Last year, U.S. e-commerce sales generated about $365.2 billion in revenue. With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in changing shopping habits as nonessential businesses endure mandated closures, there is more incentive than ever to invest in growing your digital retail strategy. One innovative strategy to make your business stand out from the competition is to roll out shopstreaming.
“Shopstreaming” is an amalgamation of “shop” and “live streaming.” and is sometimes just called “live stream shopping.” Its essentially video shown online in real-time encouraging viewers to purchase what they see much like an infomercial or home shopping show – except its live.
Shopstreaming has been a fascinating trend in Asia for at least two years but has yet to be fully embraced by the U.S. Maybelline dipped its toes into shopstreaming with a Chinese video-sharing app and sold 10,000 lipsticks in two hours and Hyundai and Kia have even launched successful shopstreaming services overseas. Just as dealers have been using automation for decades without knowing it, they have also been taking advantage of Shopstreaming in a few ways.
Anyone with even a tiny bit of marketing knowledge understands that video sells. Even social media platforms place a priority on video in their feeds. Facebook algorithms dictate that videos that are longer than three minutes and offer original content will show up in more news feeds. It’s really a no-brainer as 6 out of 10 people prefer consuming online videos to watching television.
The only real downside to using video in sales is that you have to trust that the shopper will watch it and contact you after. That is where shopstreaming can take video to the next level. Shopstreaming can keep a customer fully engaged with a sales person while taking advantage of the benefits of unique video content.
In addition, shopstreaming a vehicle demo allows a salesperson to guide a consumer through the vehicle features and benefits directly through their website or mobile device just as if the customer was standing right on the lot. The salesperson doesn’t have to learn any new sales tricks or strategies in order to join in on the digital transformation. They can just “plug in” and sell as they always have. They can also use shopstreaming as a way to complete the post-sale delivery process in the event of a cautious contactless sale. Again, simply going over the delivery walkthrough as they always have. PAVE even allows this medium to be utilized in the trade and lease return processes when it comes to grounding vehicles or evaluating trade-in vehicles.
The sales department isn't the only branch of a dealership taking advantage of shopstreaming. The analog version of a service experience involves a customer dropping off a vehicle and waiting at the dealership or by a phone for a diagnosis leaving the customer to mull over their next step. This allowed many opportunities for a customer to be lost to an independent repair shop or “handy” friend or relative. Using a form of shopstreaming to go over a vehicle diagnosis can be a powerful way to allow service advisors to explain and demonstrate repairs while the customer is at home or work keeping the customer engaged with the dealership during the decision-making process. Shopstreaming can eliminate hours of email, texts and phone calls back and forth by combining the video with live communication when a service advisor is trying to get service recommendation approvals.
The more nuanced features of digital retail such as automation and digitization may seem daunting and complex, but shopstreaming is something that major retailers and dealers have been using for quite some time already. It allows your staff to use the personal sales skills they have honed for their entire careers within a media that consumers prefer in the digital realm. Simply put, it expands your audience and allows for personalized engagement.
Maybe it’s time to start focusing on how to take more old analogue processes, exploring how to digitize them and creating a more engaging customer experience.