Live Streaming Ecommerce: the Complete Guide

The retail landscape has changed in the digital era. 

Advancements in mobile technology and the arrival of the internet have given rise to a new age of ecommerce. When compared to traditional retail sales, ecommerce is miles ahead and steadily growing.

Year-on-Year Growth - E-Commerce Vs Retail Industry

Source: Prisync

The success of ecommerce has only quickened the demise of retail stores and walk-in businesses. With the ecommerce customer experience allowing users to browse, research, and shop online from the comfort of their own homes, this trend doesn’t look like changing soon. 

The problem is, some would argue that modern marketing techniques are no replacement for having a product or service demonstrated to you in person. 

Thankfully, online video platforms with live streaming abilities are solving this problem. 

TV shopping channels have benefitted from this format for decades and in times where customer personalization is paramount, directly addressing customers is hugely beneficial. 

With live streaming and ecommerce, anyone can be the star of their very own profitable sales show. 

So, read on for the complete guide to live streaming ecommerce.

What does “live streaming ecommerce” mean?

Quite simply, live streaming ecommerce is the utilization of a video streaming platform to make sales online. 

Real-time purchases are exciting and engaging for modern consumers. As with TV, customers become fans and bond with hosts. Finding a good blend between entertainment and information is key to influencing prospects. 

Done right, live streaming ecommerce offers so much more than mundanely clicking around on a website to fill your basket. An engaging live stream should include:

  • Limited-time promotions (60 minutes or less). 
  • Instant messaging and comment sections. 
  • Product reviews and testimonials shown on-screen.

So far, so good, but what exactly are people buying during live streaming ecommerce sessions? 

From practical items like electric toothbrushes and shaving devices to the more luxurious like cars or jewelry. 

The huge variety of available products has contributed greatly to the growth of live streaming as a sales platform.

What are the benefits of live streaming ecommerce?

live streaming video production is easier to broadcast with a video hosting solution

Let’s look at some of the key benefits of e-commerce live streaming:

Increased engagement

In times where attention spans have diminished and customers are spammed with marketing, live streaming offers a new, engaging medium. 

Further engaging is the ability to speak to the host and sales team directly via live chat or direct messaging. 

Greater engagement should lead to increased sales. 

Increased brand awareness

Live streaming lets you put everything good about your brand directly in front of your target audience. 

With social sharing, you’ll want to ensure it looks good. So make sure your live stream is exciting, memorable, and full of value to ensure you promote the best possible image of your brand. 

Increase sales fast

Live streams have the potential to reach hundreds, if not thousands of viewers. When each viewer is a potential buyer, that’s a lot of potential sales. 

Take this example: in August 2020, luxury brand Bottega Venetta managed to sell 230 bags online in ten seconds thanks to their impressive live stream. This amounted to around $443,000.

Desirable products that reach the correct audience could be your number one avenue for gaining sales fast. Also, leveraging video for upselling is great for bringing those customers back.

Profit from the human impulse

Online commerce stores can be boring places, but live streaming makes customers feel specially involved in something unique. This alone could be enough to persuade them. 

Another manifestation of the human impulse comes from not wanting to miss out on the latest trends. In live streaming ecommerce, this happens when:

  • Lots of other viewers are purchasing a particular product.
  • There’s a limited-time offer.
  • Viewers are fans of the live stream host. 

Essentially, impulses derive from not wanting to miss out and are emotional. Emotions can be influenced. 

Bring old stock back into the spotlight

Got old stock lying around collecting dust? Live streaming ecommerce might be just the platform for bringing old products back into the spotlight. 

Firstly, identify why the product didn’t sell in the first place. Does it cost too much? Was it difficult to use? Once you have the answers, you can use your live stream to reinvigorate old products and turn them into sales. 

Drop the price if you need to, and use the live stream format to show viewers exactly how to use the product. With a fresh understanding, customers may feel more compelled to complete a purchase. 

How to get started with live streaming ecommerce

Resolve problem of live streaming ecommerce with a complete live streaming guide

Now you’ve seen some of the benefits, you’re probably wondering how to get started. 

Whether you already know how to set up video conferencing or not, let’s go from the start. 

To get started with live ecommerce, you’ll need:

  • A product/service to sell
  • A live stream host/presenter
  • A platform to hold the session 
  • Viewers

Understanding which products you should demonstrate during a live stream will depend on your business goals:

  • Are you looking to gain feedback and gauge interest in a new product? 
  • Are you looking to boost an underperforming product? 
  • Are you looking to max out a popular product?

Once decided, you’ll need to pick a host for the show. Will you use an expert with technical knowledge or a celebrity-level influencer? Again, the answers to these will depend on your objectives. We’ll come to finding a suitable platform and audience shortly.

Format for streaming

Such is the live nature of streaming events, there’s no margin for error. So rehearse your live stream beforehand. 

Draft a plan of your streams structure and think about the following: 

  • Are you performing product demonstrations?
  • Will you have a Q&A session? 
  • Will you be holding limited-time offers? 
  • Do you need the help of an expert? 

Remember, an engaging live stream will be a mixture of solid planning and spontaneity.

Maximize your chances of live streaming success

A step-by-step guide to achieve success in live streaming

The following section contains tips for succeeding in live streaming ecommerce. 

Know your target audience

Knowing how to attract new customers starts with understanding who they are, and what needs they have. Only then can your live streaming ecommerce cater to them. 

This will help you determine:

  • Which products to demonstrate. 
  • Which platforms to select. 
  • Who should present the stream. 
  • How to advertise the stream. 
  • Type of content required.

To learn more about your audience, you can:

  • Create ideal customer personas.
  • Ask existing customers what they like and dislike about your brand to understand and fix any common issues. 
  • Use tools like Google Analytics to research your audience and find out information like age, location, interests, and behavior patterns. 

Hopefully, by doing this you’ll uncover valuable insights into your audience. If you’re using a CRM in retail exchanges, use it to log customer data. 

Gain followers 

Now your target audience is identified, you need to turn them into a community of returning followers. 

The key to this is making your members actually feel like part of a community. Things to try include:

  • Set up a mailing list and reach out to members periodically with discounts and the latest news from your brand. 
  • Give your community a “fun” name. (Think “Beliebers” or “Swifties”.) 
  • Have a brand that’s recognizable and consistent.

These techniques should increase loyalty and evoke a sense of community. 

Produce engaging content 

Live streaming ecommerce has greater potential when it comes to excitement and engagement. 

It may take some experimenting to find how to engage your audience with live streaming, but here are some typical formats to try: 

  • Feature a hands-on product demo – let viewers have an honest and up-close look at products. They’re likely to ask questions and give feedback. 
  • Host a Q&A – finishing your stream with a Q&A is a great way to make viewers feel involved and like their opinion counts. 
  • Sneak previews of upcoming products – by having exclusive glimpses of new products, viewers will feel like they were there from the start! Offering a discount code for release is another good engagement tactic. 

Advertise your live streams effectively 

With so many ways to make marketing videos on a budget, and with emails, social media, websites, and word-of-mouth, getting your brand out there is easier than ever. 

Make sure to let your viewers know:

  • The name and subject of the event.
  • The time, date, and location of the event.
  • Any surprises or special guests. 
  • Paid-for targeted ads

Not promoting your live streaming ecommerce properly will undo all of your planning. 

Consider a CTA 

A call-to-action is a great way to get those viewers to convert. 

Remind viewers throughout your stream of any special promotions or reasons to buy your product immediately. Each time a landmark sales figure is reached, tell viewers stock is disappearing fast, so act now to avoid disappointment. 

Select the best live streaming platform 

Several live streaming platforms exist online these days, each with its own unique features and selling points. 

Many social media platforms now incorporate live streaming too. With so many video conferencing solutions, you need to pick the best option for your target audience, considering:

  • Is the platform available in everyone’s location? 
  • Does it have a live chat feature? 
  • Can it be linked directly to your ecommerce store for purchases? 

Getting it wrong at this final hurdle would be devastating, so do your research and find what’s best. 

If your first stream goes wrong, remember, it could have been the platform choice! 

Final Thought

The future of live streaming ecommerce is looking more promising than ever. 

The combination of exciting content and human interaction is valued by modern customers who demand the best experiences. Consumers benefit by enjoying the full shopping experience from home, whilst businesses benefit through increased sales and strengthened reputation. 

So, follow this guide and start your live streaming ecommerce adventure today!

Originally published on December 22nd, 2021, updated on February 17th, 2022
The Blog

Live Streaming Ecommerce: the Complete Guide

by Nick Shaw and David Harutyunyan time to read: 7 min