Live Selling Is Shaping The Future of E-Commerce

live selling to audience

If you’ve used social media, chances are that you have watched live streaming videos of various activities, since more social media channels are supporting live video. Live selling is an interactive way for retailers to reach new and existing customers in real-time using online video. Each time a seller goes live, they have an opportunity to create new connections and strengthen existing ones.  

Customers love watching live streaming videos. That’s why, in just a few years, live selling has gone from a fad to a highly lucrative trend that generates billions of dollars in online sales revenue.  Online retailers who are interested in ways to evolve their e-commerce businesses can benefit by adopting live selling in their marketing plans and future-proof their businesses by maintaining live video customer touchpoints.

What Is Live Selling and Why Is It Popular?

Live selling uses streaming video but the presentation format differs from other streaming video content about topics besides selling products and services. Retailers who are live-selling stream live videos typically of the business owner, staff, or a host, to directly present products and services to customers, to build credibility, community,  customer relationships, and ultimately to sell products.

The live-selling market

Live selling, which started in China in 2016, has become immensely popular, with a noticeable increase in viewing between 2020 and 2021 during the COVID-19 lockdown.  The live-streaming, e-commerce market is expected to grow by 59% year-over-year, with $478 billion in sales revenue in 2022. In the U.S., live commerce sales are expected to generate $17 billion in 2022. By 2024, the U.S. live-selling market will grow by 70% to $54 billion.

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Why is live selling so popular?

Customers like the personal connection they feel between themselves and a live video host. They can interact virtually with the host by posting questions and comments that the host responds to in real-time during a live stream. Over time, relationships are built between hosts and viewers, with consumers tuning in each time hosts go live, much like they would for a favorite TV show.  

Where Live Selling Is Going

One reason live selling is so successful is that retailers use it to build trust with their customers. Since 85% of people in the U.S. have mobile phones, 60.9% are mobile buyers, and mobile video consumption rises by 100% every year, live selling presents a prime opportunity to reach interested audiences anytime.

Mobile commerce is on the rise, with 79% of mobile phone users buying products online, and consumers spending 5.4 hours per day on their mobile phones. Most U.S. consumers would rather watch videos to learn about products than read about them. Such positive growth trends mean more social media platforms support live selling, and more standalone live selling e-commerce solutions are being developed.

With live video, online selling is becoming more personal. The one-to-one connection that hosts are making with consumers is building stronger relationships and creating repeat customers.

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Live Selling is Here: Multichannel Streaming Creates Exponential Reach

Live video is here to stay because 73% of consumers prefer watching videos over reading product information. They like being shown products and services in real-time, it makes them more interested in brands and their products. Retailers who are selling products online should take advantage of live streaming as another channel and grow their business by connecting with an audience that’s already interested and wants to be actively engaged.

It’s easier than ever to create content with live video apps and social media channels. Brands can stream to social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, and YouTube, to name a few. Each social media channel has a large audience eager to view, interact with, and share new video content.

However, retailers must compete with other businesses for customers’ attention on social media channels. The social media channels have algorithms that determine content placement on members’ feeds, making visibility a challenge. With so many channels, it can be exhausting to stream live to each one of them individually. 

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Retailers using CommentSold can generate as much as $300 per minute in a single live sale. They can achieve this by eliminating duplicate effort and reaching more customers by streaming simultaneously to these outlets:

  • Live streaming on your online store with Live on The Web. Sellers can meet the customer where they’re already shopping and interact with them right from their e-commerce stores. Instead of encountering static images on an e-commerce store, customers are actively engaged since they can comment and buy without leaving the live stream. Live on The Web is also ideal for retailers who don’t yet have their own branded mobile app, and it’s beneficial for customers who don’t want to download an app to view videos.
  • Retailers using the mobile app can reach customers with push notifications to notify them of new products, sales, and exclusive offers to create high engagement rates. Live streams on the app can also be simultaneously streamed to the retailer’s online store, Facebook Pages and Groups to capture an even larger audience. Customers using branded mobile apps are 220% more likely to make repeat purchases.
  • Live streaming and comment selling on Facebook Pages helps retailers build social proof since Facebook users like, comment on, and share content. Retailers can capitalize on “FOMO”—Fear Of Missing Out—with live sales, and comment selling during live sales shortens the sales funnel. Users comment “Sold” in the comments section during live sales to instantly cart the items they see, then they immediately receive a link to check out.
  • Branded Facebook Groups are a way for retailers to cultivate a highly targeted audience and increase organic engagement. They can invite customers to a Facebook Group and live stream exclusively to them to build upon existing relationships and create repeat sales.

Which channel produces the best results?

For CommentSold retailers, the Webstore has the most conversions for first-time shoppers. Retailers using Facebook see a smaller customer share, likely due to Facebook’s algorithms and competition from other businesses.  They have, however, reported that repeat customers are spending as much as $1,200 per year with an average of 37.5 repeat purchases.

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Jumping Into the Stream: Live Selling Success Tips

Live selling is fun for customers to watch precisely because it is live, which makes it engaging and unpredictable. Anything can happen, so it’s important to prepare before going live to make the most of your live stream. You’ll want to avoid having any “dead air” time where you’re not on-camera and addressing your audience since we’ve found that audience drop-off occurs from live streams with empty presentation areas where no one is presenting or engaging viewers. We’ve also found that retailers who go live for at least an hour have the most success, so you’ll want to plan which products you’ll be showcasing. It also helps to outline your presentation in advance and rehearse a few times before going live.

The Takeaway

With so much potential for live-streaming e-commerce to engage new audiences who have a high probability of becoming loyal repeat customers, it’s no surprise that more retailers are including live streaming in their e-commerce plans. Retailers who live sell will be more successful by understanding the medium and thinking proactively about ways to create content their customers want to see. Keeping them engaged and staying in contact with them will encourage loyalty and repeat purchases.

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CommentSold provides the technology retailers need to operate and grow their businesses. Our platform simplifies inventory and order management, payments, and fulfillment for business owners, and enables live and social selling on social media, mobile apps, and websites.

 
 

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