Social media offers a wealth of opportunities for connecting with customers, but for some retailers, it just doesn’t compare to the power of the in-person experience. Facebook’s live shopping solution promises to change all that by bringing the purchasing experience out of the physical store and into consumers’ homes all around the world.
Properly implemented, live stream solutions can address a major weakness of eCommerce: the interactive element of in-person shopping. Live shopping videos could also limit the potential for abandoned carts, which remain a major obstacle to high conversion rates. As with any new social media strategy, however, some business leaders are reluctant to give it a whirl.
In this guide, we explain why Facebook live shopping is worth a try — and what you’ll need to make this unique strategy a success.
What Are the Benefits of Live Shopping for Businesses?
The perks of live shopping are clear on the consumer’s end: live streams give customers easy access to the newest and most exciting products. Instead of needing to research items online and go through the hassle of finding where and how to order them, consumers can now instantly score their favorite products with help from Facebook.
From the perspective of the modern small business, the new, live approach to online shopping also makes sense. These days, customer engagement reigns supreme — and live events hold the clear ability to get even ambivalent consumers excited. Proof of the value of social media-based live shopping can be seen in data from the Chinese service Taobao, which over half of the country’s residents have used to watch at least one live stream.
A report from the Institute of China Cyberspace Strategy suggests that nearly half of Chinese internet users who stream videos also buy products via live stream services. If this shopping method proves as popular in the United States, businesses that make the most of new live streaming opportunities could be in for a newly engaged customer base. In turn, conversions may require less effort, leading to a far higher return on investment than previous marketing methods.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Facebook Live Shopping?
Facebook’s live shopping system is an intriguing option, but it’s not necessarily ideal for every type of business. Before you take on this new approach to connecting with customers, keep the following considerations in mind:
- How much do your customers typically research products before committing? In some industries, customers prefer to engage extensively with brands so that they feel confident in making major purchases. With live-stream shopping, however, the focus is on quick conversions. Generally, live shopping is more successful in sectors that already encourage in-person impulse purchases.
- Can you commit to streaming videos on a schedule? Results from live shopping tend to be better when followers can depend on you to go live at specific times. If you constantly need to change up your streaming schedule, you might not get a sufficiently engaged audience to make the effort worthwhile.
- Will your videos be accessible to the followers who actually stand to benefit from them? Not all customers are particularly interested in watching live product demos on Facebook. Do your research to determine whether followers will actually respond to your efforts, and if so, which types of consumers you should target for these broadcasts.
Getting Started with Facebook Live Shopping
Once you’ve decided that you can benefit from Facebook’s live shopping system, you’ll be pleased to discover that getting started is easy.
To begin, visit the Create section from your Facebook page. There, you’ll find a Live prompt, which takes you to the Live Producer tool. Next, enable live shopping. You can also choose a playlist to share. A Go Live button makes the final step easy.
During the live stream, you can click the Feature prompt when you want to show off a specific product. Be sure to designate when you want to stop featuring it or move on to the next item. You can finish the stream with End Live Video.
Tips for Making the Most of Facebook Live Shopping
As you get a feel for the Facebook live experience, you can start to experiment with going live at different times or adjusting video content based on your audience’s preferences. These best practices should improve your outreach:
- Set a schedule. Users will be more likely to regularly tune in for your shopping stream if they expect it to occur at a specific time and on specific days. To encourage repeat viewers, make a point of always airing your live shopping session at the same time. To drum up excitement and ensure that followers are online when your live stream begins, post about it on your page or create virtual event invites.
- Encourage viewers to leave comments. Let viewers know that they’re welcome to share their thoughts and questions in the comment area. Don’t forget to respond to these comments. This will start a conversation while showing that you truly care about your customers. Time is of the essence with live stream responses, so be sure to check on comments continually so you don’t fall behind.
- Let viewers know they can also chat via Facebook Messenger. Not all followers will feel comfortable sharing personal concerns in the comments section. If they prefer a more private option, let them know that they can also get in touch via Facebook Messenger. As with comments, however, it’s important that you follow through by promptly responding to all messages.
- Address viewers who join partway through the live stream. While a few dedicated followers will log on right away and watch your entire live session, far more can be expected to pop in and out as they see fit. They may struggle to catch on if you neglect to greet them and explain what you’re looking to accomplish with that day’s stream.
- Don’t delete live videos. After your live stream is over, you’ll still have a video available. Instead of deleting this, use it as an ongoing source of traffic and customer engagement. Those who are interested in specific products can later refer back to any relevant videos you’ve posted to your page.
Looking to get more step-by-step guidance from the Facebook team? Check out Facebook’s Getting Started with Live Shopping Guide and downloadable PDF here.
Take on Cutting-Edge Social Media Strategies With Vinci Digital
At Vinci Digital, we are eager to help you make the most of several types of social media marketing initiatives. Whether this means featuring products live on Facebook or taking on a more subtle approach, you can count on our team to steer you in the right direction.
PS: Do you plan to connect with customers by using Facebook’s live shopping solution? Why or why not? Would you be interested in trying live stream marketing on a different platform? Leave a comment below to share your opinion — and your plans.