If you haven’t checked in a while, you may assume live selling (a la HSN and QVC) has gone the way of shopping malls and Blockbuster Video. Yet live selling isn’t only a disruptive force in retail that has outlived the shopping mall—it’s a concept breathing new life thanks to modern social platforms. In terms of revenue, it’s never been stronger.
Why does the live selling model work so well for modern consumers?
For one thing: Live sales events are engaging. They’re more immediate, more vivid, and more visually contextual. Live selling taps into a basic fact about people: we’re social creatures who crave immediate interaction. And that energy and excitement can be contagious.
“Live shopping engenders trust and community by connecting shoppers to sellers,” said Chris Cantino, partner at Color Capital. “We’re in an era where off-the-shelf options are ceding attention to digitally-native brands who broadcast and engage their customers face-to-face and create enduring relationships rooted in commerce.”
Given the platforms available today, things are changing quickly. Think of live selling as a way of democratizing the experience traditionally only available through platforms like HSN or QVC.
Today, small brands—and even small Etsy shops—now have access to live selling features that can catapult their brands to success overnight.
The New Brands Leveraging Live Selling
QVC is one example of a company focused on live selling that continues to thrive—its top-grossing year was 2020. But it’s not alone.
Outdoor furniture brand Outer regularly sells live on YouTube. “It’s a 10x ROI channel for us, with a 90% audience retention rate for a one-hour show,” said Jake Liu, Outer’s founder. “It’s especially interesting for us because we sell such a high AOV item.”
At more than 10,000 views, they’ve found the results more than worth the effort and plan on launching more live sales events in the future.
Misha Hawaii Jewelry has done the same, even capturing emails in advance for its live sales. And Eidon Swim stacked several strategies on top of live sales, partnering with an Instagram influencer and adding a live giveaway with its “adventure takeover” event. Sales increased 318% from the day before, creating their highest-earning day in March, and reached nearly 19,000 people on Instagram.
Clothing brand Sozy took their live selling approach to another level, streaming try-ons for new Sozy items and selling them in real time. They even let customers announce “SOLD” in the comments to begin transactions. The result: thousands of views and engagements.
If it seems like every brand is going live to sell their wares, there’s a reason for that. Products and businesses used to scratch and claw for the spotlight on live selling platforms like QVC, but today’s brands can start live selling as soon as they sign up to a platform or app.
These tech-enabled live selling tools include apps like Ooooo or services like Pinduoduo in China and Asia that are distributing live selling platforms to brands of all sizes. In Popshop Live, it’s easy for any brand to get set up and combine its live sales with smartphone links to product purchases.
The “Supergreat” Approach To Live Selling
Supergreat, a new beauty community, has a thriving audience of beauty-obsessed fans. There, beauty creators share their routines, review new product drops, and share information when something new hits the market. As such, it’s an ideal setting for live selling, too.
Supergreat’s innovation is in promoting the community aspect of the live experience. New online reviews earn users “supercoins” that create discounts on sellable products. It’s taking the live-selling experience and bringing it into a fully three-dimensional digital environment.
“Live selling has allowed us to sell and drop thousands of dollars of product in each broadcast, one of our inaugural sales events generated close to $60 every minute the hosts were broadcasting, and since we launched Lives, Supergreaters also spend more than 30% longer in the app each day,” said Tyler Faux, Co-Founder and CEO of Supergreat.
Live Selling: Sales With A Human Touch
As more retail brands and influencers tap into the potential of live selling, shoppers reap the benefits of this contextual, relationship-centric approach to selling online.
The brands investing in experimentation around this new marketing channel are finding major opportunities to leverage user-generated content, engaged followings, and to ultimately drive more sales.
5 Additional Benefits To Live Selling
Retailers are finding that the sales-driving aspect isn’t the only positive associated with the live selling environment. Here are a few other perks that come with live sales:
- Audience interaction. In YouTube comments and Instagram messages, live selling gives customers an incentive to show up: they can talk back at you.
- Personalization. If your brand struggles to feel both personal and personable, a live selling session accomplishes two things at once. First, it pitches the product. Second, it invites your audience into your office or even your home—completely changing how they perceive you.
- Scalability. The Funky Fairy, a small family-based business, used a live sale to stream about their personalized kids’ backpacks. The first livestream saw a surprising 7,000 views—and continued to grow. After deciding to put on a few more live events, sales took off. But the ease of every live stream remained the same. Once you have the basic infrastructure for a Live Sale in place, the capacity to host 1,000 views is very much the same as 10,000.
- Online optimization benefits. If you host a popular live sale stream on YouTube, you might be surprised to see that it isn’t a one-off event. It may raise your profile within the algorithm or even show up in search engine results for your product.
- Opportunities to stand out. Take Purple’s live stream that simply featured a woman yawning—and getting the rest of the world tired with her. It was an odd but highly effective ad for their mattresses.