Live streaming has been possible for e-commerce brands on social media for a few years now. The trend rose significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic as stores turned to sell online. But was it a temporary replacement for retail stores, or will this trend last? In this article, I will discuss this concern and list out some of the benefits of live streaming e-commerce brands should consider when deciding whether they should invest time and money in this trend.
What is live streaming?
Live streaming is a type of live video stream that is shared directly from you to your followers. Depending on the platform you choose, your live stream can have different technical abilities, but the core idea is the same – you launch your stream, and then viewers can watch you in real-time. Live streaming exploded in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is expected to continue to grow even as restrictions ease up.
What platforms are available?
There are several platforms available for live streaming. One thing to consider is that every platform will have a different audience and set of demographics that it reaches. One of the largest streaming platforms, Twitch, focuses primarily on gaming. However, this is beginning to change as more and more streamers opt to share other types of experiences on the platform.
YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram all offer live streaming too. TikTok, one of the fastest-growing apps, also allows you to live stream. These aren’t the only platforms, but they are the easiest places to get started.
Why choose live streaming?
Live streaming alone hasn’t just exploded in popularity, but live e-commerce has too. As exports out of China slowed due to the coronavirus pandemic, many companies turned towards live e-commerce as a solution to boost domestic sales. Live streaming is quickly changing from the wild west frontier of the Internet to a staple in the tool chest of many businesses and marketers.
Here are a few reasons why live streaming is right for e-commerce businesses.
Live streaming is proven to drive sales
Consumer spending on social apps is expected to hit $17.2B in 2025. Much of this increase has been driven by the ability of apps to enable sales on their platforms.
One reason that live streams can help bring in more sales is that they generate sales leads. Consumers watching a show that features a product or a piece of clothing are easily drawn to your storefront. Sometimes, like with Instagram, that storefront can even be on the same app. Consider using a profit and loss statement template to help you better track how your sales improve once you incorporate live streaming into the mix.
Low cost of entry
One reason that live streaming is so popular is the low cost of entry. Many live streaming influencers start with nothing more than a webcam and an iPhone. As smartphones continuously improve, it becomes easier and easier to jump in. Today, a well-lit room and a smartphone are all you need to get started.
Bigger audience reach
Broadening your audience is a key component of building a sales enablement framework and closing more deals. Live streaming helps you do just that. Think about all of the current areas your marketing reaches. If you take out Facebook ads, only your Facebook followers can see your content. But by expanding to live streaming, you’re opening yourself up to an entirely new set of eyes. Additionally, live streaming engagement happens in real-time, which draws new people in more easily.
Live streaming can also improve customer experience. Unlike a social media post, live streaming allows viewers to ask questions and get instant replies. Successful live streaming events often include quizzes, games, and product giveaways to keep viewers entertained. Gen Z shoppers, especially, love the direct access to influencers and other social media personalities. And this personal-feeling engagement encourages people to trust your brand and buy your products.
Helps with content creation
One struggle for businesses is constantly coming up with new content for marketing. Live stream videos are a great way to generate content for your brand and build brand awareness. You can record your live streams and turn the edited videos into social media posts or longer format videos for YouTube and Vimeo.
You can collaborate with creators and influencers
Live streaming doesn’t have to be an in-house effort. You can also leverage this marketing strategy by finding creators and influencers who already have an established audience. An influencer hosting a “try-on haul” functions as an ongoing live review of your products.
You can use your marketing team to reach out to them and see if they would like to become brand ambassadors. Popular creators often have a reach that numbers in the thousands to hundreds of thousands. By leveraging their existing marketing reach, you can avoid starting from scratch and can still use the power of live streaming to your advantage.
Live streaming will bring your business huge benefits
If you’re considering jumping into live streaming for your e-commerce business, don’t think of it as a hassle; think of live streaming as an opportunity. Live streaming brings a host of benefits to your business, including greater audience reach, improved sales, and improved content generation. There are many different platforms to choose from, and jumping in is easier than ever with a low cost of entry. If you haven’t considered live streaming before, make sure you add it to your list of marketing essentials.