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Getting Started with Live-stream Selling

During the 2022 holiday shopping season, Amazon hosted many live streams promoting a wide range of products. Amazon Live Events — a form of live-stream shopping — has thousands of creators and influencers selling products.

Live-stream selling is a proven marketing strategy. A personable host demonstrates products while shoppers can ask questions or talk about their experiences. It’s similar to QVC and the Home Shopping Network, except the audience is online.

Live-stream shopping began in China around 2017. It has since migrated to the United States and Europe. The tactic will generate $68 billion in U.S. sales by 2026, per Coresight Research. Merchants should act now, especially those who target Gen Zs and younger shoppers.

McKinsey Digital reports that 36% of live-stream purchases are apparel and fashion items; beauty accounts for about 8%, followed by fresh food, electronics, and home décor.

Example of Amazon Live livestream selling

Amazon Live is home to thousands of content creators reviewing products for direct purchases.

New Conversion Tool

Live-stream selling focuses on shoppers’ desire to know more about a product and their tendency to impulse buy. It provides instant answers, minimizing the guesswork.

A well-presented live stream:

  • Builds a community by engaging and communicating with consumers.
  • Entices viewers to click the calls to action.
  • Generates sales.
  • Reduces pre-purchase support requests, including live chat.
  • Lowers returns by providing essential details and answers.

Getting Started

There are four primary ways to incorporate live-stream selling.

  • Via social media, selling directly on that platform or linking to the online store.
  • On Amazon Live for marketplace sellers (at no cost).
  • On a third-party live-selling network, such as YouTube, Firework, Vimeo, and others.
  • Directly from the ecommerce site using a provider, for a fully-branded experience.

All methods require analysis and planning to determine the best for your audience.

American Girl livestream event

American Girl live streamed its “Girl of 2022” event, pinning products during the feed. Source: Firework.

Costs associated with live-stream selling include:

  • Monthly charges for hosting the events on-site, ranging from $40 to $20,000, depending on features, attendance, and more.
  • Production expenses. A simple setup using a smartphone and ring light can run less than $50. But streaming from a professional-grade studio requires proper lighting and sound. Split-screen streaming takes additional work unless you loop through Zoom or similar.
  • Fees to a spokesperson or influencer, which can cost more than enlisting employees to go on camera.
  • Marketing, a must for live events. Deploy announcements via email and social media. Consider advertising, too.

Detailed analytics are crucial for live selling. Ensure your platform or provider can track:

  • Abandonment rate,
  • Points of entry and exit,
  • Viewing times,
  • Chat activity, ideally by communication types, such as host questions, testimonials, images
  • Viewer reactions — like, love,
  • Call-to-action clicks and funnel performance.

Also important are moderation tools, chat exports, and replay capabilities.

Not Too Distant

Livestream shopping will be an expected norm in the not-too-distant future, connecting online consumers as never before. This engaging content will be critical for ecommerce success.

Pamela Hazelton
Pamela Hazelton
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