How to Start a Boutique Live Sale
You’ve set up your online boutique. You’ve filled it with carefully curated wholesale boutique clothing, and you’re ready to make sales! You diligently post engaging images to social media regularly, but you’re just not getting the traction you want. What to do? Before you branch out into paid advertising, fully mine the potential of social media. It’s time to go live! Let’s look at how (and why!) to start live shopping on Facebook and Instagram.
What is Live Shopping?
When you launch a live demonstration of your boutique’s clothing and accessories using live video on Facebook or Instagram and offer them for sale during the video, that is known as “live shopping.” It marries the convenience of online shopping with many of the benefits of shopping in person with a knowledgeable salesperson. Viewers see the clothing fit and move on real people. They can ask questions and get them answered in real-time.
Having unanswered questions is one of the leading causes of abandoned carts in online stores. Customers expect quick answers to important questions that determine whether they buy. With live shopping, you have an opportunity to answer those questions when they are being asked. These questions will include color and size, availability, your return policy, and shipping costs.
Live shopping also lets you connect with a wide audience to share your personality and brand vision. Your online boutique is much more than the wholesale clothing you resell. It is about your sense of style that led you to choose those specific fashion pieces to offer to your customers. A Facebook live sale is the perfect forum to demonstrate the vision that guides you. Demonstrate the many ways to accessorize that shirt you love or to tie that scarf you recommend. Show how you would transition that dress from day tonight. Give your viewers a reason to tune in even when they aren’t planning to make a purchase.
Elements Needed for a Live Sale
There are a few basics you’ll need to start your live sale on Facebook or Instagram:
- Business Page: First, set up a business page and add some branded content. A business page allows visitors to get an introduction to your boutique and your style. Invite people to join and to engage.
- Video Camera: A simple webcam for your laptop or the camera of your smartphone will work. The nature of live sales is interactive, with an emphasis on authentic engagement. No fancy camera work or professional lighting is required.
- Products to Sell: Show the exact wholesale boutique clothing that you have on hand for sale.
- Product Identification Cards: To simplify ordering, give a unique number to each item you have for sale. A blue tee should have a different number from the identical one in red. That way, ordering is as simple as a viewer commenting #103 sold!
- Simple Order Instructions: Keep the process for ordering simple. Create an easy-to-read sign that can remain on camera to walk viewers through the process of placing an order.
Find a Live Sale Partner
The above elements are must-haves for your live sale. But, unless you are a gifted speaker/entertainer, getting a partner to work with you to conduct the live sale will be a big help. This is your chance to make your own QVC-style pitch of both your products and your boutique. Your partner can help to demonstrate the wholesale clothing you offer and help to keep it organized. Plus, she can model and provide positive reactions to the products.
Most of all, a partner helps to keep the energy up for an extended presentation. Live sales are recommended to go for more than an hour because Facebook bumps longer videos. On average, Facebook live videos are watched three times longer than other videos, with 65% of viewers watching more than 75% of the live video!
It’s easier to keep the information flowing and keep it fun when you can bounce ideas and suggestions around with a partner. But remember to keep your focus on your viewing audience. Greet viewers by name, use their name when answering questions, and find ways to engage the viewers throughout the sale. Ask questions like “Where would you wear this outfit?” or “How would you style this jacket?” to encourage viewer participation. Offer giveaways or prizes throughout to keep viewer attention.
Tips for a Successful Live Sale
Keep the following tips in mind to make your live sale a big success:
- Remain Focused on Your Brand: Viewers want to connect with you during your live sale — that’s the power of this forum. Be authentic. Always remember that you are representing your brand. Stay positive and on topic.
- Set-Up and Test Equipment Ahead of Time: Be sure you’re comfortable with your set, camera, lighting, etc., ahead of time. Start a practice sale on your personal page with your settings set to private.
- Schedule Your Live Sale: Review your business page statistics to learn when your followers are most active online. Schedule your live sale for a time your desired audience is most likely to be available.
- Promote the Live Sale: Post fun, engaging images that promote your sale on all of your different social media channels.
- Regularly Provide Context: Remember that your live sale will go a long time. Viewers may come and go throughout. Be sure new viewers have a sense of what’s happening by periodically giving context with statements like, “We’re about halfway through our summer collection. Our next item is…”
- End with a Call to Action: The end of your live sale gives you an opportunity to remain connected to your audience. Ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, so they’ll be notified of your next live sale. Encourage them to post photos of themselves wearing the new items they purchased and tag you on social media channels.
- Post the Video: Post the video of your live sale to your business page to get more viewers interested in attending live for the next one!
Ryan Ninow is the CEO and owner of Bloom Wholesale; with ten years of experience in the wholesale fashion industry. Working with retailers from Nordstroms, TJ Maxx, Forever21 to tens of thousands of Mom-and-Pop stores. Collaborated and built multiple distribution websites and fashion lines, all with an emphasis on aiding and growing the boutique marketplace.