January 18, 2021

What Is Livestream Shopping?

An overview shopping trend that is gathering pace in livestream video. Serge Milbank, CEO of Confer With, explains what it is and how it is used.

Livestream shopping is, as you might expect, a way to shop live – generally over video stream. Hosts, who are either employees of a brand, agents or influencers who have a level of expertise, demonstrate products for sale on the live video stream.

Generally, this is a highly interactive medium where retailers have the opportunity to demonstrate products live online to their customers. More importantly, shoppers get a huge benefit. They can communicate their needs to their host and get real time responses to those needs. Remember that an eCommerce website is very much a self-service technology. Conversion rates are low – and they are low for a reason. It guesses the customer’s needs.

Shopping over video provides a huge opportunity to solve this problem. You can simply ask the shoppers what their needs are. More forthright shoppers will likely tell their host what they are looking for.

There are a number of different ways to execute retail over video. You can simply set up a zoom call – or you can use a Video Commerce platform. Video commerce platforms open up the possibilities to communicate with a customer in a shopping environment. Let’s explore two common approaches to livestream shopping using a video commerce platform:

One-to-one livestream shopping

One to one livestream retail is generally a private dialogue between a shopper and a retail expert. It’s a video call. When the dialogue is one-to-one, it’s much like a face-to-face conversation in a retail environment. You ask a direct question of your host – if they know the answer, are good at sales or have the right technology to support them, they will be able to quickly meet the needs of their customer.

While there are huge benefits for customer satisfaction and conversion when there is an intimate dialogue between a customer and a retail expert in store, there are problems relating to scale. You can only have one conversation at a time. 

Enter one-to-many…

One-to-many livestream shopping

When you move to one-to-many, you overcome the drawback of one-to-one – you can scale. Theoretically you can have 50 (or even more) people in a room. This gives scale, but the conversation moves from being a conversation on to being more of a performance. If the technology in use is strong, the presenter can potentially understand the needs of the room – much like a comedian understands what makes the audience laugh.

Typically, moving from one-to-many has limited scope in understanding the needs of customers. This is where customer matching comes in. If you can understand the broad needs of the customer before they enter a room, then the presenter has something to work with. Here are a few examples of the types of needs:

  • Category needs: knowing that people are interested in a product group and want to narrow them down.
  • Product needs: knowing that shoppers have a specific product in mind – but have some clarifying questions.
  • Product attribute needs: customers have specific questions around one or two parts of the product – like sizing (ie does it fit).

Managing customer needs

Knowing what a customer needs is an exercise in balance and precision. One of your best, most valuable customers who has a specific question may not be interested in a one-to-many discussion. They are most likely interested in the intimacy of a one-to-one conversation. The process of clienteling helps manage this flow – and you match the right customers to to the right livestream environment.

Confer with provides a platform for one-to-one and one-to-many livestream video dialogue between retail experts and shoppers online. Learn more about Confer With.

Serge will be discussing this in more detail on Day Two of our Digital Marketing Summit on 28 January. Register here to apply for a complimentary ticket.