Beyond Social Media: Multichannel Live Sales Rising for Retail Brands

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Shifting Shopping Habits

The world at large has seen a massive shift toward live streaming, virtual events, and online shopping. Data shows that social media usage has shifted as well. Consumers are embracing virtual experiences outside of their news feeds, spending more time on mobile apps, for example. While shoppers are exploring new technologies, sellers are feeling the strain of competing with social algorithms to get their content noticed. Some are turning to multichannel selling for raising brand awareness, increasing sales, and reaching potential customers for their eCommerce business.

CommentSold’s data team conducted a study of viewership on live videos streamed to Facebook through the CommentSold platform and compared the findings to viewership on live videos streamed directly to Facebook. The purpose of the study was to examine the effect of third-party streaming apps on viewership.

The CommentSold data team discovered that over 14 months, the viewership of CommentSold live sales on Facebook has fallen 14% while live viewership for non-CommentSold live sales on the social network has fallen 30%.

Declining Live Views on Social Platforms

The downward trend in viewership does not apply to all live selling channels, which include webstores and shopping apps. While live viewership on social media is currently trending downward, live selling as a whole is still a growing and incredibly lucrative industry—the global video streaming market is projected to hit $223.98 billion by 2028, according to Grandview Research.

Reasons for this can be supported with data and by analyzing the online retail industry as a whole.

News Feed Visibility Depends on a Number of Factors

There are several possible reasons for the dip in live video views on social media. When Facebook Live first launched in 2016, these real-time streaming videos seemed like a “golden ticket” to get to the top of users’ news feeds for many brands.

Now, Facebook and other social platforms use algorithms to ensure their users are receiving content that is most relevant to them. Posts from friends and people users follow are now prioritized to better meet demand and interest. “Black-box” algorithms used in machine learning on social media promote some live events over others as well.

In Q3 of 2021, Facebook published the most popular post types a typical user sees in their News Feed:

  • 54% of posts are from friends and people followed
  • 17.8% are from Facebook Groups
  • 11.7% are from Facebook Pages

There is also increased competition among brands on Facebook fighting for users’ attention, so unless a Facebook user regularly engages with a brand’s Facebook Page or Group, those posts and videos may get buried.

To protect artists and prevent copyright infringement, Facebook will often mute or remove live videos that violate its guidelines, which include the unauthorized use of certain music playing in the background of a live stream. If viewers aren’t getting the full, immersive experience with visuals and audio, they may choose to click away from the live video.

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Strategies for Boosting Live Sale Viewership

Although Facebook Live viewership has declined, there’s no doubt the social media platform is still an effective way for brands to attract and sell to consumers. The key to success among forward-thinking retailers is to use the social platform as a piece of their overall multichannel e-commerce strategy.

CommentSold has found that companies with effective multichannel marketing see as much as 89% customer retention, and there’s a 30% increase in the lifetime value of customers who shop across multiple channels.

Defining Multichannel Selling

Before diving into the strategies for boosting multichannel sales, let’s define what this is. As the name describes, multi-channel eCommerce selling is when a business utilizes selling on multiple sales channels. Using more than one sales channel, such as a website or online store, online marketplace, eCommerce platform, or social media platform, has its many benefits, primarily helping increase your customer reach to improve sales. Here are the multiple channels you can use:

Use Facebook to Build Hype

It’s no surprise that Facebook can be utilized as a sales channel to not only increase sales but also to attract potential customers and interact with your target audience.

  • Use your brand’s Facebook Page and Group to post sneak peeks, upcoming prizes, special deals, or items that will be revealed during your upcoming live video sale.
  • Create Facebook Events for your upcoming lives, and use the discussion feature within each event to boost engagement and visibility.
  • Encourage friends, family, and VIP customers to RSVP to your live sale event, share your posts, and spread the word.

Market Like a Pro

Using multiple platforms to raise brand awareness and reach your target audience can be a simple way of driving customers to your selling channels.

  • Think beyond social media by sending email and text reminders about your upcoming live sale.
  • Host a giveaway for people who share your live sale on social media, and promote this incentive through your marketing channels. 
  • Think of social media as a marketing tool and an alternate way to broadcast to shoppers. View your mobile app as your main broadcasting channel for live sales.

Go Live Everywhere – At Once

Hosting live sales can provide an engaging customer experience as your customers will get to know you on a different level. This is also a great opportunity to talk about your brand and build customer loyalty through your product offering.

  • Broadcast your live sale to your Facebook Page and/or Group and your mobile app and webstore at the same time.
  • If broadcasting on Facebook, go live for a minimum of 45 minutes (60 minutes is ideal) for maximum reach. Showcase each item long enough to cover all details and answer questions as they come in.
  • Use the CommentSold Dashboard to keep track of comments, orders, and inventory counts so you can engage with your viewers on-camera in real-time.

Build Engagement During Live Sales

Again, going live builds an engaging customer experience, only it doesn’t have to be just about your business and product information. It can also be a time to engage customers on what they would like to see more of.

  • Ask an engagement question at the beginning of your live sale to get people commenting. (“What are you making for dinner?” or “What shows are you currently binge-watching?” for example.)
  • Play games, run contests, and host giveaways during your live sale that encourage viewers to interact through the comments section.
  • Send a mobile app push notification about halfway through your live sale, and hype what’s about to happen next. (“Tune in to our live NOW to see the hottest new trend for spring!”)

Keep the Momentum Going

Using a multichannel strategy is rewarding, but don’t stop there. Here’s how you can continue building brand awareness beyond just selling on a different channel:

  • Go live multiple times a week and at the same time each day. Shoppers will become familiar with your schedule—it’s like tuning in to their favorite TV show. Once you are hosting one successful live sale a week, CommentSold recommends moving up to three live sales a week with new inventory for each, then eventually hosting live sales daily.
  • Don’t forget about live replays. If life gets in the way and shoppers miss your live sale, they can still view the initial broadcast and shop from the video after the fact. Hype up the “after-party.”
  • Make static posts. Photos, visually appealing graphics, and even engagement-building text posts all help build your audience and bump your posts up to the top of shoppers’ News Feeds.

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Live Video Succeeds on Mobile Apps

Per analysis from the CommentSold Data Team, there is no evidence to support that using CommentSold for live selling on Facebook is the contributing factor to decreased viewership. Facebook Live viewership is declining for retailers who do—and do not—use CommentSold to host live sales through the social platform. However, data shows live sale viewership on retail shopping apps has jumped upward since 2020.

Supporting Statistics:

  • Of the CommentSold shops that saw a decrease in Facebook Live viewers, 47% using a CommentSold mobile app saw increasing live sale viewership on the app.
  • Sellers using a CommentSold branded mobile app see a 5-10x increase in conversion rates and 3x more spending through the app.
  • Shops on CommentSold generate an average of 67% of their total revenue through their branded mobile app.

E-Commerce Apps are the Future of Retail

While live sale viewership on social media is currently trending downward for shops, it shouldn’t be completely ruled out as a selling channel. With nearly 3 billion registered users, Facebook is still an incredibly powerful way to connect with consumers. But it’s important for today’s businesses to secure their brands by existing everywhere and not relying on a single selling channel. Using a multichannel strategy means you’re not dependent on a single channel, but rather you’re utilizing multiple platforms.

Sellers can take advantage of CommentSold’s ability to rapidly build high-quality apps branded to their business if their goal is to increase viewers and conversions through live video sales. A mobile app serves as a private selling channel that gives customers an immersive live sale experience independent of social media channels.

Retailers can bypass noisy newsfeeds, competition, and algorithms by expanding their selling channels beyond social media. A mobile app allows brands to maintain ownership of the large following they’ve collected through social media marketing—without the oversight, control, and ever-changing prioritization of social media platforms.

Supporting Statistics

  • Mobile app shoppers are 220% more likely to repeat purchase than non-app shoppers.
  • Sellers using CommentSold to broadcast live sales have been seen to generate as much as $300 per minute

Going Multichannel in a Mobile-First World

Sellers can still broadcast their mobile app live sales to their Facebook Pages and Groups through CommentSold at the same time, so no viewers will be alienated. There are incredible benefits to driving shoppers to a branded app as their main shopping platform. These include:

  1. Taking control of content distribution
  2. Syncing inventory across all selling channels
  3. Increasing live sale viewership and customer spending
  4. Building brand recognition by customizing the look and feel of the app

A branded mobile app comes at no extra cost for CommentSold Business plan sellers. Views and conversions are proven to increase through the app, but sellers can still broadcast their live sales on social media and use their social platforms as powerful tools to build community, promote their upcoming live sales, and engage with their audiences while they’re scrolling through their feeds.

Sending Timely, Relevant Messages with Push Notifications

One contributor to the uptick in mobile live sale viewers is likely the ability to send branded push notifications to shoppers. Users who have downloaded a brand’s shopping app will receive customized alerts when the shop hosts a live sale, has a limited-time coupon, launches a new product line, and more.

Whereas notifications through social platforms follow a uniform design that’s branded to the social network, CommentSold allows retailers to brand these notifications to match the look and messaging of their shop.

Supporting Statistics

  • App users opt in to mobile push notifications 52% of the time. (Source: Localytics)
  • E-commerce sees a 278% lift in engagement when push notifications are enabled. (Source: Localytics)
  • Retention rates can increase 190% when brands send one or more push notifications to their customers in the first 90 days of getting their app. (Source: Airship.com)
  • Brands that expand from conventional selling channels can drive GMV up to 8x with CommentSold. (Source: CommentSold Data Team)

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The Takeaway

Using a multichannel selling strategy is an exceptional way of not only driving sales but also building customer loyalty and global brand awareness as people become more familiar with your business. With both sellers and shoppers embracing new e-commerce platforms and trends, social media is no longer the only space for retailers to host live video sales. The advancement of selling channels like mobile apps and webstores enables today’s shops to stream live sales in their own private spaces without the frustration of changing social media algorithms and trends.

As the data shows, live sale viewership within retailers’ branded mobile apps is on the rise. Shoppers can tune in to a live sale and browse the shop’s products, engage with other shoppers through the comments, and ask the host questions without ever leaving the video. They can fulfill that itch to multitask without distraction.

Find out how a multichannel sales strategy can help your business! Get free access to CommentSold today.

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