Fashion shows on the beach? Swedish apparel brand Lindex knew its shoppers would be interested in attending, even if it was just via a livestream.
And the high-fashion apparel brand was right. The May 2021 livestream shopping event was its most successful event to date, with twice as many viewers than its average tune-in rate, the merchant says. The fashion show debuted the merchant’s spring collection, which was all available for sale on its website. Lindex generated a 55% add-to-cart rate, meaning for every 100 shoppers watching the livestream, 55 items were added to any number of consumer shopping carts. (Shoppers could have added more than one item.)
This livestream shopping event was one of the fashion brand’s most recent events after a year of fine-tuning its program. The retail chain, which sells in 19 countries primarily in Europe, knew it needed to get creative to connect with shoppers during the pandemic, says Susanna Antonini, influencer marketing manager at Lindex.
The coronavirus started widely spreading in Europe in Q1 of 2020, causing many retail stores to close, including the roughly 500 Lindex stores. That means the merchant had to rely heavily on its ecommerce store, which it launched in 2007, but it only generates a single-digit percentage of its overall sales, Antonini says. While Lindex had considered livestream shopping events before, the pandemic was the push it needed to put these thoughts into action.
In March 2020, it chose livestreaming vendor Bambuser to provide the technology for livestream shopping. It took less than two weeks for Bambuser to integrate its technology on Lindex.com, where the livestreams are broadcast. Plus, within the past month, Bambuser added a new feature so Lindex can now have its website livestream simultaneously stream on its social media pages.
Its first livestream was in May 2020, and it has since livestreamed one to two shows per month. The retailer plans to continue this cadence into 2021, Antonini says. Even though its stores are reopened, Lindex finds that the livestream shows are a good way to interact with its consumers.
Over the past few months, Lindex has found that livestreams with influencers answering audience questions live produce the best results in terms of engagement. Lindex also makes its livestreams a highly produced event with quality lights. For example, Lindex’s May 2021 event that was in front of a beach—which was actually a green screen.
For example, it encourages its influencer hosts to answer audience questions, be spontaneous and take shoppers behind the scenes of an event. The livestream hosts have smartphones where they can read audience questions and respond to them in real time. Lindex has an off-camera moderator that sends the best questions to the talent. Typical questions are asking about garment size availability and height of the models on the livestream, so shoppers can gauge the size of the garment against themselves, Antonini says.
Overall for its livestreams in 2020 and 2021, Antonini says on average a few thousand consumers tune into Lindex’s livestream shows. Bambuser says that on average for its fashion clients, 8% of consumers who watch the livestream add a product to their cart, and the Lindex livestream average add-to-cart rate is higher than this 8%, says Antonini without reveling the exact rate. Bambuser has about 100 fashion clients that use its technology, which powered 3,000 livestreams in Q1 2021, the vendor says.
When a livestream viewer adds a product to her cart and goes to checkout, the checkout occurs on Lindex.com, so the merchant still has all of the access to its data, says Sophie Abrahamsson, chief commercial officer at Bambuser.
Audience engagement is key for livestreams
While Antonini says sales attached to the livestream are important, Lindex’s main goal for its return on its investment is to “increase inspiration,” which it measures with viewers watching and interacting during shows, such as making comments or asking questions.
“Increasing inspiration is our most important goal for live shopping,” Antonini says.
Shopper interaction is a key way retailers can make their livestreams engaging, says Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of retail research firm Coresight Research.
“Livestreaming is becoming an essential marketing tool for brands and retailers as it provides interactive content in real time, directly engaging consumers,” Weinswig says. “Alongside the consumer shift to ecommerce amid the COVID-19 pandemic, shoppers are looking for entertainment and social interaction as they spend more time at home.”
Coresight estimates that U.S. online livestreaming sales reached $6 billion in 2020, will grow to $11 billion in 2021 and reach $25 billion by 2023.
“Up until most recently, most of the major brands livestreaming in the U.S. have been in the beauty and fashion categories. The recent entrants—Macy’s, Walmart and Nordstrom—were a major turning point for livestreaming and a signal to the industry—livestreaming is here to stay,” Weinswig says. “We expect more brands and retailers to move very quickly on the livestreaming trend.”
Livestream shopping is still catching on with U.S. consumers. Only 5% of online apparel shoppers say they watch livestreams on social media, according to a May 2021 Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights survey of 1,049 online consumers.
Lindex lets consumers know when it is having a livestream event by advertising it on Facebook, Instagram and in its email marketing.
Bambuser has several pricing plans per clients, with its most basic page starting at $599 per month, the vendor says.
Antonini wouldn’t say how much it pays for Bambuser, but says it does not take up a large share of its budget. It does, however, consume a lot of resources in terms of people’s time, Antonini says. For example, to produce a livestream event, Lindex taps its digital graphics team, public relations team, social media team and more.