Live commerce, or live sales, is a growing trend that has taken Asia by storm, and is starting to feel more attractive and relevant in western markets. H&M-owned Monki and L'Oreal's Urban Decay added a live commerce element to their websites in 2020, and other consumer brands are looking to do the same. Live commerce’s appeal is clear as brands look to create authentic connections with visitors, increase sales, and gather the information that will allow further personalisation.
If your brand is considering adding a live commerce experience, thinking about the technology needed to deliver a high-quality experience can be intimidating. At Monterosa, our team has worked closely with brands like Three UK to build and deploy live commerce experiences tailored to the brand’s audience and product. We’ve learned a lot along the way, and we've identified five primary tips to help you make the most out of your live commerce experience.
If you’re interested in integrating live commerce into your website or app and sales process, here are four things to consider to set yourself up for success:
Step 1: How are you driving viewers to your live commerce experience?
Your brand might already have many followers on social media channels, or you may be working with influencers and brand ambassadors to extend your market reach. Think of all the possible touchpoints you have with your customers, and utilise those touchpoints to direct users to the live commerce experience in your website or app.
This could look like:
Your influencer(s) and social media channels directing followers to the live stream
Callouts on your website announcing a live commerce show is about to start, or push notifications for app users
An in-store experience that features QR codes that shoppers can capture to access a digital, live commerce experience
From your existing reach (website visitors, app users, social media followers), consider how you can bring them to the live commerce show. Remember, this is not just an opportunity to sell, but it’s also a great way to encourage participation that helps you gather insights into what your customers want and their buying behaviour.
Step 2: What is the customer journey going to be?
Before you build anything, it’s essential to understand who your audience is, any new segments you might be able to reach, and what you want to achieve with your live commerce experience. Do you want to build your brand? Increase the stickiness of your property? Do you want to drive merchandise sales? Gather data for personalisation? Nurture visitors?
For example, if you’re a fast-fashion retailer who wants to increase sales, you could use mechanisms that are more conducive to impulse and convenience buying, which is probably how your customers tend to shop. Within the live stream, you can utilise CTAs that correspond directly to products. Or use polls to determine how the audience is reacting to a specific trend.
So if you asked, “Which sneaker style are you wearing as the weather warms up?” and learn that people are interested in a particular style in the collection, the live streaming presenter can talk about the product’s colourways or share outfit ideas. This generates an impulse reaction that may drive the user to purchase the shoes.
On the other end, a tech retailer like Three or a makeup retailer— a brand with more technical product information to share— might want the live stream to mimic the in-store shopping experience. There’s a great opportunity to offer product support and guidance in the live stream, where your audience can ask questions just as they would in a brick-and-mortar store. This approach is less about impulse buying and more about having the live stream host emphasise a product’s features and benefits.
In other words, know your product and audience, and tailor the experience accordingly.
Step 3: Consider the screen layout
This is a small thing that can have significant ramifications. Low latency video has evolved dramatically and is now providing a top-level user experience. Your screen layout can maximise that high quality. If you’re a tech company offering a feature review of your product, a 16:9 screen with an interactive panel underneath might work best. This way, viewers can see the full scope of the product’s technical aspects without too much getting in the way.
But if you’re a fashion retailer, a vertical video with an overlay of the interactive panel might work best since most of your audience will probably skew a bit younger and be watching your content on a mobile device. It also helps to mimic the customer’s experience at one of your retail stores, where they’d view the item in a long mirror in the fitting room.
Again, think about the product; think about the audience. What is going to showcase your product and engage with customers most effectively?
Step 4: Choose your destination and build the road to get there
As you start incorporating interactive tools into your customer journey, it’s essential to set goals and match them to a corresponding interactive element (Q&A, polls, shopping, etc). For example, if you want to engage at the “top of the funnel”, making the experience available to every web visitor (i.e., not behind a paywall) might be the way to go. You can then use interactive elements like a pop-up in the middle of the stream to drive web visitors to input their information and receive personalised assistance from a sales specialist. Or you might want to have a shoppable overlay that invites people to sign up to make the checkout process more straightforward.
You may also want to use the live commerce experience to introduce a new product or trend. In this case, utilising open Q&A and social sharing can be a great way to engage and have an honest conversation. Or, if you want to use the streaming to gather consumer feedback and research, using a poll that asks questions that will allow you to enrich the consumer profile might be the way to go.It’s essential to keep in mind that live commerce isn’t just about selling a product— it can also be about building a relationship with your customers. As with modern in-store retail, live commerce allows for unique and engaging experiences that attract shoppers.
Beyond shopping, live commerce is driven by customer advice and support— building trust and knowledge— and delivering an entertaining and fun experience. A retailer might, for example, use a live commerce platform to host a Q&A with special guests, or do an expert show— an interactive live event that focuses on a theme (beachwear, back to the office, etc).
Yes, live commerce allows for another sales channel, but it can also tie into more significant engagement strategies— which is where the long-term benefits can come into play.
Step 5: How can this scale?
The quality of the live commerce experience will be fundamental in achieving your desired outcomes. Having low latency live streaming is one thing, but as you include interactive elements like Polls or Live Questions, these need to scale to support multiple concurrent users taking a real-time action.
Flexibility is also crucial. Being able to build a custom layout with elements and your own branding is vital to the long-term success of your live commerce efforts. Whether you’re hosting an expert Q&A, selling live, or doing an interactive catwalk, you need to be able to build the live commerce experience that supports your goals.There’s a lot to be gained by building a live commerce experience into your digital properties. By identifying your audience and goals, and building tactically, you can open up an entirely new sales channel that can engage users in a whole new way.Learn more about building a winning live commerce experience with Monterosa’s Interaction Cloud.