How Retail Marketers Can Optimize Livestream Shopping

Livestream shopping has taken China and Asia by storm, representing $514 billion in sales in 2022, according to eMarketer. While adoption in the U.S. is still in its early phases, platforms like TikTok, YouTube, and Amazon continue to launch new features and capabilities.

As shoppers grow more comfortable with the live online shopping experience, there are ample opportunities for brands to gain a first-mover advantage, and with a few best practices, live shopping can become a revenue-driving activation with real-time interaction among customers.

Pick the right host. The host is ultimately responsible for showcasing products, providing commentary, and driving the show forward while ensuring the audience remains engaged. Because U.S. shoppers may be unfamiliar with the ins and outs of live shopping, brands should invest in the right talent to generate excitement about the event and deliver a valuable shopping experience for the audience.

For example, Old Navy’s recent partnership with Who What Wear editors engaged 17,000 live viewers and reached more than three million customers through replay on the brand’s site. In addition, Amazon Live’s live shopping program regularly partners with celebrities and influencers, such as reality TV’s Paige DeSorbo.



Keep viewers entertained. Whether it’s special products or an exclusive promotion or product discount, there are plenty of creative opportunities for giving viewers incentive to tune in, watch, and shop. The art of keeping viewers engaged has to go beyond a single host holding products in front of the camera and talking for an hour. Taking a conversational approach that encourages viewers to actively engage draws the audience further into the experience.

By bringing in experts and curating a must-watch experience, livestream shopping can garner added credibility for the brand while showcasing products in an interesting way. Some live shopping events feature two hosts who speak with one another and the audience about the product, or have the host interact with models who come in and out of frame with different products. For retail and beauty brands, consider featuring a brand stylist or representative to share more about the product and the production process.

Promotions must be intentional. The real-time, live nature of live shopping requires brands to invest in a paid and organic channel promotion strategy that surrounds the event before, during and after the livestream. A balance must be struck between pre-livestream promotions so that messaging is not launched too early (or viewers will forget to tune in), but also not too late (as customers can miss the event entirely). 

 The majority of livestream views and product sales will come during the post-promotion period, when the replay or cutdown of the livestream is repackaged and featured across channels. Typically, a one -to two-week post-promotion period is the sweet spot for driving additional views and promoting relevant content and products.

Practice makes perfect . Even with the best production and content planning, proactive planning is fundamental to hosting a successful livestream. Practice runs provide an opportunity to troubleshoot  the run of show, venue lighting or sound, internet connectivity, and product tagging. They also allow the host or any special guests to host a full dress rehearsal of the agenda and get more comfortable with talking points, transitions, and chat engagement with the audience. 

Brands can benefit from the latest advancements in livestreaming by jumping in early and capturing demand as a first-mover on one of the most exciting shopping  formats as it becomes more mainstream.

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