Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Rise of the virtual shop floor: why retailers must embrace livestreaming to drive sales

By Jennifer Griffin Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at Brightcove

Livestreaming is transforming the online shopping experience. Through a new approach, retailers of all shapes and sizes are enjoying the benefits of connecting with audiences and customers like never before. Consumers are more receptive to video than to any other form of content – it does so much more than static product descriptions or great images do. It also affords a level of audience interactivity that is simply not possible with other marketing tactics.

Pair this with livestreaming and the benefits are broad – and there are several reasons why now is the time to invest in this new era of shopping.

Engagement

Live video interactivity gives customers the power to make in-video purchases, communicate with other shoppers, access click-to-call features, and share their sentiments on specific products. This level of insight can provide unparalleled data-driven personalisation. You can even allow customers to determine their own “adventure path” by giving them the option to choose how the video content they are engaging progresses.

But video interactivity doesn’t just allow brands to offer consumers a route to buy; it lets them create a community of engaged shoppers. If you interact, and allow customers to interact with each other on your property, you stand a much better chance of making a sale and retaining that customer for future purchases.

The interactive nature of video also permits ongoing dialogue and feedback that can help inform messaging, improve products and offers, and develop loyal customers who keep coming back for more. As the saying goes, people buy from people. More importantly, people buy from people they trust. And who do consumers trust more than their peers travelling along the same purchase journey?

Differentiation

Live ecommerce increases a brand’s appeal and distinctiveness and pulls in additional web traffic. There is so much information available online that users can’t keep up with it all, and even great quality content can quickly become buried. A path to differentiate is critical. Providing consumers with an experience that captures their attention in that specific moment will help you stand out and show – not tell – exactly why they should be purchasing your products. Live shopping events shouldn’t just be an ad; they should be entertaining.

Tangibility

When people can’t go into a store to touch and engage with something, where do they go? They go online and look for videos to get a “feel” for it. Live video provides the sensation of engaging with a product and incentives es the shopper to transact. According to Wyzowl, 84% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video. Live shopping is the closest brands have come to replicating the in-store shopping experience. It displays products in real world settings and allows consumers to ask questions and learn more prior to making a purchase, just as they would in-store.

Affordability

Live product launches, fashion shows and trade events are great. We all love attending and seeing what’s on the floor, but for businesses these events are costly. Given the unpredictable nature of today’s event space, it’s even more difficult to properly plan and deliver an event. Livestreaming, paired with proper promotion and marketing, can be a great substitute. When livestreamed experiences are done right, they can result in more sales, more leads and engagement, and more cost savings. There’s also the added bonus of being able to use the same content on multiple platforms.

Authenticity

Livestreaming feels more “human”. People subscribe to unboxing channels on YouTube. They follow influencers, shops, and products on social media. Why? They like the human connection of seeing how a product or service could impact their lives. Using people, not just images or text, helps make the experience real and authentic in a way that stands out. When you tell customers your brand story through video, they relate to your brand more, leading to stronger connections and loyalty to the brand.

Insights

Live ecommerce not only informs your video marketing efforts, it delivers insights that can be leveraged across the board. Using analytics tools to understand who watched your content can help you develop personas of potential customers and guide choices on your target demographic. It can also help you track your most engaging products and content, which will keep you attuned to the demands of your consumers.

Livestreaming ecommerce is fast, convenient and affordable, and it is set to revolutionise the way in which we shop and sell. The opportunity for retailers is in-depth and gives valuable insights, while offering a level of interaction previously available only in-person. It has absolutely carved a niche that is only set to grow, though it is important that brands and retailers look at the opportunities available, and how they can make it work best for them.

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