a checklist, but oftentimes, it’s an experience that many people enjoy. Seeing new products, talking to salespeople, and trying on clothing is fun for shopping enthusiasts. By going live, you’re recreating that in-store experience for virtual audiences.
Livestreams are fun because they’re a convenient way for people to feel connected to something or someone from a place they feel comfortable. Many virtual events include trivia games, contests, and other engaging activities that keep viewers tuned in and participating. Marrying the fun of shopping and the excitement of competition during your live sales can be a winning combination.
Here are a few ideas for incorporating activities into your live stream selling:
- Giveaways for early birds.
Encourage viewers to tune in as soon as you go live and comment right away. The first three or five customers who post a reply receive a gift card to your online store or a small “freebie” item. This promotes more views, as well as engagement.
- Trivia with prizes.
Prepare a trivia game on a specific topic in advance, and instruct your live-sale viewers to comment with their answers as you read the questions out loud during the live sale. Designate a behind-the-scenes helper to keep score, and award the viewer with the most points free shipping on their order, or a big prize, such as a designer bag or expensive item from your shop.
- Rewards for video sharers.
Offer store credit to viewers who share your live sale on social media. If you have a large number of viewers who share, you can enter their names and pick one at random to win instead.
- Use polls.
Adding polls to your Facebook Page or Group encourages people to interact with your brand on social media, and it can give you insight into their preferences. You can read the poll results out loud during your live sale.
Tip #5: Keep the Momentum Going
Throughout your live sale, encourage customers to check out often. If you’re using CommentSold while going live, remind customers to check their DMs for a link to their shopping cart after they comment “sold” on an item shown during the stream. Letting items sit in their cart during the duration of the sale can result in cart abandonment after the thrill of the live event is over. Setting cart expirations and encouraging credit card preauthorization can help the seller avoid revenue loss after the sale has ended.
As your live sale draws to a close, remind customers to follow you on each of your social media accounts, download your mobile app if you have one, and visit your online store to continue shopping. Consider that some shoppers may be first-time viewers, while others know your brand well. Remind viewers of the date and time of your next live sale, and develop a consistent live-selling schedule to keep products moving.
One of the benefits of live selling with an e-commerce platform like CommentSold is that viewers can watch and even purchase products from the stream on-demand. If they missed the sale while it was live or simply want to revisit the video, product counts will update in real-time, so viewers can buy what they see even after the broadcast has ended.
Here are a few ways to keep generating revenue after going live:
- Live Replays.
When a seller broadcasts their live sale on their webstore or mobile app, they can enable Live Replay so shoppers can re-watch the stream and purchase products from a previous live video sale.
- Automatic Product Videos.
Because online video viewership has increased across all age groups in the last five years, retailers using the CommentSold platform can automatically attach previously recorded live videos to their product listings. Enabling this feature makes shopping more interactive for viewers—even if they weren’t able to catch the live sale—by automatically attaching product videos (also called “fit videos”) to products on the seller’s app and webstore.
*When customers shop and click on or tap an item, they can view a clip of the seller’s previous live sale where the product is featured. This allows shoppers to learn more about the item and see how it fits and functions from a real person.
- Shop The Look.
One way to generate more revenue during live sales is by featuring a complete outfit or bundling different items together and selling them as a complete “package.” The Shop The Look feature allows the sellers to link several products to one video, so viewers can purchase multiple items from a single “look.”
- Add More Live-Selling Channels.
Some brands have large followings on specific social media accounts and may choose to focus their attention on live-selling on that specific platform. If you want to get more sales, we recommend expanding from your typical selling channels and broadcasting the live sale to your e-commerce store and mobile app as well.
66.5% of revenue from CommentSold retailers with their own mobile app is generated through their app.
Live selling gets easier with practice, and the more you do it, the wider you will build your online community and attract more customers. With the right engagement strategies and authentic interaction implemented during the video stream, brands can boost engagement on their live videos, which broadens their reach.
More engagement means more viewers, and more viewers mean more sales. Retailers that incorporate live video selling have been seen to generate as much as $300 a minute during a single live sale! Streaming across multiple channels simultaneously can reach more shoppers and allow brands to meet their customers where they prefer to spend their time—and money.