1. Media & Marketing

The Small Seller’s Guide To Holiday Live Selling

The holidays have always been an opportune time for small business owners to attract new customers, but this year could prove especially fruitful for retailers with the right strategies, as the National Retail Federation predicts holiday spending will jump 3%-4% from last year. 

While brick-and-mortar establishments are welcoming holiday shoppers with doorbuster deals and glittering decor, many customers could be conducting their shopping this year in the virtual aisles of their TikTok and Instagram feeds. Social commerce has been around for a while, but a social shopping boom has elevated it into a vital retail strategy. By revolutionizing the way people discover new products, make purchases and share what they love with their friends and family, social media has become the go-to destination for holiday gift-buying.

With social shopping, small retailers have several new avenues to expand their customer base. At the same time, wider accessibility means heightened competition.

Live selling offers a powerful way for small retailers to stand out from the crowd and take advantage of the holiday momentum. Major retailers like Best Buy and Bass Pro Shops have embraced the emerging e-commerce format this season, signaling greater awareness and adoption among consumers. However, live selling is particularly advantageous for small and midsize businesses, whose loyal customer communities allow for personalized, one-on-one engagement with hosts. 

My company has worked with thousands of independent retailers to help them attain live selling success. Based upon that experience, here is my three-step guide for small retailers to find live selling success.

Be Entertaining

The days of needing a formal studio to create video content are over. Now, all a seller needs is their iPhone, their merchandise and their personality. 

That last element can be the most challenging to master – though it’s arguably the most important. Done right, live selling is an effective retail strategy that will drive higher conversion rates and repeat business. But it’s also a performance art. Entertainment is the second most-popular reason for social media usage, and with algorithms in constant flux, live content must be high-quality and engaging to reach users’ feeds. 

That said, a good live sale host doesn’t have to have the bombastic personality of a YouTuber or the glitzy lifestyle of an Instagram mega-influencer to maintain a captive audience. From what we’ve seen, the most successful live sellers are the ones who have compassionate characters, who can read the virtual room and adapt quickly to an audience’s mood. Live sale audiences are a place where viewers can build community with one another, and the strongest hosts are the ones who will create a safe and positive space for those connections to take root. 

The first step to becoming an entertaining livestream host is to become an empathetic one. Sellers should not only tailor their content to trends that are popular among their target audience, but solicit feedback to better understand their needs. During sales, they should talk to customers like friends and invite them to participate actively in the show. Livestream platforms are even evolving to allow hosts to bring audience members on-screen like in a live studio audience, adding another layer of entertainment.

Have The Right Tools

Social media is the lifeblood of many small retailers with limited marketing budgets. Conversely, other businesses have been successful without social media, and may find it difficult to jump into social selling without prior experience. 

Running a small business is difficult enough as it is without technical challenges. Fortunately, no matter a company’s experience level with social video, it’s easy to kickstart a live selling strategy if they have the right tools at their disposal. 

Many businesses that leverage live selling choose an external platform to host and facilitate their shows. An all-in-one solution that integrates with other sales processes, such as invoicing and inventory management, will reduce the need for extra steps and improve the overall user experience. By removing logistical barriers and streamlining key sales processes, all-in-one hosting platforms empower sellers to focus on their audiences.

Sellers should also maintain an independent sales channel, typically a website or bespoke app. Not only does this promote brand credibility, but it can give retailers powerful insights into their audience through proprietary data. Analyzing this data in conjunction with real-time customer feedback will lead to better, more profitable livestreams.

Take Advantage of Multiple Platforms

Twitch, a livestreaming social network popular among gamers, recently made headlines when it announced users could simulcast to other sites. The new “multi-stream” feature lets creators reach a wider audience by meeting them where they prefer to consume content. 

Fortunately, the benefits of multi-streaming aren’t exclusive to professional gamers. Retailers employing live selling can benefit from them to much the same effect. With a multi-platform approach, small businesses can interface with the network they’re most comfortable with while reaching users on another, where they’re already congregating and forming communities. 

The benefits of live selling don’t end when the camera cuts. Live sales run long, but if recorded, can be repurposed into short-form static content. Additionally, technology can enable recorded sales to remain shoppable, so potential customers don’t miss out on items they love, even if they can’t make it to a show.  

With shoppers looking for great deals and great content, the holidays are a prime time for small retailers to experiment with live selling. By leveraging their tight-knit communities, these retailers can create personalized, exhilarating live sale experiences that will transform ordinary customers into super-fans. Outfitted with the right tools and training, retailers will not only boost their holiday revenue, but forge a stronger brand identity that will power their growth for seasons to come. 


The post The Small Seller’s Guide To Holiday Live Selling appeared first on Retail Minded.

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