The term ‘live selling’ is not new to most netizens ever since it skyrocketed in popularity in the last couple of years. The practice of live selling or showcasing assorted items—from clothes to food—through live streams on different social media or streaming platforms has been a widely known phenomenon in the e-commerce industry. In live selling, online retailers market their products and interact with customers in real time. In turn, potential consumers are able to see how the products look in action, minus the filter. This makes the shopping experience more authentic and real. At the same time, customers can also ask questions directly to the sellers. In this guide, know the basics of live selling, understand how it works, and use it to expand your business.
How does live selling work?
Live selling typically takes place on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Well-known e-commerce platforms Shopee and Lazada have also begun offering live selling features Shopee Live and LazLive, respectively. Streaming platforms like Twitch also allow live selling.
In live selling sessions, sellers display their products and demonstrate how they are used while answering queries from the audience in real time. Customers, on the other hand, can watch the live stream session wherever they are. They can also buy directly from the live stream which makes transactions easier. Viewers of the live stream are also usually offered an exclusive discount or special promotion when they purchase.
The nature of live selling offers a more immersive and interactive shopping experience compared to traditional online shopping where consumers just click on the items they want and add them to their personal shopping carts. Aside from being able to ask questions straight to the sellers, consumers can also receive immediate feedback from the sellers. Both parties can also interact through comments. Customer engagement can help build trust and credibility, which increases business sales and helps sellers build a loyal following.
What is usually sold in live selling sessions?
The best thing about live selling is that you can sell anything under the sun—from pre-loved clothing items to freshly baked cookies. According to Shopify, the most trending products to sell online in 2023 are the following:
- Power tool accessories
- Dog toys
- Costume shoes
- Laptop batteries
- Shot glasses
- Wall plates and covers
- Baby shirts
- Curtain and drape rings
- Cabinet knobs and handles
- Watch accessories
- Model train sets
- Wedding dresses
- Table runners
- Motor vehicle parts
In terms of categories, the most popular ones for live-stream shopping are the following:
- Apparel and fashion products
- Beauty products
- Fresh food
- Consumer electronics
- Furnishings and home decor
- Local online-to-offline sales (like tickets to shows or experiences)
Don’t let these lists limit you though. You have multiple options on what to sell. As live selling becomes more and more popular, more niche brands and creators are also entering the industry.
The basics of live selling: How to start one
Live selling is definitely changing the game in the business scene, but of course, it’s not as easy as it seems to be. Careful planning and strategizing are needed to get you the results you hope for. It involves a step-by-step process like other things.
First, you need to identify which social media or streaming platform works best for your target audience. If you want to cater to a particular demographic, you need to use the right live-selling platform for your business where your audience visits the most.
Once you’ve chosen your platform, make sure you plan how you’ll execute your live stream sessions. Practice how you’ll entice your audience by rehearsing your sales pitch so you don’t get nervous during the live stream. You can use visual aids to avoid those mental blocks.
Second, organize your products so you know where to find them during the live stream. This makes way for a smooth-flowing session. Then, test out purchase links to make sure they work efficiently. Also, don’t forget to test your Internet connection, camera, and microphone. You may also record yourself during your rehearsal so you can check the quality of your sound and lighting.
During your live-stream session, keep your audience engaged. Make sure your session is fun and interactive. This shows your viewers that you care about them. In this way, you also provide them with immediate feedback about your items. As much as possible, make it quick so you can show off more products and avoid dead air.
Finally, don’t forget to promote your live selling session before and after. When you advertise your events, keep them consistent so your viewers get used to your schedule. This will help you gain loyal customers.
Of course, like other things, the use of live selling can also pose challenges to online retailers. There could be technical difficulties that involve the use of equipment or the instability of the Internet connection. In other instances, there could be a lack of engagement from customers because of poor presentation of products or unappealing deals. These may impact the customers’ viewing and shopping experience.
Despite that, live selling sure can be an effective way to attract customers, especially now that people love spending time online and would rather purchase online than go out.
Miles Nicole See is a fourth-year student at the University of the Philippines Baguio. She is a Bachelor of Arts in Communication student with a major in Journalism and a minor in Broadcast Communication. In her free time, Miles is fond of visiting coffee shops, reviewing films on Letterboxd, and playing with her dogs.