Using Live Streaming To Drive An Omnichannel Strategy

November 8th, 2021 by

As the “new normal” becomes simply “normal”, the retail industry has readjusted to post-pandemic consumer habits. So, what does normal look like? 

New research shows that consumers aren’t necessarily prioritising either online or in-store shopping, but want retailers to meet them wherever they are. In a report by Klarna, nearly 90% of shoppers say they use multiple channels to search and spend. 

A key trend emerging from consumers’ omni-channel demand is live streaming. Also known as live commerce, this trend enables retailers to combine the most important elements of in-store shopping with the convenience of online shopping—think interactive customer service but entertaining. 

Live stream shopping or shopping entertainment has been massively popular in China for the last few years, with sales expected to reach $423 billion by 2022. In the Western market, there has been a slower uptake from retailers getting involved with live commerce, but we are slowly seeing this change. A few brands have begun investing in the medium in order to drive consumer engagement and sales. 

Clarins 

In September 2021, beauty brand Clarins Group confirmed it will extend its partnership with the live video shopping platform Bambuser. In a long-term deal, the partnership will execute shoppable live streams across 10 key markets including the US, Canada and Spain. According to the platform, the initial pilot program resulted in conversion rates of 30% and the live video successfully kept consumers engaged for an average of 17 minutes at a time. 

The main strategy for Clarins is to focus on skincare expertise. It uses live streaming to hold skincare sessions (hosted on its own websites) led by experts and special guests, covering tutorials for specific skincare and beauty topics. Viewers of the live streams could shop the products featured directly, with Clarins’ approach aiming to create “more conversational relationships with shoppers, leading to deeper, more meaningful relationships and higher long-term customer value.” 

Clarins

To amplify meaningful interactions, Clarins also made use of Bambuser’s one-to-one video solutions, in addition to the mass audience live streams. This service is essentially a personal FaceTime with a brand representative and serves to replicate the in-store experience in Clarins stores, helping create a more intimate experience than a simple online live chat. 

Clarks Shoes

While some retailers have been busy integrating live shopping solutions onto their own websites, Clarks Shoes has been welcoming the medium on social media. Clarks has focused on executing a social-focused strategy that uses shoppable videos powered by video platform Smartzer. It’s first livestream event was hosted by influencer Nià Pettit, and allowed users to browse and buy shoes without even leaving Instagram. 

The shoe brand decided to invest in live stream shopping after seeing its success in Hong Kong, and to find a digital-first approach to targeting its audience post-pandemic. The brand had already begun utilising Instagram Live regularly, so introducing a shoppable medium was a natural progression. 

From its first live stream event, Clarks Shoes experienced a large number of click-throughs to its website. Interestingly, these clicks mainly came after the event as people didn’t want to miss what the hosts were saying by clicking through to the shoes immediately. Moving forward, the brand has said it needs to consider how it can track sales subsequent to the event. 

Its social-first approach and use of culturally relevant influencers is helping the brand succeed in attracting a younger female audience—something the shoe brand was keen to do. 

Nordstrom

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has accelerated the growth of live commerce in Western markets. Retailers are also firm in their beliefs that this will continue due to the buying behaviours of younger consumers, which is mainly influenced by social platforms and the trends and influencers they popularise. 

Nordstrom has launched its own Livestream Shopping channels in order to keep up with the evolving needs of its customers. In order to “serve customers on their own time,” the channel will help Nordstrom deliver on its commitment to do so, and help them shop whenever and however they want. 

In addition to offering live, shoppable content, Nordstrom is also informing its engaged customers of the brands and influencers featured—the Livestream Shopping events typically centre around a designer partnering brand or figure. In June and October, Charlotte Tilbury hosted a Live on the channel and offered viewers her own tips, tricks and favourite makeup products. 

The limited-time Livestream events offer customers a unique online experience that is an authentic progression from an in-store experience. While there is no need for a store, this method is evidence as to why many retailers are using livestream shopping as a consumer touchpoint. 

 Aldo 

Aldo has invested in making live streamed shopping a long-term strategy, piggybacking off the success of its pilot run—once again helped with Bambuser. Hosted by celebrity stylist Mimi Cuttrell and entertainment figure Nate Wyatt, the first live stream allowed viewers to directly shop Aldo’s SS21 collection. 

Following the event, Aldo’s website saw over 17,000 page views, with an average viewing time of over 12 minutes. In addition, the live stream generated an impressive engagement rate of nearly 310%. 

Aldo recognises that livestream shopping doesn’t replace an in-shopping experience, but that it is so successful because it meets customers where they are and can be used in a way that best suits their shopping needs; it offers a new solution to consumers whose shopping habits have shifted. 

When considering livestreaming as a solution, it appears to be an effective way to capture the attention of those whose habits have shifted since the pandemic. This is because it’s not just a solution for immediate sales, but can have a real impact on lifetime customer value. 

Authenticity is key in order to impact lifetime customer value, which is why Aldo has invested in names that have authority within professional styling; this will help them successfully showcase the brand and its products to the desired audience. 

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