Should you do live shopping on social media or on your own website?
Live shopping is a great way to increase brand awareness, promote products and boost sales. But with many live shopping platform options, it is not easy to choose where to host your events. To help you decide, we’ve compared perhaps the most obvious choice–social media–with live shopping on your own website.
What does live shopping on your own website even mean? To host live shows on a website, typically an e-commerce site, you need an integration with a dedicated live shopping platform. Thanks to the integration, all live-stream shopping action, including traffic, chats, and selling, takes place on your e-commerce setup.
Now, let’s compare live shopping on social media and your own website.
1. Who will watch your live shopping events?
Social networks have millions of users, so chances for a wider audience watching your live videos are high. At the same time, you can never predict how the algorithm on Facebook or Instagram will deliver. Lots of commenting and liking are needed to draw more participants. And there is no way of knowing whether you attracted the right crowd and whether the same crowd will be there next time. In other words, it is more difficult to build a community.
Hosting live shows on your own website requires more work from your marketing team to create traffic and gather an audience. However, in the long run, you are more likely to build a community of people who are genuinely interested in your products.
Someone who randomly came across your live show while browsing on Facebook might be less willing to engage or buy than someone who took the time to get to know your brand and signed up to watch the event on your website. So it is more about attracting the right rather than a large audience.
2. Can you collect data and gain insights?
By using social media to host live shopping events, you depend on third-party data – and even that data is scarce, considering tightening data privacy laws and more restrictions regarding how social media networks go about user tracking.
Whereas live shopping on your website means collecting first-party data because you drive traffic through your domain. For example, if viewers want to participate in a competition during your event, they need to sign up by giving email permission. Plus, once on your website, viewers accept cookies and you can track for retargeting and reengagement purposes.
“To see how well your broadcasts are doing, you’ll need audience analytics and insights. Knowing what worked the last time will help you better prepare for the next event,” says Julie Christine Kühne, Customer Success Manager at Liveshopper.
Hosting on your own e-commerce site, you can also download the event chat to analyze and learn from the experience. This comes in handy when you have a lot of participants, and monitoring the chat live is a challenge.
3. How long will your content live?
Typically, content on social media does not have a long shelf life. A post will be visible for a day, and its reach will gradually decline. The same goes for a live shopping video: it peeks while live and over the next 24 hours. Most social media live shopping shows are driven by special offers and sales, and when those end, the content is no longer viable.
With your own website, you can go beyond live. You can record and store all events, giving videos a longer life. Live shopping shows can be clipped and repurposed for content creation. For example, shorter videos or static pictures from a live show can be posted on marketing channels post-event, meaning your hard work put into making the show in the first place will continue to bear fruit.
Read more: 7 Tips to Market Your Live Shopping Event
4. Can you provide a good shopping experience?
Some social media networks offer live video features such as product purchasing widgets. Still, people usually buy on social media during live shopping by leaving a comment and indicating a promotional code, product size, and color. The host then assigns the chosen item to the commenter. With a smaller crowd, this may be doable, but with more viewers, things can quickly get out of hand, leading to mistakes and leaving both sides frustrated.
You can provide a much more straightforward experience by hosting live shopping on your own website. You do not miss out on any orders because customers do not need to leave a comment; they can purchase products of any size or color directly from your e-commerce site, which is integrated with your live shopping solution.
“Setting up live shopping on your website brings viewers closer to actually buying. And if they don’t buy - they have seen your website and products, maybe made a wishlist and might come back around. Often people continue browsing even after the event. Four to five times more sales are made after the live show,” says Julie Kühne.
5. What about the cost and setup?
The cost of getting started with live shopping on social media is lower than hosting on your own website. Social networks are mostly free and relatively easy to use.
Setting up to host live shows on your website is a larger undertaking that requires more resources. However, once you are all set, hosting each show is as easy as on social media. It is also a better investment long-term because you fully control user traffic, data, and sales.
Depending on which solution you choose, your live shopping partner can help you with producing your shows, selecting and training hosts, and developing a live shopping strategy.
6. Can you get timely support?
When hosting live shopping on social media, you are largely on your own. This includes both the initial setup and if you run into issues. Hosting on your own website with an integrated live shopping solution, you have a customer success manager assigned.
Conclusion: Which live shopping platform to go with?
See the key differences between live shopping on social media and your own website in the table below.
Your chosen live shopping platform will depend on your business’s level of maturity with live commerce and what you want to achieve. What is your marketing strategy? Are your live shows intended to sell/engage/provide knowledge?
At the same time, it does not necessarily have to be one or the other. Make it a combined effort: if you decide to host live shopping on your own website, use social media for event promotion. Some live shopping solutions will also allow you to stream on social media channels simultaneously, improving overall performance.
If you want to know more about hosting live shopping events on your own website, reach out to us, we’d be happy to answer your questions and provide a demo.