Live Shopping and Social Selling: how to sell on social networks in 2021
This article is taken from our study Beauty brands & Influencer Marketing in 2021, available as a free download.
Why social selling has become so important ?
What is social selling?
With the health crisis, e-commerce has taken another big leap. Social networks are taking over from brand websites and the hype goes to social commerce—selling on social networks. Networks are developing tools to shorten the shopping journey:
- Pinterest offers product pins to showcase brands’ products and Instagram Shopping features offer advertisers a storefront and the ability to tag products.
- TikTok integrates shopping links into posts and has established a partnership with Shopify.
- Youtube is following the same path. In short, the basic trend is to allow users to directly buy the product they see and to make a purchase following an influencer’s recommendation. Social commerce is therefore a new ally of Influencer Marketing.
Social selling on Instagram: what features are available ?
Whether the objective of a campaign is to increase sales, work on a brand’s image or awareness, brands and KOL’s can use different tools on Instagram:
- Sponsored post and link in bio Influencers can add a link in their bio or in the description of their post and redirect to the brand’s website or product page. This link can be permanent or temporary.
- Swipe up : on stories, the swipe up option is available for accounts with more than 10,000 followers. It links directly to a profile or page.
- Featured stories : this format allows for the creation of stories that remain on the KOLs account for a long time, a great option to promote a brand in a less temporary way.
- Contests and promotional codes: these create excitement among the influencer’s community who can propose an interesting offer to their followers or a contest to win a product.
Live Shopping: the new influencer marketing lever super engaging for beauty brands
Live shopping boosts the principle of social commerce. It uses the elements of an in-store sale in an authentic and engaging format. A format that is already successful in Asia, particularly in China where KOLs have long influenced direct sales. Brands like Perfect Diary, one of the first brands to use live streaming on WeChat, have quickly made a name alongside Dior and Maybelline. During the first quarantine, Shanghai New World shopping center set up a three-day livestream with several brands on Douyin, the Chinese TikTok. With more than 130,000 customers connected, it was a success.
Live Shopping mixes entertainment and live product showcases where viewers are able to buy products and ask questions. This is a way for brands to increase their sales but also their visibility.
Sephora chose Marion Moretti (@marioncameleon) to create a live show where she presented Too Faced products and made a festive make-up.
Galeries Lafayette quickly proposed a digital personal shopper service in May 2020. In February 2021, they combined influence and live shopping to present Kylie Skin products with the influencer Maya (@mayadorable) and an expert of Kylie Jenner’s brand. All the possibilities of live shopping were used: animation by the influencer, who recommended her favorite products, dialogs with the viewers to answer their questions and presentation of two exclusive limited edition Kylie Skin kits.
Last example with Walmart: after the success of a first live shopping event in December 2020, where Walmart recorded seven times more viewers than expected and gained 25% subscribers on TikTok, a second live event was created on TikTok in march 2021. The program featured popular content creators, such as Gabby Morrison, presenting brands such as NYX, Bliss and Marc Jacobs fragrances, and talking about their favorite products and beauty routines. Viewers could then add the products directly into a virtual shopping cart.
The live format is loved for its authenticity. It is a conversational format, with the absence of scripts or filters. Brands that use it should therefore not think about selling first, but rather propose an open format based on advice and dialogue about products. This involves the choice of KOLs who will host the live event— they must be engaging, in tune with the brand’s products and customers. It is also possible to select influencers who already know each other for even more authenticity. Creating a live on Instagram, brands also benefit from content that can last over time—because they can then publish it on IGTV.
How can brands combine live shopping and influence?
Live shopping can be done in many ways when combined with influencers, with one common process: a brand invites one or more influencers to do a live show in their home, in a studio, or a shop.
The authentic Live-Shopping option : Live product testing and reviews
Live shopping offers more authenticity than a simple product testing or unboxing video—primarily because it is live. The influencer at the heart of the live show can’t cheat and shows their reactions as they tests a brand’s products, so subscribers will tend to trust them more.
The Live-Shopping advice option : Q&A
A live event is above all an exchange between the influencer, the brand, and the subscribers. It is an opportunity to answer all the questions subscribers may have about the products and to advise them. A format that combines well with a personal shopper who can speak directly during the live session for even more personalized advice.
The exclusive Live-Shopping option : previews and private sales
In the world of influence, exclusivity leads to engagement and is appreciated by influencers and subscribers alike. Live Shopping can be a good way to offer exclusive offers and promotions to a community, to showcase a brand’s behind the-scenes or a product preview.
The alternative Live-Shopping option : don’t just talk about beauty
Live Shopping allows a new type of interaction between brands and communities — a beauty brand can therefore very well open to new subjects to communicate differently and attract new customers. A cooking class, a yoga class, a debate — anything can be a live event. A brand can find in-house expertise to host it or partner with a brand on a completely different topic.