With the rise of more innovative online shopping experiences, customers aren’t settling for the same cookie cutter experiences when looking to purchase products or merchandise. They want to be wowed and taken on a memorable, seamless shopping journey that is personal and engaging.

Consumers are spending more time shopping online and via social media platforms, opening the possibilities for retailers to supercharge how they showcase their products. In fact, the $492 billion global social commerce industry is expected to grow three times as fast as traditional ecommerce to $1.2 trillion by 2025 according to Accenture.

More Australian retailers are looking to incorporate live shopping experiences into the ecommerce mix as part of their omnichannel marketing strategy giving consumers new, entertaining and interactive ways to shop. Here’s a look at why.

An engaging new way to help customers shop

Imagine a customer not having to read countless product descriptions online, or searching for specific product features without trawling through pages of content. What if retailers could show customers exactly how their product works or how a dress fits, in a brief, engaging video? This is how live shopping can transform the ways retailers enhance customer shopping journeys and influence purchases.

With simple camera setups, live shopping streams on social platforms such as Instagram and TikTok allow online retailers to “open their doors” taking customers on in-store walkthroughs, showcasing new or featured merchandise, sharing special promotions or giving hands-on sneak peeks and product demos. Brands can even tag items from their product catalogue to appear on the bottom of the screen where customers can click through directly to the brand’s website to purchase from. 

Most importantly, live shopping allows customers to have meaningful, real-time chat conversations before buying directly from the brand. Shoppers can submit comments and questions throughout the live stream broadcast, warranting immediate and personable interactions. Not only does this give retailers honest feedback, it helps build brand integrity and transparency.

A recipe for a more engaged audience

There are two elements that make for a great recipe to engage audiences: Digital content creators and influencers. Content creators create compelling content, to put it simply, and influencers are social media personalities that influence followers.

With live shopping, while both have a role with the same goal, each approach is different. Digital content creators focus on developing content that audiences want to consume. For example, partnering with content creators to produce entertaining, captivating and educational content offers a distinct perspective or voice designed to attract and relate to shoppers from the content’s point of view, creating connections and the need to learn more.

Influencers on the other hand, share how they live day-to-day, promoting products and merchandise along the way – and get paid for it. For example, there are beauty influencers promoting make-up brands via live streaming broadcasts linking say, eyeshadows or lipsticks, to affiliated brands to influence followers to buy, which then a percentage or incentive is paid in return.

Another value point to make is that live shopping provides insightful feedback in real time for retailers. Monitoring comments, answering questions or following conversations between shoppers in the feed has the ability to open opportunities to fine tune for the next time.

The possibilities are endless with live shopping to bring a brand to life. Knowing your customers and their buyer behaviours goes a long way.

Live shopping lays the foundations for expansion, change what isn’t working

Beyond the benefits for consumers, live shopping experiences create crucial touchpoints for larger retailers to expand their services and drive repeat visits to their main online storefronts. This touchpoint acts as a gateway through which shoppers can seamlessly switch to the online store to browse the main shopfront, and complete purchases they wanted to make through the live stream.

Live shopping also enables retailers to track sales in real time, action customer feedback or quickly change the elements of their shopfront that aren’t working.

As more consumers use social media as a touchpoint in their shopping journey, the value of live shopping experiences will only grow for Australian retailers by opening the doors to a fresh and exciting way to drive brand engagement, build customer loyalty and ultimately, revenue.

Jordan Sim is senior director of product management at BigCommerce.