As the saying goes: “what’s old is new”. QVC launched 33 years ago in 1986, Amazon and Facebook launched its very own QVC competitor 2 years ago, and various Chinese social networks are driving millions to purchase from their live shopping features. We’re not going to focus too much on the Chinese market, but if you’re interested in learning more about social networks that have strong live shopping experiences check out this report from China Internet Network Information Center that outlines usage and scale. In general, if you want a bit of a history lesson/ business school briefing on one very successful network checkout Pinduoduo and Vertically Integrated Social Commerce by Turner Novak.
While it’s unclear how Amazon Live is performing, one thing is for certain - Shopify’s sales channel strategy approach will give it a leg up with merchants looking to grow their sales on live video. To put this all in context, we’re really just at the beginning when it comes to live video in North America and Shopify merchants are particularly well-positioned. To give you a sense of how early it is, YouTube is just starting to test product tags and Instagram has only recently fully deployed their shopping tags, but this is all just for static posts and stories. There is still so much innovation to happen around live video, discounts, countdowns, and all the good sales-y stuff we remember from our childhood:
“Buy now and don’t pay for 90 days or don’t wait and buy within the next 2 minutes to slash one of our payments.”
With real estate getting decimated due to the pandemic and foot traffic being lower than ever, Live Shopping offers a new discovery method and purchasing urgency. Besides, it’s never too early to start testing a live shopping because before you know it everyone will be doing it.
1. Find an influencer that loves your product to host
Look for influencers that have organically talked about your products in the past and have audiences that match your buyer profile. Make sure to brief your host on what the brand stands for, what your brand mission is, and what your specific goals/ metrics are. A helpful exercise is to outline what success looks like for the company and people involved, then work backward.
2. Make sure affiliate links and codes are tracking properly
It’s important to try out your affiliate link and code before you go live. A lot of affiliate software promises great reporting and tracking but under-deliver and cause tracking issues.
3. Make sure the terms of your agreement are clear and contracted with your influencers
Make compensation clear with your hosts. What kind of affiliate commissions are you offering? What kind of upfront payments are agreed upon? What are the payment terms?
3. Expire affiliate offers when the stream ends
It’s important to control supply and demand when doing live streams. Creating buyer urgency through discovery is what live shopping is all about. Make sure your offer(s) expire when the steam ends and this more demand during the process - customers don’t want to miss out on deals!
4. Assign community managers to engage with chat and answer questions
Chat makes live shopping special, but there are usually a lot of questions that can be easily answered by a community manager or sales representative. In addition, this person should know how to use tools so they can block or remove anyone from the channel if they are contributing inappropriately.
5. Send out an email/text reminder
It’s important to communicate to your customers that you are doing a live stream. Send communications 10 minutes before your live stream with a link where they can join.