A live shopping update from Stu Conroy, Director of Innovation + E-commerce
There is a lot of buzz about live commerce (AKA live shopping) and how brands should position themselves. In the UK, we have seen great success for brands with the launch of TikTok Shop, where you can purchase directly on TikTok without leaving the platform. The ability to transact directly on TikTok with a 5% sales fee has started to appeal to many brands.
Social media platforms are growing their commerce ambitions, but does it make sense for your brand?
Whilst many are excited by being live on social media, there are various elements to consider. Are the customers ready to buy through social media? Will they trust social over a marketplace like Amazon or Walmart?
Consumers are on social media to have fun, be educated, and catch up with friends’ activities, including what they had for lunch that day! Although purchases can be influenced, shifting buyer behavior can take time.
Our perspective is to look at live content as a conversation with existing and potential customers. The added benefits are creating content and having an active market research channel.
Increasingly we are seeing a TikTok first approach to content, whether it’s creating TikToks, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and more. Even though the demographic is generally younger than other platforms, so are many of the creators. Whether you adopt this approach or not, the interesting elements of TikTok are to create immediately engaging content that is either informative or humorous. You need to work hard to capture people’s attention.
As marketers, brand owners, and key stakeholders, we often hold opinions on how customers view our products, brands, and messaging. From the live shows we have run on social platforms and websites, it is clear that the customer often has other questions on their mind.
Live engagement with knowledgeable presenters provides an opportunity to understand what the customer is thinking. We have been working with brands to take the feedback from live shows into their overall marketing. Helpful feedback includes the features that matter to the audience, which brands they are comparing you to, and the values that are important to them, from eco-friendly to ethical.
Where the Sale Takes Place
Social media platforms want you to transact through their checkouts, but what is important to the brand is that a checkout occurs, regardless of the platform. The general lack of buyer intent on social compared to search or marketplace should steer a brand towards a more holistic approach.
With higher ticket items, the spontaneity of purchase is reduced. Consumers will more likely be interested in following up the initial spark with a search of reviews, alternate pricing options, and availability. For instant purchase, much like in physical stores, the offer should be stand out, whether through a great price, a new launch, or an exclusive offer on the platform.
Overall, the goal of brands should be to leverage the tools of technology that now allow live discussions at all hours of the day. This should be in conjunction with video, website, marketplace, and physical store activity that best suits the brand’s ambitions.