Livestream shopping (or “ShopStream”) is revolutionising retail as we know and love it. It has evolved from the times of QVC into an immersive experience that customers can enjoy from anywhere on any device. It has already taken China by storm with 265 million shoppers making a purchase through a livestream in 2019.

Retailers in the West are now starting to take note of the untapped potential of livestreaming services in retail and investing in the solutions that transform livestreaming into a sales driver.

Andre Hordagoda, Co-CEO and Co-Founder, Go Instore

So, how can retailers set up a successful live-streaming platform? 

Meet consumer demands

The pandemic has permanently altered consumer buying habits, with global online sales accounting for 18% of all retail sales in 2020, up from 13.6% the previous year. This isn’t expected to change as experts forecast a continued growth in online sales for the next 4 years. However, despite the convenience and ease of online shopping, it is notoriously inhuman.

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Livestream shopping adds that human touch and replicates the initial window shopping or shop floor browsing stage of the in-store customer journey as retailers connect with shoppers via live-video while answering questions in real-time. Retailers can engage with online customers in the same way that they would in stores to offer a consistent cross-channel experience and improve their online offering to meet consumer expectations.

Integrating livestreaming into websites

Some retailers are considering the likes of Instagram and Facebook to host their livestream events. However, livestream through social media channels adds another barrier between the customer and their eventual purchase. Having to go from social media to a website to purchase could cause baskets to be abandoned and customer interest to be withdrawn. With 50% of potential sales lost because visitors can’t find what they are looking for, retailers can’t afford to create a gap between experience and checkout.

Placing livestreams directly onto websites, (and for the very best effect directly onto the actual product pages) means customers are able to access content relevant to their needs, increasing the chances of completing a purchase.

What’s more, viewers on livestreams situated on social media only stay for 1-2 minutes. When hosted on a website, this figure rises to 10 minutes. By adding livestreams into their digital offering, retailers can avoid reduced attention spans and in turn, minimise bounce rates. Incorporating technology like livestreaming solutions into retail websites also gives retailers the data they need to understand their customers and be able to offer the online experience that best suits them.

The importance of consumer data

Consumer data is crucial to continuously improving the livestream experience. Understanding what customers want to watch, how long they watch for, and the most in-demand products will inform future streams and increase the likelihood of viewers returning. By placing the most popular products on landing pages, and even featuring them on focused livestreams, retailers can seize an opportunity to drive traffic to product pages and increase conversion rates.

Consumer data can also be used to measure how successful a livestream offering is. For example, how many purchases were made from the livestream in comparison to normal browsing or one-to-one video consultations.

Using this data can inform how retailers structure streams, how long they stream for, and what products to feature. If a product requires more explaining and demonstration, retailers can create standalone streams just to feature that product and answer all the questions customers may have on one dedicated platform. Furthermore, utilising customer feedback fosters great relationships with shoppers as they feel listened to and are therefore more inclined to be loyal to that brand.

Partner up

Offering just an online channel isn’t enough anymore. Retailers need to provide an immersive experience for customers to keep them interested. This can all seem very intimidating for retailers who are yet to invest in technology, but by partnering with the right technology company, retailers can make a huge difference to their customers’ online experience.

When retailers partner with an expert who knows the industry and how to get the most value from the technology, it all comes together. Technology partners know the methods to improve the customer experience, increase conversion rates and the average order value. Partners can further ensure that retailers are prepared for the future of retail and can respond to consumer demands with agility and flexibility.

Now more than ever, retailers are looking to innovative technologies like livestreaming to respond to demands of enhanced online experiences. However, brands that don’t innovate, don’t integrate, or don’t consider customer data risk being left behind. Choosing the right technology partner to create a holistic livestreaming strategy will revolutionise the online experience and ensure shoppers fill their baskets and return knowing they will get the value they desire from their engagements.