It’s not too late to test a live-shopping strategy for the holidays

We asked live-shopping experts to weigh in on how brands can leverage video for the upcoming peak season.
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Grant Thomas

· 4 min read

Live shopping may have started in China, but now it’s picking up steam around the world. According to some studies, around half of companies in the US and Europe report incorporating live shopping into their strategies in 2021 or earlier, and livestream platform Bambuser says livestream-shopping viewership is growing by ~38% every quarter in 2022.

Brands are using live shopping to increase sales and customer engagement year round, but with the holiday season looming, experts say it’s good timing for those who haven’t yet tested the livestream waters to jump in.

Here’s how experts say brands can get started and get the most out of their video content:

Keep it simple

Dutta Satadip, chief customer officer at CX automation platform ActiveCampaign, said getting started with live shopping is a relatively light lift, even for smaller brands.

“Today, the cost of producing a good product demo—which is basically what livestream is—it’s relatively low,” Satadip, who helped launch live-streaming options at Pinterest, told Retail Brew. And it’s a great opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to bring traffic directly onto their site, he added.

Adi Itach, chief marketing officer at live-shopping platform Buywith, said livestreams provide a more effective alternative to social media ads. “This is not a banner on Facebook or Instagram that is chasing after you,” she told Retail Brew. “We’re not fighting on eyeballs; we’re bringing the users to us.”

  • Influencer Rachael Kirkconnell, who has hosted livestreams on Buywith for brands like Charlotte Tilbury and Steve Madden, said her livestream attendees are more engaged than her 867,000 Instagram followers.
  • Viewers are “locked in” for the entire stream, and attendance increased throughout the events, she told Retail Brew. “You just don’t see that, especially if you’re going live on TikTok or Instagram.”

Start early, start basic: Yaniv Navot, CMO of marketing-software provider Dynamic Yield, said even brands with small budgets can use livestreams to stand out in a crowded holiday-shopping landscape.

  • Holiday sales aren’t an effective means of differentiation because the holiday shopping season starts earlier and earlier every year, and most companies will have a sale at some point, Navot said. They also don’t foster long-term loyalty, he added.
  • Instead, brands should use livestreams earlier in the year to get their consumers excited about the holiday season. One strategy is scheduling live shopping events that highlight gifts for different people—mom, dad, significant others—he explained. “The trick is not to lead with discounts, but to weave them into an already engaging overall experience.”

Satadip advises companies to feature their core products until they have a better understanding of just how successful the events will be. If sales are unexpectedly high, brands likely have enough inventory of the core products to meet demand. And there’s a longer horizon to sell those products in case the first livestream doesn’t meet expectations, he said.

  • Brands should then use personalization tactics like basket expansion or recommendations based on purchase to leverage seasonal products, Satadip said.

Work what you’ve got

Liz Ritzcovan, chief revenue officer at text messaging platform Hustle (which recently launched a video component), said brands should use video shopping to rope in their existing audience for the holiday season.

“It’s the low-hanging fruit because they are customers that are already connected to you as a brand,” she told Retail Brew. “They know who you are, there’s trust, there’s that connectivity already happening.”

  • And live-shopping campaigns have much faster turnarounds than more traditional options, which makes it a good option for brands finding themselves up against the deadline of the holiday rush, she explained.

Reuse and recycle: Joel Leonoff, co-founder and CEO of live-shopping platform Revo Video, said he advises companies to use the video from their livestreams beyond the event itself, but that doesn’t mean they have to redo their strategy for the season.

  • Making clips into shoppable videos is a simple process, Leonoff said. And those clips can be integrated into existing marketing efforts. “So if they’re already considering some type of email campaign, this is just putting it on steroids,” he told Retail Brew.
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Satadip said repurposing video is a great way to increase personalization after the show.

“I would recommend somebody to use livestreaming as a starting point, but reuse the asset to bolster your story, your messaging,” he explained. “Repetition never killed the prayer.”—MA

Retail news that keeps industry pros in the know

Retail Brew delivers the latest retail industry news and insights surrounding marketing, DTC, and e-commerce to keep leaders and decision-makers up to date.