With the right planning, live commerce events can be a great way to drive engagement with your brand and your products.
In our introductory post we lay out some actionable steps to prep your business for the prospect of live shopping events. Now let’s talk strategy and what you should consider when planning live commerce events.
Live commerce approaches
The easiest way to get started with live commerce is to try your hand at experimental infrequent streams based on simple themes, such as special events, product launches, trending products, etc. Pick one platform that suits your needs, familiarize yourself with one streaming experience, and optimize your experience there.
Be sure to track valuable metrics that give you deeper insights into your performance. General livestream metrics like device viewership, views, and watch time are great to track but you’ll also want a full picture of how products perform relative to your stream schedule. It’s important to know what works and what doesn’t.
Starting out with a low-stakes approach is a great way to learn about livestreaming and the live commerce features of your platform of choice. Once you get the hang of going live on a platform that works for you, you’ll have an easier time acclimating to other live commerce environments.
Once you feel comfortable going live on one channel, you can both diversify your reach by expanding to new channels, as well as experiment with a schedule of live events in varying formats. We go over common stream formats below.
As you refine your procedures and the resulting streams, you can start to use some of that content as a source of supplemental content for your product listings, FAQ pages, etc.
Kicking up your live commerce ambitions will require diligent attention, planning, and tracking. Allocating dedicated resources in the form of in-house talent or a trusty marketing agency will always be more valuable than general outsourcing. No one knows and cares about your product the same way that your team does.
Investing in tracking tools with real-time analytics can help get you deeper performance insights. The right data can help you make targeted changes that could positively impact your livestream performance over time.
Beyond expanding to different channels with a range of stream concepts, how advanced you get with live commerce depends on your goals and resources.
If live commerce is going well for you and you have no trouble securing an audience, you can experiment with making the experience even more personal by hosting livestreams on your site with the help of a specialized solution.
You might also want to consider cutting edge tech that is both accessible to your budget and relevant to your niche. The home furniture industry has utilized augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) tech for quite some time. Those innovations are becoming more accessible and are being integrated into platforms that you might be utilizing for live commerce. Investing in neat AR/VR innovations can make your brand stand out in unique ways.
If you take an advanced approach with live commerce, you’ll need the dedicated resources mentioned in the intermediate approach and you’ll also benefit from strong influencer connections. Companies with advanced live commerce goals typically hire influencers or key opinion leaders (KOL) or key opinion consumers (KOC) to host or contribute to live commerce events. Working with capable influencers who have a large following relevant to your target audience can completely change the game for your business.
Again, performance tracking is everything. An advanced strategy benefits from advanced tracking software that provides analytics-derived insights for real-time actions and future event planning.
It’s vital to both feature the right products on your livestreams and to have clear goals relevant to those products.
Consider products that are new, best sellers, clearance items, or need a boost in sales. Additionally, be sure to stage your products with proper context so that you aren’t only showing how they look but also presenting them as they’re intended to be used.
Be ready to take feedback in real-time and adjust your approach accordingly.
You want to plan your livestreams with a certain target audience in mind and then reference your analytics to keep track of who’s actually viewing your live content. With the right datapoints you can match featured products to the audience you’re expecting.
Keep in mind that livestreaming is more effective for building awareness rather than creating brand loyalty due to the unpredictable nature of livestream algorithms – the same people won’t always be joining your streams. Keeping a converted livestream audience takes time and practice.
It’s also important to note that livestreams attract impulse-shoppers, who are not the best fit for building a loyal customer base. Tactical incentives can convert those viewers but there’s no guarantee that they’ll become part of your core audience.
In general, your livestream audience should be viewed as separate but overlapping with your core audience because of the nature of livestreams.
Live commerce events need to be properly marketed if you want an audience to show up. As is, live events don’t coincide with everyone’s schedule. People need to find time to tune in if they’re not completely free at the time of the event — whether or not they do so is dependent on what’s in it for them.
Ad campaigns designed to drive traffic can help secure an audience for your streams. For best effect, set up a landing page that both captures leads and acts as a reference for upcoming livestreams.
It’s crucial to take an omnichannel approach when planning for live events. You want to engage your audience across the channels they most frequent with a unified approach that plays to individual channel strengths.
There are many ways to go about preparing a setup for livestream purposes, but there are a few things to consider for optimal results.
- Set: your livestream efforts will benefit from a production set of some sort. A predetermined corner of a room; a desk against a greenscreen or backdrop; some flexible space that lends itself to the needs of your events.
- Lighting: the best production sets take lighting very seriously. Your lighting setup doesn't need to get complicated but it should cover your set's range of lightning needs and conditions.
- Camera: An amazing livestream can be shot from a phone; a bad livestream can be shot from a cinema camera. As important as camera quality is, the actual content it’s going to capture is more important. Choose a recording medium you’re comfortable using. Keep in mind that phone cameras need more lighting assistance, and dedicated cameras require more expertise.
- Audio: audio equipment needs depend on your set, camera, and cast. You could get by with the bare minimum, but poor audio quality can be unforgivable. Consider using a dedicated audio setup, especially if you’re streaming from a phone — your audience will thank you by sticking around.
- Props: props should be considered to the extent that they’ll be useful to your goals. Props can be one with your set or something you use for specific stream formats and/or segments. Consider props that would: help your events feel more intentional; be conducive to your event goals; help you entertain your audience.
Streams should rarely if ever be freeform unless you know exactly what you’re doing. Consider the following focuses when planning out your streams. A hybrid approach can work to great effect, too.
Live Q&A sessions
Live questions-and-answers sessions and similar interview-like content segments can bring immense value to your customers as well as your team.
Answer the most commonly asked questions and invite your audience to ask questions on the spot to receive immediate answers. Live Q&A sessions connect the audience to the brand, product, and/or team in an authentic way that helps drive awareness, addresses concerns, and gives you valuable user insights and product inspiration.
An effective stream concept that has that extra influencer oomph can be great for awareness, traffic, loyalty, and more.
Partner with influencers who are interested in joining your livestreams or would livestream on behalf of your business. Leveraging an influencer presence on your stream can boost its entertainment value and add credibility to your brand, as well as loop in an extended audience.
Product demonstrations help frame your products exactly as you’d want them to be.
Give full demonstrations of your product(s) on live, including features, benefits, and brief customer reviews. Tutorials are also effective to show audiences how to use/apply or combine a product with other products, opening cross-selling opportunities. Not only is this sort of content sought out by prospective customers, it’s also sure to attract onlookers that would otherwise not know they want what you’re offering.
Behind-the-scenes or BTS content makes your audience feel more connected to your brand.
Take your audience behind the scenes to give them a more intimate look into your company. Get creative with how much you’re willing to show — insight into how products are concepted, designed, created, packaged, etc. Transparency and inclusion foster brand loyalty and can inspire users to make user-generated content or UGC.
Games, contests & giveaways
There’s nothing like games, contests, and giveaways that trade engagement for free goodies.
Entertain and delight viewers while also generating product desire. Audiences tend to love participating in anything with a chance at free stuff. The better the prizes and odds, the more of a buzz the event should generate — given that it’s marketed properly, of course.
How your business goes about marketing products with live commerce is going to be unique to your needs and resources.
Our best advice? Start slow. Once you know what you’re doing, leverage different platforms to expose your brand to new audiences. If livestreaming isn’t for you, don’t stress it; live commerce is a trend you don’t need to capitalize on.
If you do decide to host live commerce events, you’ll want to make sure your products are set up for peak performance. The stronger your product data, the better your results.