3 Steps For Live Shopping Success With Carmen Muley

TLEP 44 | Live Shopping Success


Special guest Carmen Muley is a livestreaming pioneer. She is CEO at FREIM Studio, which is everything livestreaming and live shopping. From strategy to training, to production and execution as well as sourcing, training and management of KOLs. She is also the Founder and CEO at Izzy Agency. Her background is in live and social commerce for brands, eCommerce companies and digital marketing agencies that want to learn about the latest trends and strategies.

Hear perspectives on the latest rumors about live shopping. Learn about Carmen’s experience as a host in China for the first ever AliExpress 11/11 (Single’s Day) shopping festival for Spain and LATAM back in 2016. Discover why marketing is vital to the success of a live shopping event. Find out the differences between livestreaming in China, UK, the US, and Latin markets. Get tips on setting expectations for sales and results from a live event. Gain an understanding of how to select an effective host. Uncover Carmen’s three steps for success to get results and get encouragement if you’re feeling hesitant about doing shopping events.


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3 Steps For Live Shopping Success With Carmen Muley

Our special guest is Carmen Muley, who is a live-streaming pioneer. She is the CEO of FREIM Studio, which is everything live streaming and live shopping, from strategy to training to production and execution, as well as sourcing and training management of KOLs. She’s also the Founder and CEO of Izzy Agency, which does merchandise. I saw some things about China, eCommerce, online business, fashion, and luxury events. I would love to hear more about that from you, Carmen.

In this episode, we are going to dig into a lot of different things, our perspectives on live shopping as usual, social, commerce, and ways that brands, content creators, companies, and digital marketing agencies can learn more about the latest eCommerce trends and strategies, and how to implement that in 2022 and beyond.

If you can believe it, we only have a few more months of this year. We can talk about things that we may expect for next year too and looking forward to hearing all of your thoughts on that, Carmen. Before we get into that, Nicolas, I know you have a few things to share about what’s going on over at eStreamly, and that will lead into our conversation with Carmen too. There are some timely things that have been happening since early September. What do you have for us?

First of all, thank you, everyone. We are so excited to have you, Carmen. It’s going to be a fun conversation. I wanted to remind the audience that we have this free program going on, the Get Live Ready for the Holidays. It’s a three-month program where we go with you through a couple of trainings. We’ll have partners coming along who will chat with you about the marketing and all the different aspects of doing your own life if you decide to do it by yourself. That’s going on. You can go to eStreamly.com and register there.

Out of the plug per se, I wanted to start asking. Everyone has seen in the news the ones at least that are following actively live shopping that there was this big news coming up that has been on social that Facebook and Instagram were pulling off live shopping altogether. The news was published on Tuesday.

To be mindful of which Tuesday, that was Tuesday, the 6th of September.

Thank you for saying that. It reminded me that there was very similar news going on on the TikTok side where people were saying, “TikTok is pulling off.” The media took on that to say, “Live shopping is going away. People are not converting. No brands are doing it. It’s dying and everything.” I have a weird feeling that all this narrative is fake news. I had a couple of creators that I talked to that told me, “It’s not the case. We’ve got reached out by Meta on Thursday.” I found it very interesting, all the dynamics. You’ve been in this space. I’d love to hear what you have to say about that.

First of all, thank you for having me. It’s a pleasure being here. While I have something to say about this news, they don’t make sense at all. Seriously, if you belong to the live-streaming shopping space, you know that this is something that is only growing. Where is this news coming from? Seriously, I think it comes only from people who don’t know anything about the industry. Live shopping, as I said, is only growing. We can leave those people there. They can share the fake news all the time. TikTok Shop’s not going to stop. That is for sure. They keep developing their live shop. The only thing is that maybe it’s a slower process now, but it’s fine. Sometimes, companies need to step back so that they can move forward faster later, and that’s fine.

If you belong to the livestreaming shopping space, you know that this is something that is only growing. Share on X

In terms of Facebook live shopping, that is also fine because they’re only shopping within their own Facebook app, but then they’re going to be doing live shopping as well in different applications. Are they really stopping live shopping? I don’t think so. Same thing with Instagram. I believe they’re going to be developing more live shopping features.

I understand that they need to rethink what they’re doing because Instagram is changing, but that doesn’t mean that live shopping is going to stop. There are so many other ways as well that we can still do live shopping. For example, on YouTube, on Pinterest TV, and as well on websites. Saying that live shopping is a bad thing is total bullshit.

What we’re seeing, at least in the US market, is the adoption may not be as obvious by a lot of brands. I see conversations with brands looking at each other, “Who is doing it? How are they doing it? What’s the GMV? How are the results going?” I feel that there’s this conversation going on. It’s very easy for the media to step on and make a whole story around it.

I’d love to go into the conversation. You have been a pioneer in the live shopping space. I know that you have an office in China, and you’ve been well involved in everything live shopping over there. I know that you were also the very first AliExpress, the Single’s Day live shopping in Spain in that time back in 2016. I’d love for you to share your thoughts and your experience about those events. How do you feel from that time to now, what has evolved? What has changed? I’d love to hear your perspective on that.

That is right. The first time that I got involved with live shopping was back on 11/11 of 2016. That’s a while back now. I was one of the hosts at the first ever 11/11 shopping show by AliExpress. I need to say that things have evolved a lot. For example, at that time, we as hosts were not able to interact directly with the audience. Now, on a live show, you can talk directly to the people who are watching your show. That’s a great improvement because you can have that conversation going.

TLEP 44 | Live Shopping Success
Live Shopping Success: On a live show, you can talk directly to the people who are watching, which is a great improvement because you can keep that conversation going.

Before, in 2016, you could just act out the whole show. You would have something prepared, you would do it, and then people would see everything that’s happening. They will still get the discount codes. They will still have somebody chatting with them, but it would not be the host directly. We have improved a lot in that aspect.

It sounds like a lot of technological improvement around the technology itself and the ability to interact in a direct manner from the host to the audience. I wonder, from the side of the brand, if you’ve seen some drastic changes when they came to you in 2016. If you could share the context there, do you feel that expectations have changed from that early on to when they’re coming now? How would you compare those things?

What happens as well is that Chinese brands just like trying things out. They don’t start with such high expectations. They try things out, see what’s up here, see what they can do, and then they just build from there. For us, we already have the expectation. “This is my first show. I want to sell everything. Maybe I don’t even prepare properly for the show, but I want to make sure that I just sell.” Things don’t work like that.

Chinese people have a different behavior as people themselves and then as consumers. We need to know about that as well because you cannot just copy-paste what you’re doing in China and do it here in Spain, the UK, or the US. It’s not going to work. Audiences react to things in a different way. As well, the shopping behavior is completely different. From the brand side, they need to understand that they need to prepare a strategy and something that makes sense for the people who are watching. You cannot go and show products randomly. You cannot go and open a live shopping show and you didn’t even advertise for it, for example.

TLEP 44 | Live Shopping Success
Live Shopping Success: You need to prepare a strategy and something that makes sense for the people who are watching.

In China, it is different as well. Most live shopping shows happen within Taobao. Taobao is a huge marketplace with a huge traffic. It’s easy that people are going to end up on your live. For us, for example, it is not like that. We need to find a way to bring people to our live shopping show. We need to make sure that we can generate that traffic for our show. That is the thing.

I feel like European and American companies take that for granted. “I’m going to go live. I need to have an audience watching,” but what are you doing first so that your audience comes to your show? Probably, those are the main differences, like consumer behavior. The fact that China is more like a marketplace, they sell more on marketplaces, and here we are 50-50. Some people shop more on marketplaces. Some people shop more on eCommerce.

The discovery is also very important. As I said, in China, it’s easy to discover these shows. For us, if we are on social media, sometimes it may just pop up. For example, on TikTok, your live show may come on the Explore page. Otherwise, you need to find a way to either announce it on social media or announce it on your email list for the people to know that you are going to be doing something special.

It sounds like the number one thing that you are talking about is all that preparation for the livestream, which we found, having talked to many brands so far, it’s been a struggle to make sure that they understand that it’s not because you have the livestream shopping capability on your website that you can just press the button, and then all of a sudden, you’ve got thousands of people. You can press the damn button, but doesn’t mean that someone’s going to show up. That’s interesting.

I wonder if you have any insight as it’s related to content itself. Let’s say there’s a bunch of American companies, the top producing a massive amount of content on live shopping in China. We heard Adidas was producing over nineteen hours of livestream every day. For a company like that trying to transition and saying, “We need to replicate to the US market or the UK market,” do you feel that there’s a difference in the way they construct the show? Are there any things around that?

Absolutely. The first thing I would say is timing. China shows can run for 6 to 12 hours in a row. Here, if you are able to keep people there for an hour, you should feel happy because we live in a fast-paced place and people have other things to do. You need to give people something so that they stay watching you. In China, it’s hours and hours of live shopping and people are used to that. That’s a huge difference.

That’s something that I’m curious about digging into a little bit more. First of all, do you think that that’s going to happen in the US? Do you think that it’s going to continue to be drastically different? I’m not sure now that I can see US audiences spending that much time watching live shopping, but I could be wrong. I don’t know the history of how that evolved in China to where it is now.

I personally don’t think that people in Europe or the US are going to spend that many hours watching a live show, but we have a weapon. That weapon is called shoppable videos. You can record your live streaming and then you can upload it on your website. You can create a TV channel and then tag all the products that you’ve been showing on your live. People can go and watch what they want to watch and purchase what they want to purchase. This is something that they’re not using in China.

That’s interesting. I didn’t think about it that way. I feel like that’s such an important insight. As soon as you said shoppable video, I immediately thought of TikTok and how TikTok has such a huge impact on people’s purchasing decisions, I believe. Statistically, I can’t back that up at this moment, but I see it all the time and through a lot of anecdotal experiences. I’m persuaded so frequently.

That was impulse buying.

Impulse as well as the power of influence. There’s something about those short videos on a platform like TikTok that makes it easy for you to say, “I need this product.” Somebody doesn’t even have to be that skilled as a seller. They could just be saying, “I enjoy this.” You could say, “All of the things that they explained are things that are important to me too.”

That’s the power of short videos as well. That’s why I believe that every brand should be using short videos in their marketing mix as well.

TLEP 44 | Live Shopping Success
Live Shopping Success: Every brand should be using short videos in their marketing mix.

That’s a really interesting insight. It made me think about what Dr. Elo was saying when he was having, on his Amazon Live, people waiting, knowing that he was going to talk about a product, estimating when he was going to talk about the product, going to do other things, running errands, and then coming back to watch that segment on the live. What you’re saying is you could create that similar behavior by tagging your product to the video itself, and people can just jump on that segment that interests them. It’s a cool idea and thought. At eStreamly, we are not doing that and thinking, “That’s a cool thing to implement.”

You’ve got the Chinese experience. For some time, you have been based in the UK and have participated in some of the TikTok Shop. I’d love to hear from you. Looking back doing live in the UK, how do you feel about the UK market? Do you feel there’s any difference as it relates to the US market itself?

What I think is that the UK market is still a bit slow when it comes to live shopping. Many brands are not yet implementing it, and they still need a push. Slowly, the live shopping market is gaining traction as well. We’re just working on that. With all this news, brands are like, “Does this really work? Should I do this? Is it worth it? Is it going to work for my company? Can I showcase my products in the right way? Can we make sure that we’re going to be making sales? Am I going to be increasing my leads?” Those are things that brands keep asking themselves all the time. What’s impressive is that the biggest eCom market in Europe is the UK and it’s slower in terms of live shopping than Spain, for example.

Tell us about that. In what sense is it slower? Do you feel is it slower in terms of viewership? Is it slower in terms of adoption from brand? Is it slower in terms of GMV altogether?

I would say it is slower in adoption. There are not as many brands yet implementing it. However, I’ve seen in the past couple of months more and more brands doing stuff, especially in the fashion, tech, and beauty space.

I wonder if it’s the Latin culture.

That could be.

I don’t have any data to back this up, but I know we will have a guest coming up talking about the Latin market soon. I have a strong feeling, from looking from the US, a little bit outside, that the Mexican market and some other markets in South America are much more dynamic in terms of adoption.

I am not sure about Mexico at the moment, but I can tell you that the Brazilian market is huge. I know some people who are doing live shopping from China to Brazil. There’s this app called Wai, and they’re doing live shopping quite often. People love it. It’s the same thing here in Spain as well. AliExpress has this channel for Spain, and it’s always full of people. Same thing with the Brazilian one, as we mentioned. It may have something to do with consumers with people being more open, friendlier, or wanting to have a chat or see what’s up.

TLEP 44 | Live Shopping Success
Live Shopping Success: The Brazilian market is huge. It may have something to do with consumers being more open, friendlier, or just wanting to have a chat or see what’s up.

I also love the conversation on something that we haven’t pinpointed earlier when you say that the Chinese brand has a different expectation as it relates to live shopping. When they started, they had no expectations. It speaks for the culture of early adopters. We had a couple of episodes on that. The only thing I will say to that culture of early adopters, and please tell me if you feel the same way or if you feel differently, is very often, people have that idea of trying out with a very low threshold of expectation, but they try 1 time or 2 times.

I feel that that doesn’t bring you any results on the livestream, especially when, we talked a little bit about that earlier, people try and say, “We’re on Wednesday to do a live on Saturday.” You’re like, “How you’re going to tell your audience about it?” I wonder if you have the same feeling about that culture of early adopters and if you feel that it’s harder for brand to embrace this idea that if you want to try, have no expectation, but do it at least consistently for a period of time before making any drastic decision.

There’s a thing here, and it’s that the Chinese have been doing live shopping for years now. That’s a lot of trying. That’s a lot of mastering the skill for live shopping. The thing is that now, they do have expectations, but it makes sense that now they have expectations because they have mastered this skill. They know what they need to do so that they sell.

Here, in Europe and in America, most companies don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know how to do it. How can you expect to get the best results within just 1, 2, or 3 tries? That’s not going to happen. If you want it to happen, then you can work with somebody who specializes in live shopping. For example, us. If not, then you’re still going to have to continue trying until you find out what’s working for you.

I found it’s having a service agency that specializes in shopping. It’s important to think of it that way. There are a lot of agencies out there, and a video agency may not know how to produce shoppable livestream content. I would encourage any brand in the audience that is thinking about trying and on the choice of agency to be mindful that creating video content and creating a livestream shopping is a very different beast and creating a livestream that is shoppable is another beast.

When you set your expectations, think through that beast itself. It’s more than just creating beautiful content that is relatable to the audience. It’s trying to find the right host. It’s trying to engage the right way, and having that dialogue going on. That’s where a professional host like you or some of those agencies that specialize in live shopping could make a big difference. I love that insight, for sure.

There’s one more thing that I would like to share, and it is the use of content creators and hosts. Each brand should know which one is the best for each live streaming. Not every creator fits well for every live streaming. What I mean is that, sometimes, we may want to have a professional TV host. Sometimes we may want to have a person who works within the company, and sometimes we will want to have an influencer that has either a few followers or a celebrity depending on what we want to achieve. There are so many things as well that we need to take into account. You need to try what’s going to work best for you and to achieve what you want.

You need to try what's going to work best for you to achieve what you want. Share on X

Having a rotation of content is important. Similar to the host, co-hosting is something that we all highly encourage because this is important for driving sales. You can have an expert, and then someone that closes the sales, and then they can exchange that role. You were talking at some point about the importance of ad as it relates to the European market, the US market, and some of the more Western market versus the Chinese market. How do you feel about the ad? When you talk to brand, how do you walk them through this idea of advertising for the content and what you want them to advertise on? Walk us through that whole process

When I talk to a brand, I tell them that it’s a process. Like I said, they need to do the whole thing. If they only prepare half of the process, then they’re not going to get results. If you want to get results, there are certain steps that you need to follow. It needs to be very clear that there are three steps. One is pre-live shopping. Another one is during the live shopping, during the show, and then another one is after the show. You need to be in control of all those steps and what is happening before, during, and after that show. If not, it’s not going to work.

It is a good idea to have ads, for example, before the show, so that people know what is going on, and you can also get more leads from that, so why not? Once you have finished with the live shopping show, you can repurpose that content. You can re-target the people. If it’s a shoppable live show, then if you don’t do that, you’re leaving opportunities there. You could be making more sales.

The repurpose of the content, we’ve talked quite a bit about that in the previous episode. It is this whole idea that you’re putting a lot of effort into creating that content, so why leave that piece of content unused for some time? Let’s repost it across social. Let’s use it in some advertisement campaigns and make shots to talk about the next event. There’s certainly a lot of opportunity there.

This has been an incredible conversation. I wonder what your thoughts are, Whitney. We’ve talked to so many different people across this show so far, but it’s the first time we are having a very early mover into the live shopping space from China and have the experience to have worked across different markets.

I was thinking the same thing. It’s been so valuable to hear the comparisons, which I don’t think we’ve dug into before. I’m curious if there’s anything else for somebody who’s sitting here getting a mixed perspective like we talked about from the beginning. If you just paid attention to the news, you might feel like live shopping is never going to work in the US. It was a little strange because I grew up hearing about QVC, Home Shopping Network, and all of that. It makes complete sense. As I mentioned, I’m seeing sales happen on TikTok all the time very organically. I feel convinced about this. Let’s say somebody is hearing mixed information and seeing all the differences between the markets across the world, what are some other pieces of advice or encouragement you can offer someone who wants to get started but feels a little hesitant?

I would say you need to go and try it out. There’s no other way you’re going to know what’s up if you don’t try it. You need to see what it is. You need to feel yourself what it is. Maybe you don’t like it or maybe you do. If you don’t try, you don’t know. Again, it is the right time now to start trying it because not everyone is doing it. You want to be the first one.

That’s beautiful as well being a pioneer. We’re talking about that all the time as well. You want to be the first one in your sector that’s doing live shopping. You want to be the first one who’s doing something different. You want to be the first one that provides a different experience to the consumer. That is important because now, consumers are tired of always seeing the same thing. If you are able to provide something valuable to them, then why not?

3 Steps For Live Shopping Success With Carmen Muley Share on X

The thing with live shopping is that you may have, for example, this person who wants to buy a product from you, but there’s something that’s stopping them from buying it. They see that you’re live, and then they see that they can ask you a question directly, and then you are answering them. You are making their whole process a lot simpler. Most probably, that person is going to buy the product because you solved all the questions. Now, the person’s ready to buy.

There are so many things about live shopping that brands should take into account, not just the selling part. You are building relationships. You are giving your customers a different experience. You are creating something. For example, you can do an exclusive product launch. There are so many ways of interaction and so many things that you can do. Now, we are at this phase in which consumers want to know more about the brands. If you can interact with them directly, that’s a good thing.

I love all that. One of the things that a lot of people are thinking when you think about live shopping is the idea of, “It has to be a QVC-like show.” This image is fixing our brain and like, “This is what it is.” I met, I met this gentleman, and I think he’s going to come on this show because this story is just incredible.

Here’s a guy who didn’t think of himself as doing live shopping but doing content selling, basically. He said, “We’re content based. We are a content-first company,” They have been producing a tremendous amount of content on YouTube, on social media, and video content altogether. They take their product into the context of what they should be useful. They never talked about doing a demo of the product.

They have some fun gear about the outdoors. They just do a lot of outdoor videos on a regular basis. People are just watching. By the way, they see the product and say, “This is the best advertisement.” He was telling me that they run a show. They were spotted by Netflix, so they had a series on Netflix. It’s been two years since the series went up, and 10% of their sale are attributed to that series. How they did that was just taking their product and putting them in the context.

I’m thinking about brands in the hair care industry that a lot of barbers, especially men barbers, I discovered them because they were cutting hair on YouTube and just showing how to cut hair and shave beards. It’s done by that company. I’m like, “Wow.” I ended up buying the product. When you think about live shopping, it doesn’t have to be a show where you have a host who is telling you, “Buy my products. It’s all about me. It’s all about my product.”

We had Tracy say, “Give, don’t sell.” In that notion, it can be just showing the product in a context that is the natural environment and you’re producing content. What’s important with live shopping is making sure that you think of it as a way of it’s a piece of content or a piece of video that you’re producing that people will enjoy and have fun with that is going to generate sales.

I agree with that. That’s something that is done in China as well. It is so simple. For example, let’s say that you go to a restaurant, and then you can see how they’re cooking and everything. That’s a cool thing as well. Maybe if you are live streaming how the chefs are cooking, then some people may want to go to the restaurant because they love seeing how they’re cooking that food. There are so many things that can be done.

Let’s say that we have this restaurant again and they’re cooking a specific kind of dish. You can put within the live shopping show the products that you’re using to create that plate so that you can purchase it and then cook it at home. There are so many things that could be done. Live streaming is a fun thing. It’s meant for people to enjoy, learn something new, have fun, and give them something more than just selling.

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I love that. That’s such a great piece of advice because it’s so easy to look at this from that angle of generating sales. If you take away the experience from you’re planning, then you don’t give your audience a reason to join, to stick around, and they may never buy something. If somebody is having fun, enjoying themselves, or learning something, I agree. I’m so glad that you touched upon this. I feel like we’ve covered some important things.

Carmen, I love how concise and straightforward you are. You make it easy, and your enthusiasm is very contagious. This has been a lovely conversation with you. We’re grateful to have you on the show to bring all of your experience and to remind people not to get caught up in any of the negativity and not to feel too discouraged and let that get in their way. You’ve done such a beautiful job. It makes sense that you’re training people on this regularly with the work that you do.

Thank you so much.

For anyone interested in checking out Carmen’s work, it’s linked in two places. One is in the below this episode as well as over at eStreamly.com/Podcast. We encourage you to subscribe because, every week, we’re talking with amazing people like Carmen, who have all different perspectives, tips, experiences, news, and so much here.

Also, linked in the transcript and on the website is the Get Live Ready for the Holidays program that we’re working on to support someone like yourself who wants to dig into this further. For you, as a reader, we’re doing whatever we can every single week to support you along the way. Thanks for reading. Thanks again to Carmen and Nicholas for this wonderful conversation. We’ll see you next episode.


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