The Definitive Guide to Launching and Growing a Live Shopping Program in 2022
7min read - iAdvize
Live shopping is on the edge of a major retail breakthrough. While many consumer brands are still in the testing stage, companies that have taken the plunge have attained impressive results.
Building on momentum from initial live shop experiments, big names like Walmart, Gucci, L'Oreal, and Levi's have added live shopping events to their marketing lineups. And more retailers, both large and small, are launching live shop events every day.
Here's why: With live shopping, companies can elevate brand awareness, introduce new products, or achieve strong sales in a short window of time. You can follow their lead and become a live shopping success story in 2022.
Coming years will see lives shopping grow from approximately $6 billion in 2020 to $35 billion in 2024, according to Statista. That equates to an astonishing 483% growth rate.
What's the live shopping buzz all about? And how can your company make your mark in live shopping this year?
We'll answer both questions and give you dozens of actionable tips in this definitive guide to building your live shopping marketing program in 2022.
Four Reasons Why Live Shopping Is Big News This Year
Why is live shopping all the rage right now? Live shopping sits at the nexus of several major marketing trends. It capitalizes on the ever-escalating popularity of online shopping, which is steadily growing year by year. Plus, as a video-based form of marketing, live shopping is an optimal way to embrace the rising popularity of video viewing.
What's more, live shopping is a perfect example of experiential shoppertainment that delivers enjoyment and an opportunity to connect with brands, along with options to buy. And retailers can make live shopping a pillar of their influencer marketing strategies and reach new audiences.
#1 Online Shopping Is Only Going to Grow
Ecommerce data reveals that online shopping has dropped from a pandemic-fueled surge in 2020 to a strong and steady growth rate. As Digital Commerce 360 reports, online sales rose by 32% year-over-year (YOY) in 2020, with continued YOY growth at around 15% in the years ahead. This less frenetic pace is good news for retailers as they can focus on lessons learned and retool marketing strategies to mirror the needs of today's digital consumers.
Other research affirms the rosy future of digital retail. According to eMarketer, retail sales will climb steadily in the coming years, with online shopping making up a bigger piece of the pie.
As consumers' appetite for online shopping grows, brands will need to develop new and creative ways to capture mindshare and boost loyalty.
Live shopping fits the bill. Instead of static web pages and ads and impersonal one-way videos, live shopping offers something unique. Each live shopping event is immersive and informational while allowing attendees to connect with other shoppers, hosts, and influencers. The result is a true one-of-a-kind that builds community while boosting sales.
#2 Video Consumption is Skyrocketing
Video is fast becoming the top way people consume information online — and brands are taking notice.
This isn't new news. In 2016, technology giant Cisco projected that consumer video traffic would see a 26% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2016 and 2021. The firm estimated that consumer video traffic would be 84% of all consumer internet traffic, with 73% of all video traffic being long-form, including live video. Cisco's predictions proved accurate, with video use skyrocketing in recent years.
Brands are responding to these trends by creating more videos. In 2021, Hubspot reported that video was the #1 form of media used in companies' content strategy. While brands produced more short-form videos overall, longer content of 30 minutes or more saw the most growth. Also of note: Hubspot revealed that brands invested most heavily in videos focused on three top areas, all of which are ideal for covering during a live shopping event:
- Product or service promotion
- Brand storytelling
- Product demonstrations
What's the takeaway? Live shopping is a natural next step for retailers that have already embraced the power of video. By shifting from one-way video presentations to immersive and interactive live shopping events, brands can attract interest and engage audiences while sharing key brand messages and accelerating conversions.
#3 Shoppertainment is Taking Center Stage
China has been the trailblazer in combining shopping and entertainment to create a new retail opportunity — shoppertainment. And shoppertainment is spreading around the globe. Statista notes that 90% of Europeans between the age of 18 and 34 and almost 70% of those 35 to 54 say they are interested in shoppertainment. The U.S. is clearly next in line for the shoppertainment wave.
Shoppertainment builds on the trend towards experiential stores that focus on creating memorable, immersive experiences for brick-and-mortar customers. Retailers like Nike, Sephora, Norstrom, and REI aimed to develop stores that reflected the unique characters of their brands while encouraging people to buy and share their shopping excursions on social media. Other brands, like home furnishing leader IKEA, have used an event-centric approach, with IKEA hosting fun sleepovers for select guests.
Investing in a complete experiential store may not be in the cards for every retailer. And while in-person events can make a mark, their impact is time-limited. Live shopping lets retailers host engaging events online, often featuring notable influencers and popular personalities. Not only does this offer entertainment value to live event attendees, but also to people who watch post-event video replays. That's why live shopping is the next big thing in shoppertainment.
#4 Influencer Marketing Offers Powerful Benefits
Many brands know that social influencers are gateways to audiences — both to reinforce bonds will loyal customers and attract new interest. To date, influencer marketing has primarily depended on sponsored posts and videos, and those tactics aren't going away. But live shopping is emerging as a new opportunity for fans to connect with favorite influencers in real-time.
It's no wonder that spending on influencer marketing is steadily accelerating. After a 2020 spike when brands invested heavily in all things digital, influencer marketing spend has sustained a continued growth trajectory, according to eMarketer data.
Other eMarketer research revealed that the content creator economy is expanding, and brands are responding by investing more in influencer marketing. eMarketer reported that more than 70% of companies with more than 100 employees expect to have a dedicated influencer marketing program.
What does this mean for you? The time is now to climb aboard the influencer marketing bandwagon unless you want to risk falling behind. Live shopping is a proven way to leverage the momentum of influencer marketing to draw influencers' devoted fandoms to your brand and expand your reach.
How to Achieve Live Shopping Success in 2022
Understanding the immense potential of live shopping is one thing, but pulling off an event can seem daunting at first. Even brands with experience in video and event marketing may find live shopping to be a new type of project.
So, where do you begin? We've developed a series of helpful resources that you can consult to launch your live shopping planning for this year — and beyond.
We've compiled the highlights belong, along with links that let you take a deep dive and learn the essentials of live shopping.
Start with The Big Picture
Considering the big picture is always essential when planning a major marketing endeavor. While many details need attention to pull off a successful live shopping event, you can organize them all into three main phases: 1) Pre live, 2) Live shopping, and 3) Replay.
With that framework in mind, you can apply 13 proven tips to guide you to live shopping success:
- Film and frame your live shopping event
- Profile moderators for your live shopping event
- Build your live shopping team
- Promote a duo animation
- Announce your live shopping event seven days before the event
- Mix distribution channels and think about adding influencers to amplify your message
- Find the perfect time to broadcast your live shopping event
- Notify viewers before the live shopping event
- Encourage and promote interaction with viewers
- Offer exclusive products or offers
- Give priority to answering spectator questions
- Instantly publish the replay of your live shopping event
- Enrich your product pages with video replays
For a deeper dive into each tip, read our blog post How to Implement a Live Streaming Shopping Strategy in 13 Steps.
You can also use our 17-day live shopping framework to understand how to organize and prioritize your live shopping event tasks.
Create a Detailed Plan
"Winging it" is never a good strategy for live events — especially recorded ones that can circulate on the internet indefinitely. For each live shop event, you need to think through details well in advance so that everyone is prepared and on point when the camera is on.
Instead of recreating the wheel for each event, you can follow proven approaches that cover everything from structuring your event to choosing hosts and products to driving audience interaction in a positive, brand-affirming way. At a minimum, your live event planning should cover these key details:
- Developing a run of show
- Knowing the importance of professional-grade sound and lighting
- Identifying core activities for your live shopping event
- Facilitating audience question and answer sessions
- Focusing on the best products
- Choosing the right hosts
- Following a script while staying natural
- Generating audience engagement
- Using a mix of automatic and human moderation
To learn more about each step, read our blog post Planning Makes Perfect: Tips to Prep for Your Next Live Shopping Event.
Find Influencers to Promote and Host Live Events
The influencer landscape is always evolving, with some rising stars gaining momentum and other popular personalities earning celebrity status. When you take your first steps into influencer marketing, it can be hard to know which influencers will make the right partners for your brand. And an influencer that may work well for one type of campaign may not be the right person for a live shopping event.
Choosing the perfect influencer for your event isn't always an easy task, but addressing these questions can help you find your way:
- Do we need an influencer for our live shop event?
- What are the benefits of having influencers for live shopping events?
- What should we look for in an influencer?
- What are the different types of influencers?
- How can we find influencers?
- How can we avoid fake influencers?
- How can an influencer support our live shopping promotion and outreach?
We've answered these critical questions for you in our blog post, How to Find an Influencer for Your Next Live Shopping Event.
You can also use our live shopping influencer checklist to get candidates:
Influencers play an instrumental role in everything from pre-event promotion to engaging with your live audience to sharing post-event replays. Doing your homework and choosing the right-fit influencer is essential to maximize the value of each live shopping event.
Build an Audience
When it comes to live shopping, a "build it, and they will come" mindset is unlikely to work, especially for your first event. With all the branded content people consume online every day, it's easy for your event promos to get lost in a sea of competing messages. That's why you need a multi-faced campaign and a multi-event strategy that generates buzz and keeps people coming back for more.
To stand out in a crowded marketplace and get your shop noticed by would-be buyers, you can apply six smart tactics:
- Offer a can't miss exclusive
- Set up a multi-channel digital campaign
- Leverage your influencers' followings
- Make your livestreams fun
- Use a series of events to build momentum
- Post and share replays
Read our blog post, How to Build an Audience for Live Shopping, for in-depth insight on each tactic.
Make 2022 Your Brand's Year of Live Shopping
Live shopping is picking up steam in the U.S. and growing rapidly worldwide. You can make 2022 the breakout year for live shopping for your brand. Smart retailers that forge ahead are making their mark as innovators with an eye towards building connections with digital customers.
Getting started in live shopping can seem overwhelming at first, but you don't have to go it alone. Use the resources in this definitive guide to support your planning every step of the way, from defining your live shopping concept to prepping, hosting, and getting maximum value out of each event.
A live shopping strategy can put your brand in front of eager new audiences, win you new customers, and drive next-level growth. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can win recognition as a live shopping success story.
Ready to dive into live shopping? Let iAdvize be your guide. Dozens of top-name brands have used our Aploze platform to deliver immersive, interactive shopping experiences to their audiences. Our live shop experts will coach you every step of the way! Get started today.