Bambuser Academy
November 2022

The 10 Biggest Mistakes in Live Shopping

Live Shopping can drive amazing results with sales, traffic, engagement and customer loyalty, but we see lots of brands using One-to-Many make common mistakes that ruin their Live Shopping performance.

To help you avoid these mistakes, the Bambuser Academy team has used their experience in training the world’s top Live Shopping hosts to put together this helpful list of the 10 biggest mistakes in Live Shopping and detailing how you can avoid them.


1. Going too broad

There’s a saying in influencer culture: “If you try to be relevant to everyone, you’re relevant to no one”. This definitely applies in the world of Live Shopping.

If you’re aiming for conversion, most brands cannot fit more than a select few, relevant topics into one Live Shopping event and keep every customer engaged. Unless the theme is inspiration, showcasing a broad range of themes with a clear title, showing too many products will result in a muddy message. When Live Shopping events are unclear, viewers will probably tune out and ultimately not purchase anything.

What to do instead:
To start making sales, we suggest angling your content and the products shown to one specific target group at a time. This method of creating more niche events tends to be more impactful and commercially successful because you’ll connect the right event with the right audience. Your customers will be more likely to tune in and make purchases if they feel what you’re showcasing is relevant to them, and they’ll also be more likely to return for more great guidance.For example, skincare brands shouldn’t go live with a single Live Shopping event titled, “How to create a skincare routine”. Instead, they should create a series of events catering to different skin types like dry skin, oily skin, sensitive skin, breakout-prone skin, mature skin, etc.

“Just remember – people want to join a party that’s already in full swing!”

#2 Waiting for viewers


Here at Bambuser Academy we’ve mentioned this a number of times before, but we still see hosts making this mistake of spending the first few minutes of a Live Shopping event making small talk while waiting for people to join. It could well be hurting your results. Why? Because in today’s media landscape, people’s attention span is shorter than ever. If they have to wait for you to get going and they can see your host stalling, they are very likely to bounce.

What to do instead:

Just remember – people want to join a party that’s already in full swing! So, when you first go live, dive in instantly with your talking points and products. Instead of not engaging your audience while you wait for the viewing figures to rise, spend the first 30 seconds giving a quick introduction to the topic and the main benefits and takeaways the audience can look forward to.

You can always repeat guidance on how to shop for newcomers joining the stream later and it’s worth bearing in mind that a good percentage of views will most likely come on-demand once you host the show as recorded on your site, making the wait time pretty useless.

#3 Including too many products

This mistake is very tempting because you spend a lot of time planning your Live Shopping events and want to show off all your products. But, our data tells us time and time again that it’s important to narrow down your product selection in your livestreams. This is primarily due to “the paradox of choice”, which is the familiar feeling of not being able to make a decision when faced with too many options. The consequence is your audience ends up not converting.

What to do instead:
We recommend you include a maximum of 15 SKUs in a 30-minute event. View your Live Shopping channel as a series of curated events where you – the expert – narrow your assortment down to a certain selection specifically designed to meet your target audience’s needs.

Angled content with a smaller selection of products catering to a certain customer segment tends to perform a lot better than broader content. The more niche events are hyper relevant whereas the broader events might not catch anyone’s attention because they’re too vague in their offerings.

#4 Blowing your budget


Big budget events can generate huge payoffs for brands with established Live Shopping channels and keen customers, but a very common mistake we see many brands make – especially when starting out with Live Shopping – is blowing the whole budget on just one event.

Big, expensive events are simply not optimal when trying to build a new sales channel because they’re not sustainable in the long run and they put a lot of pressure on you to get a positive ROI from day one. Live Shopping expertise takes time to build, so your first event is likely not going to be your best.

What to do instead:

We recommend you split your budget into a series of smaller-scale shows. As mentioned above, multiple events with varying themes and products tend to perform better, and the lessons you learn about your customers by hosting multiple shows are invaluable.

Big Live Shopping events with big budgets will of course come up from time to time. For product launches, strategic communications and even brand ambassador visits, you should of course go full throttle, but it’s important to build a profitable sales channel in your day-to-day streams first.

Need extra guidance on how to split up your budget? Bambuser Plus’ production team is happy to help you out. Just reach out to your Customer Success Manager.

“A good host trainer will work with your host to emphasize their strengths and help them stand out on screen”

#5 Untrained hosts

At Bambuser we like to say that viewers are drawn in by an event’s headline and decide to join because of the content, but it's the host that makes them stay and shop. So, whoever you choose needs to be up to the task.

We understand it’s a complicated issue because the skill set required to host a Live Shopping event is relatively new, but we’ve determined that hosts need to be charismatic enough but not cocky or unrelatable, have a deep understanding of the products on the screen, understand how to weave a narrative for viewers to follow and constantly engage with viewers commenting in the chat and guests on screen.
It’s a lot to juggle and requires a good deal of preparation but unfortunately, we see lots of brands forget the importance of a good host, or they let good hosts go live unprepared.

What to do instead:

First of all, make sure you write out a script or at least structure, brief everyone involved and stick to the plan. This way it’s clear to the host what’s happening and when. You could highlight your main points using bullets instead of blocks of text, writing from a first-person perspective and allowing your host to add their favorite expressions to the script.

We also highly recommend that you allow the host to inject their own character to be much more natural and authentic on screen.

Investing in host training is also hugely beneficial. There are a lot of best practices to learn for a Live Shopping host like the certain ways to use CTAs and the timings that make them more effective. Training can also help a host to emphasize their strengths to stand out on screen and generate better conversion.

Luckily, Bambuser Academy offers tailored host training to prepare for shows or give feedback on previous work. Get in touch here or reach out to your Customer Success Manager to facilitate contact.

#6 Forgetting a storyline


A good Live Shopping event should guide the audience through everything in your brand’s universe from products to ethos, in a logical and valuable way. Mentioning products in a randomized, linear order is not going to have enough of an impact for your viewers to get them to shop.

A lack of structure and story line fails to contextualize why a given product is valuable to that particular audience.

What to do instead:

Spend some time developing your content. If you’re speaking about a range of products, are there any similarities you can use to build a native story line on? Maybe a common benefit?

In order to convert efficiently, your Live Shopping events need to be both entertaining and valuable in an educational sense. Your story lines can be anything you want: guides, interviews, tutorials - you can even rely on social media trends for structure.

“The influencer has been briefed in advance, receiving a script including time stamps for products”

#7 Relying on big names for success

This one may come as a bit of a surprise because it’s usually a best practice, but relying on a big name to drive traffic and conversion might not be working for you because it’s executed right.

Remember that influencers usually specialize in certain topics and their dedicated audience won’t respond if the topic isn’t something they were expecting. It’s also not a given that the influencer will perform well for the first time with Live Shopping if they’re not used to the media. Both mistakes can leave you with disappointing numbers both when it comes to traffic and conversion.

What to do instead:
We love influencers at Bambuser and a lot of our clients see amazing results when working with them, but the most successful clients have very specific ways of leveraging talent.

First, they never expect the influencer to carry the whole show. Usually they team the influencer up with an in-house brand expert to conduct more of an “interview” with the influencer to extract their knowledge and reveal their honest opinions and experiences.
This allows the influencer to relax in the livestream setting because they don’t need to know everything about the brand or their products. The questions they can’t answer can be directed to the in-house expert to answer, keeping things flowing and making sure there are no gaps in knowledge.

The most successful influencer shows are prepared well. The influencer has been briefed in advance, receiving a script with timestamps for products, main talking points and questions they will be asked during the video. A dry run on set is also a sure way to prepare for a smooth delivery.

Lastly, the influencer’s name is of course used to create buzz around the show, but shouldn’t be exclusively relied on to drive traffic. It can be difficult to get an audience to switch from one platform to another, so make sure you have the right infrastructure on your website to catch any leads and activate your own channels to promote the show as well.

#8 Relying on discounts

This one should make you very happy to hear. You don’t have to rely heavily on discounts to convert with Live Shopping! Even though your customers probably love a good discount, it’s not sustainable to be constantly running sales.

What to do instead:
Instead, focus on delivering value in other ways. Your Live Shopping content should be so good that it can be viewed as a stand-alone content piece on par with all your other content.

“Value” looks different depending on context, audience and brand. It could be access to exclusive expertise or knowledge. It could be inspiration, early access to products or even just great fun and entertainment. Adopting a highly customer-centric approach to your Live Shopping events ensures that your audience will find value and make purchases with discounts.

Of course promotions can be used strategically to boost sales even more, but we do have a tendency to become lazy with our content when we offer discounts because we expect them to carry the whole show.

#9 Expecting a revenue stream after one show

Another important point brands tend to forget is that building any sales channel takes time, and the same goes for Live Shopping. No one can build a brand, ecom site or social media following overnight, it takes time. 

One of the pillars of success in Live Shopping is frequency. You have to teach your audience that they can expect to see new content from you regularly in order to get the best results. You may have a super successful first show, but that alone probably won’t give you the ROI you are looking for. 

What to do instead:
Instead, plan out as many Live Shopping events as you can. The frequency of your events will of course vary from industry to industry and business to business, but the rule of thumb is, more is more.

Going live more often allows you to gain valuable expertise, educate your audience, experiment and support the rest of your business in general. A good tip is to try doubling your event frequency, and host at least 10 before drawing any conclusions about their effectiveness. 

For example, if you’ve calculated going live once every quarter with a big show, aim for a monthly one instead. This will get you to success much faster and reveal the best work processes going forward.

#10 Not defining KPIs

The last common Live Shopping mistake in the list is not defining your KPIs. It’s of course crucial to know what your success factors are for any given show. 

It’s notoriously difficult to forecast sales from a Live Shopping event if you’re just starting out, so in the beginning we advise to test the waters to get a sense of what you can expect in the future.

However, if you’re well into your Live Shopping journey, it’s time to dive into the numbers!

What to do instead:
There are many KPIs in Live Shopping depending on what the aim of the event is. Watch time, engagement, reach and conversion are some of the most common. We recommend you take a look at numbers like average order value and average viewer value. This will help you calculate the point at which you break even, considering all your costs associated with going live. 

When you know exactly what to measure, you can start to optimize and then things start to get really fun! You can start setting goals like reaching an AOV that is 20% higher than your ecom site, which is absolutely achievable.

Remember that your KPIs will look different from event to event. A product launch may be more about reach, a guide more about viewing time and conversion, and an influencer event more about engagement. 

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