Grin Gets Real Podcast logo

Hosted by:

Katya Allison

Director of Marketing
Content at GRIN

Subscribe

Listen to more
GRIN Gets Real

About GRIN Gets Real

Welcome to the GRIN gets real podcast, the show for people who want to maximize their marketing potential. From influencer marketing to eCommerce strategy and everything in between, each episode will feature industry experts that share their insights and provide actionable tips to help you achieve your marketing goals. Subscribe and stay tuned!

Subscribe Mastering Live Shopping for Your Ecommerce Website with Frost Li featured image

Mastering live shopping for your ecommerce website

In this episode:

Frost Li

Founder of Social Chat

Frost Li is the founder of Social Chat, a company enabling its clients to engage and convert customers through social live streams and personalized shopping experiences. She previously served as the GM and head of growth at Wish, where she and her team helped the company expand into the No. 1 shopping app in more than 40 countries.

Mastering Live Shopping for Your Ecommerce Website with Frost Li featured image

Full episode details

Discover how live shopping can increase conversions and AOV while reducing cart abandonment

On this episode of the GRIN Gets Real podcast, Frost and Katya discuss everything “live shopping.” From increasing conversion rates and reducing cart abandonment to incorporating influencers in the mix, Frost: lays out everything it takes to create a seamless live shopping experience.

Blur the line between in-person and online shopping.

Breakdown of the GRIN Gets Real podcast: Season 2, Episode 18

“Imagine we walk through a store, and wherever we want to try on something or ask some question, they say, “OK, I’ll respond to you within 24 hours.” We’re not going to buy, right? And that’s the experience online right now. We can change that.”

To get consumers to convert immediately, brands have to give them answers immediately. In this episode, Frost breaks down the tactics her brand uses to engage consumers and answer their questions before they even have a chance to ask them.  

In this episode, you will learn:

  • The benefits of live shopping and why it’s becoming so successful
  • The role social proof plays in live shopping
  • How to incorporate content from live events throughout the marketing funnel
  • How different generations view live shopping
  • The future of live shopping and how to hop on board the trend

 

Quotes from the episode

Mastering live shopping for your ecommerce website 1

“I guess the answer is it has to be organic based on a user’s action. And we show education and an interactive component when they show their indecision and their desire to learn more information. So to them, it is right there, and they want to get it instead of it being a forced action.”  

“A lot of successful brands are doing (live shopping events) on a weekly or biweekly basis. That keeps the content very fresh and also makes sure they have enough new customers. Even if there are no new products, one amazing thing is that we always have new customers. And they always want to learn more and engage with us. “

“It really comes down to content marketing and social proof. When we buy things in the market, I’ll see 50 people walk by, and they’ve all bought the same thing. I am also so influenced by people. So when we are at a live shopping event, and you see everyone buying this same color of lipstick, you think, ‘Hmm, maybe I should too.’” 

“I love numbers, so there can never be too many numbers. I want to know everything from where users are coming from and what kind of users convert the best to how they are engaging on the email marketing side. The good news is, when people attend live events, they always give you a real email, and they’re responsive. We usually see over a 50% open rate, which you almost never see in other marketing channels.”

Katya (intro):

Welcome to the Grin Gets Real podcast—a show for marketers, by marketers, to talk shop and share insights on the ever-changing landscape of the digital world. My name is Katya, and I am your host on this exciting journey as we talk to our experts who join us. 

 

My expert today was the GM and head of growth, where—as the company’s first growth hire—she built a team from scratch and helped Wish expand to be the No. 1 shopping app in over 40 counties with over 100 million active users. 

 

So, put your AirPods in, turn up that volume, and get ready for my guest today, Frost Li, founder of Social Chat. 

 

Katya: 

Frost, Welcome to the GRIN Gets Real podcast. I am excited to have you on, and I’m excited about our topic, live shopping.

 

Frost: 

Yeah. Thanks for having me. I’m excited for the conversation as well.

 

Katya:   

Absolutely. Well, let’s get started with having you share a little bit about yourself and just kind of your area of expertise. Lay the groundwork for our listeners before we dive into all things live shopping.

 

Frost:  

Absolutely. My name is Frost. I’m the founder of SocialChat. And we are a live shopping solution for ecommerce companies. I’ve been working in ecommerce and social media for the last 10 years for a lot of companies people know about, like Twitter, Pinterest, Wish, and a bunch of other companies.

 

Katya:   

I love it. And you’re very well versed in live shopping, not only because you started Social Chat, but before we had even gotten on, we started diving real deep into all things live shopping. And this is definitely one of the areas that I’m really passionate about because it’s something that I see more brands needing to do in the future to stay connected. 

 

But before we even dive into that part, I want to start with the basics. What is live shopping? And I know that may sound like a simple question, but what is live shopping? 

 

Frost:  

Yeah, absolutely. So just imagine we’re shopping in person. We can see that they move the product with the store sales representative really demoing how they pair different products together and how they use them. And we are just bringing components very naturally online. 

 

So you are shopping in a store instead of looking at the catalog. There is an expert really demoing all these different products with us. We can ask questions in real-time, get the answer, and then you can just directly shop with all the products. They are introducing us right there. 

 

So that’s why we call live shopping, not only because it’s live streaming, but also a live component into Q&A and other ways to interact. 

 

Katya:   

Yeah, and we’re definitely going to dig into the execution of live shopping. So why do you think that live shopping even works?

 

Frost:  

Because I think that is really just human nature. Right? So like, imagine, we shop, we want to see how this product is really used in practice. How do we prepare all this differently? Instead of just reading a catalog, we want interactions, to see how people use it, and to hear even other customers and experts in that area tell us why it works. 

 

So I think number one is really just human nature. And number two is to really let a user be able to make a decision right there. Instead of oh, they may email. They may DM someone on social media and have that delay of information. Sometimes this just makes users no longer interested, right? Imagine we walk through a store, and wherever we want to try on something or ask some question. They say, “OK, I’ll respond to you within 24 hours.” We’re not going to buy, right? And that’s the experience online right now. We can change that.

 

Katya:   

So when you’re talking about those interactions, does live shopping afford the opportunity for the consumer who is watching live to actually engage with the person who’s running the live shopping? What’s that level of engagement when you are going live?

 

Frost:  

Yeah, definitely. So it’s not only the person demoing the product, right? Just like in real life, even when we’re going to a store event where the person is demoing our different products. They need people to be able to ask questions. You have to have interactions and insert that. So that’s the same component for live shopping online. And thanks to technology, we can easily have real-time messaging just like how we are talking, and we’re not in the same location. So that just works the same way applied to shopping, so we don’t have to drive an hour away to go to a shop for people to have that level of interaction.

 

Katya:   

Yeah, and I’d love to hear your take on a good execution of live shopping. How long should it be? How many people should be there? When we talk about live shopping, I am picturing a rack of clothes, and then I’m pulling them from the rack, and I’m just showing you this product, and then I’m putting it down. It doesn’t feel very engaging. So I’m wondering, what’s a really good execution of a live shopping situation? How long should it be?

 

Frost:  

Yeah, I would love to share one of my personal experiences attending one of our partner’s live shopping. I really learned a lot. 

 

They are a skincare brand. And I’m obsessed with skincare. But I don’t always understand because I’m not a chemistry major. So I don’t really know all these amazing products with all these active ingredients. Some, I can only use two in a day, some of you only use a night, and some cannot be used together. 

 

So during that 30 to 45 minutes session, I learned not only about their product but also about how to take care of my skin. And that is a real win-win situation. Because the customers really get educated and have higher confidence in how to use the product well. So they see better results, become more loyal, and actually purchase a product that way. So I think that’s a really good example of showcasing the product, answering the questions, and rebuilding the relationship as well.

 

Katya:   

It’s almost like executing a live FAQ event with someone. Now, do you see that brands are more successful? Or I guess maybe it doesn’t matter if they’re more successful? I would imagine it depends on the product and the brands, but should I bring 10 different items to live shopping? Should it be themed? Have you seen a variety of different executions of a live shopping experience on a website?

 

Frost:  

Yes. So I’ve seen brands that only introduce one new product. And like we just said, they are explaining why this works and how it can be used in your daily life. 

 

So, for example, one of the brands we were just talking about came out with a new VR headset. And they were just introducing this headset and telling you how to pair it and how to do yoga with it, etc. So that really works out? Well, because your sister and I can use it not only for playing games. So there are a lot more customers. And I’ve also seen brands that launched the entire series of their spring collection. So I just attended one of them. They were showing me these 10 different popular sneakers of the spring, and I learned so much about how to pair sneakers with my different jeans. 

 

Katya:   

I think, from what I’m hearing you say, that it pairs well in that middle-of-funnel education stage of your customers. So if you’re trying to retarget people to go back to your website, this is a great way to educate them and engage with them on your website where they can purchase and then they can answer, or you as a brand can then answer a ton more questions. Now how would I mean would you say that’s accurate? All of that stuff? Like it’s really great for the middle of the funnel?

 

Frost:  

Absolutely. I also want to add one quick point, which is when we’re shopping in a store, sometimes it seems we have a salesperson just following us everywhere. This is subtle online because as people attend live shopping sessions, our machine learning model is actually listening quietly and non-intrusively. So we learn what that particular customer is most engaged with, which pages they are viewing, and what actions are taking. We retarget them when we follow up with all these personal approaches based on their interest level and their reaction. But it doesn’t feel like we are following them. So they feel fine.

 

Katya:   

It’s very sneaky.

 

Frost:  

Yeah, everyone likes to be personalized, but they don’t want that intense pressure.

 

Katya:   

Yeah, it’s the pressure. Like, I want to go to you if I have a question, and I think live shopping kind of gives you the ability to do that. And so far, we’re just talking about live shopping hosted on your website and gaining insights from that—especially the pandemic. It definitely shifted the way consumers shopped because we couldn’t go to a store. So I think we’ve shifted the way we’re thinking of it as well, too. 

 

So I’m kind of wondering, do you think that it is something that is here to stay—this shift to live shopping? Do you think this is always going to be a part of it that can really help brands reach out to a broader consumer base?

 

Frost:  

Yeah, it’s definitely here to stay for several different reasons. But I think one of the main reasons is the users actually really do gain expertise across the country. They really hear from the top experts instead of going to a local store, and they may or may not have the product in stock, and maybe the salesperson isn’t really an expert on the product. 

 

I will also say that I really don’t miss out on having to drive an hour to go shopping. You know, sometimes in Michigan, it’s, like, crazy snowy weather. I would rather just learn and buy online. And I bet most of the customers think the same.

 

Katya:   

You’re preaching to the choir. I’m an Instacart queen. Anything that can be delivered to my door, I want to be delivered to my door. And I think that’s also why I’m really passionate about live shopping to begin with. Because I also think, when I’m looking at the different generations and how they shop specifically, we’re tapping into this next generation, the Gen Zers. They are so familiar with, like, the digital landscape and want things fast and want to be able to still connect, have things fast, and have all the things answered. But do you think particular types of shoppers gravitate towards live shopping? Or do you think it’s an avenue for even the baby boomers?

 

Frost:  

Yeah, I love this question because one of our customers specifically sells an anti-aging product. And this is the cutest event ever: They invited one of their loyal customers who is 68 years old. And he was sharing how he now looks into the mirror way more often because of using their product. And I can tell you most of the participants were baby boomers, and they were so engaged. And they love, love, love the story he was telling. And that’s not something they would get when they go to a store.

 

Katya:   

That’s 100% true. And then you can share that story with the masses. If you were in the store, you might have one person who may run into that. I love to hear that it’s across generations because we have a huge consumer base, and I like to think that everybody can access technology and shop and take part in these types of things like live shopping. 

 

Now naturally, I always gravitate toward how I can implement influencer marketing. Or, can I ask my creator to be part of a live shopping event? Because it’s one thing if I’m trying on the clothes, but there’s another thing if I can bring on a couple of creator superfans, if you will (much like this gentleman that you were talking about), to co-host with me. What kind of benefits do you see to a brand to having or leveraging influencers and creators as co-hosts during the live shopping event?

 

Frost:  

So what I see are two major benefits when brands do that. One is when the influencer goes live with them as a co-host on the site, all the influencer’s following comes to the site instead of staying on the influencer’s Instagram account or YouTube. So for the brand, they can see the right user acquisition and the benefits of hiring this influencer. 

 

But the other amazing thing is that people want to hear the experts. They don’t just want to hear how the brands talk about it. They also want to hear things like, “Hey, you say you’re a fashion brand. I want to hear what this influencer who’s always sharing this outfit of the day says will pair your product.” Customers also want to hear about the quality of the product and how easy it is to take care of because a lot of brands talk specifically about how premium their quality is. 

 

Katya:   

You want to talk to someone who has actually washed it and can tell you what it feels like and looks like after the wash.

 

How long is a typical live shopping? Do you see that there’s a sweet spot in the length of that live shopping event?

 

Frost:  

Yeah, I think it’s usually the best around 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the brand. It’s actually, interestingly, the same length when we go to a store. And that’s because users aren’t always there for the first minute. Making it longer means people can jump in and engage at different moments. 

 

Katya:

Now, do you find it’s hard for people to engage? How much engagement is there during a live shopping event?

 

Frost:

Number one, we actually get so many engagements from users. Sometimes a user might not want to show their face or have someone hear their voice, but they’ll have no problem just typing in a comment. And that kind of makes sense because a lot of users are shy. They want their question to be answered, but they don’t want to show their face, which is fine. 

 

But in terms of how we encourage users to engage, I found a few ways that are very organic. So as they are talking through different products, they are actually answering their most frequently asked questions on their brand website and online forums already. So when they are talking about this, usually the customers will have a similar question but with a twist. 

 

Another thing that triggers users to ask questions is by going through the brand use cases. That makes the users feel like, “Yes, that is me. And that is the one concern I have before I hit the ‘buy now’ button.”

 

Katya:

I love it. So we have been talking about shopping on a website. What are your thoughts on live shopping on social media? Because now, every social media platform has a live shopping option. What do you think is more beneficial? Website or social media?

 

Frost::

I think one component has to be what it is that makes the user feel the right relationship with the brand. To me, I always feel that bringing the user to your website has so many benefits. Number one, they are in the environment of your brand. So when they register, that is the account with your brand so that you can follow up so much easier. 

 

Number two is they really recognize this is the product of the brand. The brand recognition is out there, and it is very easy to check out on the site. Every relationship is with the brand. It’s like, in retail, the difference between someone buying it in your store versus someone buying it at a department store. It just feels different because they are buying your product, but the brand association and the loyalty aren’t there. It’s very different. 

 

But I do love all these trends of live shopping across the board. That’s always better than not doing it, and I’m always a big advocate of really bridging the experience with users. But I feel to hit home, we do need to bring them back to the store.

 

Katya:

To your point, if you’re a brand that is trying to build up your brand equity, you don’t want to be just another item on the shelf or on the rack. You really want to build that equity and drive people to your website. 

 

So what should my website look like then? Because if I’m an ecommerce brand, maybe I’m not as focused on building out that website as robustly as I should. Maybe I’m not known, or my website isn’t known as a site where you can find education and do live events. What are the basics for a website that creates a good environment for a live shopping event?

 

Frost:

I think it just has to be organic. So when users discuss your product, or they seem unsure based on their behavior, we reach out and ask if they would like to learn more. As you are clicking through between different pages and decide, we’ll maybe ask them if they want to hear about the difference between these two different products. 

 

I guess the answer is it has to be organic based on a user’s action. And we show education and an interactive component when they show their indecision and desire to learn more information. So to them, it is right there, and they want to get it instead of it being a forced action.  

 

Katya:

How do I promote a live shopping event?

 

Frost:

Just in the same organic way like how we do content marketing. All the organic ways I was talking about on the website and then also on your social media. Tell people you have a new product and ask if they would like to learn more. There is a product page, and there is a live Q&A where they can come, learn, and decide if that’s for you. And we’ve actually seen really good conversions with this from a branding perspective of the product. 

 

Katya:

And how often should I do live shopping? Or does it just depend?

 

Frost:

A lot of successful brands are doing it on a weekly or biweekly basis. That keeps the content very fresh and also makes sure they have enough new customers. Even if there are no new products, one amazing thing is that we always have new customers. And they always want to learn more and engage with us. 

 

Katya:

Do you recommend that brands repurpose that live event? Then maybe push it out to social or maybe the marketing newsletter?

 

Frost:

Absolutely. All of the content from these events gets recommended to prospects throughout the whole consumer journey. Because now we know which kinds of users like this content the most and what content is most relevant to which product. So with higher confidence, we know where to promote it. And it’s still really good educational content even though it isn’t live anymore. 

 

Katya:

I am such a big fan of that. I love repurposing content because you can’t always guarantee that the audience you want it to reach is going to be there at the same place and at the same time, so you might as well take that great content and serve it up because it’s still useful. 

 

And I really appreciate the strategy of running live shopping on a weekly basis because you’re right; it does need to be fresh. It can’t be stuff from six months ago because we are in a totally different season in six months. 

 

So do you think the reason live shopping can increase your conversion rate is that people are actually on your website and not leaving? 

 

Frost:

I think there are a few reasons why it is very important. One, if I were a new user coming to a new brand, I don’t really know why I should buy it. So you have about two minutes to convince this customer this is the right place to be. So we found out that once we detect the customer is not really interested within that very first minute, inviting them to a live event in the future really makes the conversion rate higher. So that’s how we save the users who are about to bounce. 

 

It really comes down to content marketing and social proof. When we buy things in the market, I’ll see 50 people walk by, and they’ve all bought the same thing. I am so influenced by people. So when we are at a live shopping event, and you see everyone buying this same color of lipstick, you think, “Hmm, maybe I should too.” 

 

Katya:

I would assume that not everyone is sitting there for the entire 60 minutes when you have a live event. Maybe they are, but do you have a baseline for, on average, a good amount of time that people should be staying on the stream?

 

Frost:

I think it really differs when you talk about Gen Z and people who are retired and have time and want more information before they make a decision. What really makes a difference is really not the amount of time they were there, but the concurrent people who were there at a time and could see how others were making the shopping decisions. That’s what really converts. 

 

Katya:

How much, from an analytics standpoint, am I getting from implementing a live shopping strategy on my website?

 

Frost:

I love numbers, so there can never be too many numbers. I want to go all the way from where users are coming from and what kind of users convert best to how they are engaging on the email marketing side. The good news is, when people attend live events, they always give you a real email, and they open it. We usually see over a 50% open rate, which you almost never see in other marketing channels. 

 

Katya:

Yes, I think that’s what I gravitate toward. I mean, I’m going to need all the information. And if I have 10 items I’m showing, when did I have the majority of my audience? Is that what I should use the next time to structure my next live shopping? I am all about data and what works for me and my brand. And that’s the advice I give to other brands too. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. Compare yourself to yourself. 

 

Now for sure, this is the last question. It’s prediction time. How do you see live shopping evolving over the next year?

 

Frost:

I think it’s going to be huge. Over the last two years, live shopping has been growing more than double year over year, and I only see it getting bigger. The customers want it, and also, the brands are seeking new ways to do marketing.

 

Katya:

I love it. Well, thank you so much for coming to chat with us about live shopping. I was not kidding; I could totally geek out on this. I think it’s the new frontier. Thank you so much; I really appreciate your time.  

 

Frost:

Thank you so much. It was a really fun conversation. Thanks for having me. 

 

Katya (outro):

So clearly, I am obsessed with live shopping, especially from a brand perspective. The opportunity to really engage with consumers on the website provides value through education, and creating a positive experience is, to me, a no-brainer. 

 

The only thing that could really take it to the next level is (you guessed it) creators—whether they are hosting it on your site with you or they’re executing it for you. 

 

I think another thing that really stood out was how long live shopping events are. Thirty minutes I get, but the thought of filling 60 minutes with products and engagement is extremely impressive. I am going to have to start attending more of those events (no one tell my husband) to really get a peek at what’s working for these brands that are implementing live shopping strategies. 

 

Want to hear more? Be sure to subscribe to the GRIN Gets Real podcast to get the latest episode. And give us some stars. I wouldn’t mind five of them. And leave us a review!

 

Connect with me on social. You can find me on LinkedIn—just look up Katya Allison. And if you are interested in learning more about GRIN, you can check us out on grin.co

 

Until next time, keep grinning!

All-in-one creator management platform helping ecommerce companies build more valuable brands through the power of creator partnerships.

© Grin Technologies Inc. 2022. All rights reserved.

Introducing
GRIN's Discovery Suite

Discover

Supercharge Your
Influencer Discovery Efforts

GRIN favicon
Get started

GRIN's NEW
Discovery Suite

Supercharge Your Influencer Discovery Efforts

GRIN's NEW
Discovery Suite

Introducing

GRIN's

Discovery Suite

Compare the Time of a Manual Process vs. GRIN

Compare the Time of a Manual Process vs. GRIN

GRIN favicon

GRIN + Uber Case Study

How did one person build Uber's robust TikTok community from scratch?

Find out here

+

Uber logo

Introducing GRIN
Professional Services

Our team of experts is ready to drive the results you need.

Learn more