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In a online shopping market that is driven to capture audiences and engage customers, it is not at all surprising that livestream selling is taking off, with brands eagerly willing to explore how they can capitalize on it.

According to Statista, 35% of shoppers admit to making a purchase after watching a brand’s livestream.

And this is where a new dilemma arises that brands need to answer every time they conduct a live selling event: who is their ideal live shopping host?

The two most likely options for live shopping hosting duties are influencers and in-house experts. Influencers bring a solid viewer-base and exude a unique charm, whereas in-house experts bring a profound knowledge of the brand and its products and services.

So, who must a brand consider when choosing the next live shopping host? Here are some factors they might want to look at before making a call.

1. The pick for live shopping host should reflect target demographics

Before a livestream can be hosted, brands need to ask the question: who is my target audience, and – more importantly – what age group am I catering to?

Research suggests that 47% of Americans making live shopping purchases belong to the 19-25 age bracket. If Millennials and Gen Z make up the primary audience, it would be better for brands to choose influencers and social media celebrities who have a better connection with these groups, rather than a brand spokesperson they don’t interact with.

age of the target audience should be considered when picking a live shopping host

Taking an in-depth look at the consumer buying behavior listed by Statista, even if a brand’s target audience is not in the 19-25 bracket, choose a host that appeals to the lower end of the age bracket.

Apart from age, other demographic factors like geography, gender, or race can also help decide the right livestream shopping host. For specific audiences, brands have a more diverse pool to choose from if they go with the influencer option. For example, chefs and culinary experts qualify as exciting live shopping event hosts for food and beverage brands.

2. The host should be an extension of the brand identity

A successful livestream shopping host is an extension of the brand’s identity. They interact as brand representatives, and thus, a lot rides on them and their performance. An influencer might pull it off once in a while, but brands should not shy away from playing it safe and looking within their organizations.

Beachwaver, makers and retailers of haircare and hairstyling tools and products, opted for an in-house stylist to demonstrate their products and talk about tips for hairstyling to give their Valentine’s Day sale a boost. The event largely succeeded because the focus stayed on the delivering the right product information, from the right source.

age of the target audience should be considered when picking a live shopping host

Having an in-house stylist as the host allowed for a better showcase of Beachwaver’s products.

Among other in-house experts, brands can count on their marketing professionals and even founders to make the brand feel a lot more relatable. In addition, their insights can help customers connect with the brand on a more personal and human level during a livestream shopping event.

If brands opt for influencers, they should ensure these individuals strongly embody the brand’s identity and values.

3. Keep the overarching goals of the live shopping event in mind

Remember that not every brand is hosting a live shopping event purely for the conversions. Other KPIs are also involved, and those metrics play a crucial role in deciding who the next livestream shopping host will be.

Brands trying to leverage high traffic and engagement rates benefit from influencers who already have a massive following on social media channels. One could take a page from Aldo, as the brand noted a 300% increase in engagement rate and a 12-minute average watch length after roping in celebrity stylist duo Nate Wyatt and Mimi Cartell.

Staying in the fashion industry, Gucci had different goals for its live video shopping event. They enabled online sales by having the store staff connect with customers and guide them about product details, becoming the first luxury brand to do so.

On a different note, Natori live shopping hosts vary based on the agenda for the day. Their live video shopping is hosted by either their two founders (Ken and Josie) when they need to provide information about their products, or by influencers when they require a model to show off their clothing range.

Natori bringing in influencers as live shopping hosts

Natori had influencer EngieStyle come in to host a live shopping event.

4. Is the cost of having someone host a live online store justified?

Most of the time, the overall cost of planning and executing a livestream becomes THE deciding factor for choosing the host. Most brands would want to break even, at the very least, when conducting livestream shopping events. After all, livestreams aren’t necessarily cheap affairs. Thus, there is a multifaceted cost dimension to consider when selecting a host.

  1. Does the budget allow for a tie-up with and managing an influencer?
  2. In the case of a commission-based deal, is it profitable enough for the brand to invest?
  3. Does the influencer also cover production costs, thereby eliminating additional expense and logistics for the brand?

With in-house experts (who are already on the payroll), would it better to spend the budget on marketing the live video shopping event to draw maximum attention to it? For example, in place of an influencer, a brand could advertise the livestream shopping events on various social media channels.

With a rational consideration of costs and returns, it is efficient to plan an event around the right livestream host.

associate livestreaming from a shoe store

5. A/B test your livestream shopping host (if possible)

Whether hosted by influencers or in-house experts, livestream shopping events are ultimately focused on shoppertainment. The best way to determine who is more successful is by A/B testing between the two, provided the brand’s budget allows for the same (most leading brands can certainly afford to). While the benefits of having either an influencer or an in-house expert playing host are undeniable, being flexible about choosing between the two will be imperative.

By A/B testing, brands can also determine the right livestream host for their future events in a more scientific way, preventing a waste of effort and resources.

The wrap up

Choosing a livestream host can be a make or break point for the event’s success, and thus, it should not be taken lightly. A pro tip that helps in planning successful livestream events: Select the host first, and then plan the whole event around the host, spreading the word accordingly.

Finally, with all the considerations that require attention, the last thing you need is the pressure of navigating the tech-side of a managing a livestream event. At Firework, our livestream shopping solutions make it easy for you by managing the tech heavy-lifting while your team can focus on creativity and strategy. In fact, our in-house experts are trained to help you out on that front too! So give your brand’s live shopping efforts the boost it needs with Firework.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a live video shopping experience, and why is it becoming popular among businesses and consumers? Plus-icon

A live video shopping experience is a real-time online shopping event that allows businesses to engage with their audience and showcase products or services through a video stream. They are becoming popular among businesses and consumers because they offer a unique and interactive shopping experience.

What are the advantages of using an in-house expert as a live video shopping host, and how can businesses identify the best candidate for the role? Plus-icon

Using an in-house expert as a live video shopping host can help businesses showcase their knowledge and expertise, and build credibility and trust with their audience. The best candidate for the role may be a subject matter expert, a product manager, or a customer service representative who has excellent command over the product and possess good communication skills.

What qualities should businesses look for in a live video shopping host, whether an influencer or an in-house expert? Plus-icon

The qualities that businesses should look for in a live video shopping host include strong communication skills, charisma and personality, deep knowledge of the products or services being offered, and the ability to engage and interact with the audience.

How can businesses measure the success of their live video shopping experience, and what metrics should they track? Plus-icon

Businesses can measure the success of their live video shopping experience by tracking metrics like viewer engagement, audience reach, conversion rates, and revenue generated from the event.

What are some common mistakes businesses make when choosing a live video shopping host, and how can they avoid them? Plus-icon

Common mistakes businesses make when choosing a live video shopping host include selecting the wrong type of host, failing to prepare the host adequately, and neglecting to promote the event effectively. To avoid these mistakes, businesses should do their research, plan carefully, use data and feedback to refine their approach, and be open to experimentation and iteration to find the right formula for their brand.

How can businesses use live video shopping experiences to build brand loyalty and drive sales, regardless of whether they use an influencer or an in-house expert? Plus-icon

Live video shopping experiences can be used to build brand loyalty and drive sales by engaging with customers in a more personal and interactive way, creating a sense of exclusivity and urgency, and providing valuable information and insights about products or services.

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