Online sales in the U.S. were expected to reach $151 billion this past holiday season, and while November and December are typically prime retail months, the most progressive brands and retailers are adopting new strategies to continue driving customer engagement and transactions throughout all year round.
Live video broadcasting, in particular, is an effective yet underutilized retail strategy that’s creating new customer engagement opportunities for brands and retailers. Through interactive live broadcasts, retailers can directly engage with shoppers, making the shopping experience more dynamic and exciting while increasing brand affinity and sales in the process.
Here are a few examples of ways retailers are benefitting from incorporating live video broadcasts into their retail strategies, and how online stores of all sizes can utilize live broadcasting technology to create new revenue streams, increase brand awareness, and boost customer engagement.
New Revenue Stream
Interactive live retail marketplace ShopShops works with brands to bring its products to a global audience. Using only a tripod and an iPhone, ShopShops live broadcasts a brand’s products, such as apparel or accessories, to tens of thousands of shoppers around the world. Each item is featured and discussed in great detail, from the materials used to the backstory of the design. Customers can ask questions in real time and buy directly through the channel, which is typically hosted on an online shopping app.
The most immediate benefit of live video broadcasting for brands and retailers is that it creates a new revenue stream. Rather than rely on the sales they receive in their brick-and-mortar shops or through their e-commerce platforms, retailers can take the initiative by directly selling to customers via live video broadcasts. The result: customers discover and interact with products in a way that was never before possible online, while the brand or retailer can quickly—and conveniently—gauge customer sentiment and build deeper customer relationships, all while driving sales in real time during the live broadcast.
The concept of retail as a whole is becoming more blurred as “e-commerce companies build social capabilities and entertainment into their businesses,” says Liz Flora, the editor of APAC research at Gartner L2. Along with creating a new revenue stream, services like ShopShops offer shoppers a unique shopping experience that combines retail transactions with digital entertainment. In other words, “they can now shop while enjoying content or spending time on social networks.”
This new form of “retailtainment” can apply to a variety of ways retailers combine shopping and entertainment, whether it’s in-store or online. Live video broadcasting offers e-commerce retailers the opportunity to engage and entertain their customers. For example, Gravy, the first ever live shopping game show that can be played on a smartphone, gamifies the shopping experience using live video. Every show, Gravy offers up a certain number of a specific product—usually one of the latest gadgets on the market. Throughout the show, players who tune in to the live broadcast can try to buy the product at the lowest price possible. The catch: they don’t know the quantity, so at any point, the item could be sold out! Described as QVC meets The Price is Right, Gravy is a prime example of retail entertainment.
Live fashion shows, creative branded content, and exclusive interviews with interesting guests, along with fun AR filters and stickers, are just a few other examples of the ways live video broadcast can be used as retailtainment that draws new customers, entertains them, and keeps them coming back again and again. By combining a live video broadcast experience with shopping, brands and retailers of all sizes can stay relevant in a constantly evolving market.
Increased Exposure & Brand Awareness
A small cheese shop in the Netherlands, Kaan’s Kaashandel, decided to live broadcast “the daily events at its cheese counter.” What started out as an experiment quickly became the marketing campaign “heard round” the live video broadcasting community. By offering a glimpse of the magic that happens inside its doors, the mom-and-pop business introduced a human element into the often impersonal experience of shopping online, all while virtually selling its locally famous cheese to new customers across the globe in real time.
The success of Kaan’s cheese shop proves that even small businesses can garner a lot of attention through live video. While traditional print or and online marketing campaigns are effective, live video broadcasts offer retailers and brands the opportunity to share their company’s unique culture, all while selling their products and services.
More Engaged Customers
The world of high fashion was built on exclusivity; only those who had the funds to afford designer clothes could do so. With the advent of social media, and later live video, big-name brands were forced to reevaluate the ways they marketed and sold high-priced goods and built connections with their customers. Two years ago, Burberry, the British luxury fashion house, introduced its “see now, buy” model. Customers could tune into the live stream of the fashion show via Facebook Live and then contact customer service and buy the collection on Facebook Messenger. Since then, more designer brands like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren have followed suit by using live video broadcasting technology to share their shows with a wider audience online.
By utilizing live video broadcasts, retailers can create an immersive, engaging experience that resonates with their customers. To stay ahead of the competition (especially Amazon), eCommerce retailers should invest their time in live video broadcasting and other live video features.
Creating Your Own Live Streaming eCommerce Experience
Video broadcasting has grown in popularity in recent years, as more social media platforms have started offering the technology as a feature. While Facebook Live and Instagram Live are great for personal use, they don’t offer businesses, and especially eCommerce retailers, the flexibility they need to provide the most unique, engaging and highest quality experience possible.
By utilizing a dedicated RTC platform, like Agora, retailers can create their very own live video broadcasts. With just a few lines of code, eCommerce businesses can integrate live video and voice features directly into their marketing or sales channels. With a global network of over 200 data centers, Agora clients can rest assured that their customers will experience the same quality video, no matter their device or location.
To learn more about Agora is helping eCommerce stores and businesses across a variety of industries, including gaming, social media, telehealth, and more, visit www.agora.io.