In this riveting season finale, we bring together four luminaries in the live eCommerce space to unpack the transformations we’ve witnessed over the past 80 weeks. Our esteemed panel includes Carmen Muley, the former video commerce host turned CEO at Freim, a renowned European live shopping agency. Carmen has just marked a new milestone by launching Paragon Social Commerce, an exciting new era.
Michael Yang, Streamer in Chief at Livecozy, joins us as well. Livecozy is a video commerce agency that has carved a niche in helping brands leverage the power of TikTok for social commerce. With his finger firmly on the pulse of this exciting platform, Michael brings invaluable insights into the dynamic TikTok market.
Patti Reilly, a veteran home shopping host, also graces our discussion. With over 20 years of experience, 4,000 hours of unscripted selling, and over a billion dollars in career sales, Patti embodies live shopping success. Her work at QVC and her efforts to guide entrepreneurs and leaders to become the face of their brands make her a pivotal voice in our conversation.
Lastly, we have Matt Hodlofski, a maestro of product conceptualization and storytelling with more than 20 years of home shopping experience behind the camera. Matt’s knack for pinpointing what makes a product special and his ability to convey that through compelling narratives and demonstrations add a unique perspective to our discussion.
In this episode, we delve deep into how video content for live selling has evolved, assess the impact of gamification on the industry, and explore the vital role of the host. We also discuss the nuanced considerations to remember when choosing between different video commerce platforms. We reflect on the seismic shifts in the live eCommerce landscape, sharing our disappointments and surprises along the journey. To round off this memorable season, the guests share their top picks of podcast episodes or vital tips they believe every listener should remember. So, whether you’re an industry insider, an aspiring entrepreneur, or just curious about live eCommerce, this season finale offers a treasure trove of insights, reflections, and expert advice. Join us as we celebrate the past, dissect the present, and look forward to the future of live eCommerce. Tune in for a podcast episode you won’t want to miss!
About eStreamly: eStreamly.com is a Livestream & video shopping SaaS. Your video content is shoppable on your site, a blog, email, SMS, a 3rd party webpage, and now shoppable on social media too (Instagram, Facebook, Youtube)! It’s your data, your eCommerce. Each video becomes an extension of your eCommerce with in video checkout.
Join the Live eCommerce private community: https://try.estreamly.com/the-live-ecommerce-community.
Receive weekly live shopping industry updates and tips in our newsletter: https://try.estreamly.com/newsletter.
The US live-streaming market is expected to hit $25 billion by 2023. That’s why now is the time to build your skills, understand the medium, and ensure your live streams are successful.
Decoding VideoCommerce: A Roundtable Reflection With Industry Expert – Season Finale
We have a very special episode. It’s a special episode because, as you all probably know, at this time of the year, summer is coming up. Getting very talented guests is very difficult at this time of the year. What I felt was, “Why not have a really wonderful wrap-up with some of my most favorite guests that we had on this show that brings a really different perspective?”
Let’s look together at the past several weeks. Look at the perspective they have on the video commerce space so we can wrap up this season. As we say, wrap up this season, it doesn’t mean that we will be going away. The idea is to come back in mid-August, some time like that, with some awesome guests to continue this journey together. That’s the plan. This will be the last of the season.
I’m already a little bit sad about this, but we have some awesome guests. The first one that we have is Carmen Muley. She’s a former live shopping host. She was the CEO of FREIM in a European live shopping agency. She just started Paragon Social Commerce. Michael Yang is here. He’s a Streamer in Chief of Livcozy, a streamer agency that specializes in helping brands thrive on TikTok and social commerce. I am pretty excited. He’s our guru in everything TikTok. That’s pretty cool.
We also have Patti Reilly. As some of you may remember, she was also a guest on this show. She’s a professional home shopping host with many years of experience, 4,000 hours of unscripted selling, and over $1 billion in career sales. She was an on-air personality at QVC and has been supporting and guiding entrepreneurs and leaders to become the face of their brands. One of the episodes in this show has been Are You Afraid to Livestream? Here’s What to Do. It is a very important thing to have someone that can help you go live. We’re certainly going to talk about this.
Finally, our final guest is Matt Hodlofski. He also has many years of experience in the live shopping space. On the other side of the camera, his magic is his ability to conceptualize what makes a product special and translate that into engaging storytelling, a key demonstration needed to bring a product to life. I couldn’t be more excited to have you all. How is everyone doing?
Excellent. Thank you very much.
Happy to be here.
Isn’t it exciting? You, Carmen, are calling all the way from Spain.
Spain, yes. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me to this podcast. It’s going to be amazing. Look at us.
It’s a pretty amazing crew we have. It is a diverse crowd. That’s exciting. One of the things that I wanted to start with is, one of the learnings that I had through the podcast is that when you think about video commerce, live shopping strategy, and all that, 20% is technology, but 80% is the content. Knowing that this is the main thing, I want to start with the content. Patti, I’d love to start with you. In the context of home shopping, what do you think makes for a good home shopping show?
First of all, it has to come down to likability and your connection with the audience. We’d probably all agree, everybody on the panel, that everything is an experience. Every single thing and every moment in life is an experience. It’s what you take away from it. Some people might just cruise by an experience because they’re not finding that it’s fulfilling. One of the things that we did at QVC that was relatable and created an experience was we spoke about our own reality. We spoke about the possible reality of the consumer watching. Matt can agree. A lot of times, the philosophy was to put it in the viewer’s hands, everything that we talked about. I even sold perfume. Matt knows this. How do you sell perfume on TV? Through live commerce, you make it an experience.
One of your episodes that I loved was with Taylor Capuano. She mentioned the word vulnerability. People respond to that. They respond to the vulnerability that a host has. They respond to the emotions that they share and the stories that they tell. Not every story may be centered around the actual host because that would get old fairly quickly. That host has experiences in life, and they can share stories of other people.
That makes for good content because it comes down to storytelling. Everything is about storytelling. We all want to curl up with our favorite blanket and a cup of coffee when we hear somebody getting ready to tell us a story. There’s a comfortability about storytelling that we learn from birth. That pertains to and applies to all cultures. That, to me, is what makes good content.
Storytelling is something that you’ll have specialized in your entire career. Matt, I’d love to have your perspective on what Patti is saying. From your perspective, what makes for good content?
We talk about, in my background with QVC and direct response television, the girlfriend-to-girlfriend sales approach that Patti knows very well. I know Michael and Carmen do as well. Some people call it the backyard fence sales philosophy, which is a friendly conversation, a girlfriend-to-girlfriend sales approach, or a backyard fence sales philosophy, meaning that you have a relaxed conversation. Hopefully, you’re interacting with someone. If you’re not, go back and forth with them or at least engage with them in a very casual, comfortable way.
You never want to alienate your audience. You want to engage your audience and have them come in part of the conversation if you can and keep them tuned in. The girlfriend-to-girlfriend sales approach is supposed to be very engaging. This is how I would talk to my next-door neighbor, my mom, or my daughter about this product and what I would say about it. Not to sweat the small stuff but to be organized enough that you can engage in a story about that product. That’s the key to storytelling in this video commerce world.
That’s insightful. I’d love to get your perspective, Michael. First of all, from your expertise and your experience with TikTok, are you taking some of those learnings and trying to apply them to TikTok? Do you have a very different strategy or different approach to content creation and how that engagement needs to happen to make it happen?
I couldn’t agree more with Matt’s girlfriend-to-girlfriend strategy. Especially for TikTok, engagement is everything. The algorithm is actively looking for what the best engagement in livestream rooms is. That’s why when we teach our live streamers or when we train them, the most important part is always to keep the engagement going. What’s the most important thing is to keep the conversation, to keep your story live, and to keep the show live. TikTok evolved into a new layer where you can simultaneously talk with the live streamer while the consumer is making the purchase decision, asking questions, and getting entertained during the process. It’s a comprehensive suite, including every element in the purchase path.
I’d love to get back to you, Carmen, and ask you about, from your international eyes, what you think but also from a content perspective. I’ve seen some of your posts talking about how shopper entertainment is also about bringing fun. How different do you feel about the fun that was happening on TV and the fun that needs to happen on a TikTok platform, Instagram Live, or Shop Live? How would you categorize this fun? Is there some magic that you are doing when you are thinking about doing your shows?
What’s so important is, as we all mentioned, having that connection with the audience and making everything fun, engaging, and entertaining. We have already mentioned that, but the way to pull that off is to make sure that the viewers have a reason to be there. What are we doing so that they want to be watching us? What are we doing so that they want to stay with us? What are we doing so that they’re trusting us? Those are the things that we need to think about. When it comes to having a little bit of fun, that’s fine, but it needs to be related as well to what we’re doing. We need to be giving the audience what they want to see from us and what they expect to see from us. It cannot be anything that doesn’t make any sense at all. It all needs to be related to the same thing.
For example, in terms of content, it’s a good idea every time to teach your audience about something to educate them on something on how to use the product and why it is good for them. For example, if you’re using creams for your face, what is the order in which you need to be using those creams, and what is the reason why you need to be using them that way? You need to add them value. You need to give them something for them to think, “I want to be here. I want to learn from this brand, and they’re doing something great for me as well. I’m willing to give them my most precious thing. That is my time. Also, my money because I’m going to purchase from them.”
I love that. To your credit, Patti, one of the things that I keep using every other day is the “What’s in it for me?” It is something that I learned from you, and it’s true. What’s in it for me? What are you going to do to make me watch your content? What are you going to do to make me excited about coming to your event? What are you going to do to engage with you? That is something that I remember vividly from your live. I don’t know if you want to react to that, Patti, but I love to hear that.
Everyone that’s present here would probably agree that time is our most precious commodity. We don’t want it wasted. It’s an exchange of my time and what I am getting out of it. I love that you remember that because sometimes when I’m teaching, whether it’s one-on-one or I’m doing a group class, and I speak to the what’s in it for me, the WIIFM, some people repel because they don’t want to be viewed as “It seems self-centered. It seems selfish,” but it’s not. I spoke about from birth storytelling. From birth, what do you do when you want to be fed? You cry. What’s in it for me if I cry? If I cry, I’m going to get fed.
This is innate to us as human beings. There’s nothing wrong with that. I don’t think that any of us go in thinking, “What’s in it for me?” That’s not at the forefront of our minds. However, when you’re setting up a show, when you’re representing a business, whether that business is yours or you’re the brand spokesperson, you need to think from the consumer’s perspective.
That’s why I say put your consumer lenses on and see through those. What’s in it for them to exchange their time to watch you? You want it to be enriching, whether it’s educating them. It’s sharing the benefits. Since you spoke about skin care, Carmen, I’ll piggyback off that and say one of the products that I think Matt will agree was a very big deal at QVC in about 2008 was the Clarisonic.
The only way to show somebody the Clarisonic, aside from sitting on a shelf in Nordstrom’s, how it truly worked, was through the visual medium of television. That’s where things like TikTok, where you can show people how something works, how it will fit into their lives, how to use it because otherwise, they’re just looking at a box on a shelf and they might walk right by that. “What’s in it for me? How do I use it? How does it fit into my life? I’m giving you my time. What am I receiving in return?”
I love that. I know, Carmen, you wanted to react, so I’ll give you the floor. Tell us what’s in it for you.
The thing is, I see very often that brands forget that that is precisely why we need to put the consumer in the center. We need to think about them first. We want this to be a transactional thing. We want the live event to bring us results. The way that it’s going to bring us the best results is when we’re thinking about what the consumer wants. Once we’re giving them that, then we’re going to get all those results and all the transactions that we expect from them. It’s crucial to think, “What does my consumer want to see now? What can I give them now? What’s in it for me?”We want the live event to bring us results. But to bring us the best results is when we think about what the consumer wants. Click To Tweet
I love that. Michael, I would love to have you do a last reaction on that, and then we’ll move on to the next topic. When you think about TikTok, they’re big into gamification. I wonder if that has a role to play in making the content fun, especially when you look at the TV, where you don’t have as much interaction. The interaction is calling someone that maybe you have fun with on the phone or something. On TikTok, it’s much more than the what’s-in-it-for-me. It’s also this whole game you can play, the tips, and the shout-out you can have on your screen and someone else’s screen. Tell us a little bit about the role of that gamification in the live shopping experience. Do you feel that is driving more sales?
TikTok shop has rolled out more features, such as a free giveaway, which it is implemented into the TikTok shop system. Also, some we call Red Pocket or Red Envelope, where people can come in and then they automatically get something for free. Also, if you stay there for maybe two more minutes, you get a better chance to get another product for free or a coupon or something.
Even by giving comments or giving a virtual gift, I’ll become a part of the different elements to promote or getting one livestream show more popular. I was watching one of the live shows, a very popular one, which is Chinese TikTok, where the live streamer is actively giving out iPhones for free. Suddenly, there are over one million people in that live stream room. Every two minutes, she gives out one iPhone for free. People just want to get a chance.
Even though the ad is really low, people want to get involved. The thing is that if you want to participate, you have to leave a comment. I can’t remember exactly what it is, but something like, “I want the iPhone for me,” Everyone was just giving so much comments at the same time. It’s promoted in a very active and entertaining way.
That’s interesting. I’d love to ask you the last question to you, Matt. In your experience throughout your career, have you tried to bring gamification to your own show? If so, how is that working?
It’s funny you say that. When Michael was telling that story, I remember when I first started, probably even before Patti joined QVC. They had a drawing every hour where numbers were drawn. It was customer account numbers or something. Something was drawn where customers could win something on a free gift every hour. The hosts would stand behind this big thing, and the balls would come up, and they would call out the numbers. That was their way of engaging on an hourly basis on who the customer was and what they were watching. It kept them tuned in. I don’t remember if it was the beginning of the shows or the end of the shows. Patti, were you a part of that? It was in the old building that we did that, which was in the late ‘90s.
I came when they would do the Bingo, and they would do some other live game where it took the caller, and we would ask them a question. I didn’t do the actual drawing of the name. A phone caller would call in, then they would ask a question, and the answer would be, “Longitude and latitude.” They would win or something like that. I wasn’t in that first studio.
Was gamification something that was driving sales, or because of that friction, it was not that much, and that’s one of the reasons they dropped it altogether?
It was a lot of fun, but I don’t think it drove sales. It was more about engagement for the customer, which is also a great thing. This dates me, but this was in the ‘90s. Their audience wasn’t as large as it is now. The dollar per minute wasn’t as high as it is now, not nearly as high. Their scripted airtime wasn’t as tight as it is now. There’s a lot more play in their 60 minutes of an hour in how to engage the customer.
Some would argue that because of that, the hosts, like Patti’s and Carmen’s role, were able to engage the customers better because there was less pressure to sell product after product and meet those expectations. They were able to give personal stories, and the customers were able to get to know the hosts, know their husbands’ or wives’ names, and know the kids’ names. They were able to identify with them, a lot like what’s happening with live streaming nowadays.
As it grew and grew, that personalization, although weaved in, became less impactful or less important, and it was more about the product. One of their former CEOs tagline was, “Product is king.” His way of saying that was, “Don’t get caught up with any other dynamics in television or live shopping. Remember, she’s tuning in for the product.” Engage the product, educate the customer about the product, and let the product sell itself essentially through the customer.
We could talk later about this. The evolution of live streaming nowadays and what Patti and I saw many years ago in home shopping are very similar. It’s crazy how you learn from history and how things repeat one another. This whole new generation of live streaming is fun. That’s why I engage with you, Nicholas, and I engage with the eStreamly community because this is just the evolution of what I’ve done for the last couple of decades. It’s only in its infancy, and it’s only going to get bigger and better.
Michael, you’ve seen the other side of the coin. You have your pulse on what’s going on in China. In China, they are much more advanced than what the US market is. Do you see that the fun has been reduced to be a more focused product, or do you have any other comments toward that perspective?
I was going to add to Matt’s point. In general, the internet or mobile internet has put people’s attention to be shorter and shorter. If you think about the name of TikTok, which is tik-tok, every second matters. If you look at the average time for people to stay in the livestream room, it’s probably 3 to 4 seconds at TikTok for most livestream rooms. Good live streamers have some ways to have them stay, but for most others, it’s just a matter of seconds.
I agree with what Patti said on time is the most precious commodity, especially on TikTok. It’s super important to have every second count, especially in the era where people are getting less and less patient about something. They don’t even have time to listen to your story or listen to who you are, but they just want to get what they have to do and make the purchase or whatever. The game is becoming harder and harder.
It’s a very interesting point you’re mentioning here. Throughout this journey of this show, we had a lot of people coming from just a pure video perspective and say that in everything that they work on, 95% of their video is on the hook. It is those first five seconds to hook someone. When you think about live streaming, it’s very difficult to have a hook because you can’t be perpetually in the hook mode.
One of my arguments has been that because the content that you’re producing cannot be a hook, the hook is your environment. Where you are in your room? The room is what is going to stop you from scrolling from one place to another. If you’re good at that, that’s when you catch someone. If you’re a good host and you’re engaging, that’s going to make you stay longer. I’d love to have your perspective, Michael, and then also Patti on that. I’m assuming this is something that you also thought about quite a bit in your career, and your evolution in this space is like, “How do you keep people engaged and maintain?” It’s not just about saying, “Hi, how are you?” Is the environment important? I love to hear your perspective there.
We would call that the money shot. Don’t hide it. The other term would be don’t bury the lead. Don’t bury the lead, go right into the money shot. A lot of times, my specialty, for those who don’t know, was beauty. I did lots of shows, product after product, skincare, product after skincare, hair, color, etc. Show me a before and after right out of the gate. We are, as human beings, 90% visual. It might even be a higher percentage than that, but we respond to that high of a percentage visually. The sooner and the earlier that a company or an influencer, for example, understands that, then they will take the time to invest.
I’m working with a client now, for example. They invested heavily in packaging. Why? Because they’re moving into the skincare space. I’m like, “Packaging is everything.” Packaging and formula go hand in hand, but if you want to stand out, let’s do something different here. It is important to invest in that environment. Also, when it comes down to the actual product, if it’s a demonstrable product, which many of them are, then you want to show what we call the money shot.Packaging and formula go hand in hand, but if you want to stand out, do something different. Click To Tweet
I used to call it, in reference to that, the two shots of death, which is very dramatic and over the top. In my opinion, when that two-shot was up, and you were selling a 2-ounce bottle of cream, what are we talking about? We’re talking about the 2-ounce bottle of cream. They need to take that tight shot. I know why they’re on the wider shot because the hosting guests are engaging with one another, and there’s a conversation, but the graphic is up, and our clock is on. We should be spending more time on the tight shot of the 2-ounce bottle than seeing both people talking in a wider shot.
That’s one of the things I’ll say with the live streaming. It’s improved upon. I’ll also say that there are shortcomings from this point of view as well. I’ve seen live streams that they’re in a shot where it’s from chest to head, and they’re selling pants, they’re selling shoes, or they’re selling something that you can’t see. They’re trying to explain it, or they’re awkwardly moving their bodies to show whatever they’re selling. I’m like, “Why aren’t they backing up? Why don’t they move the camera back?”
You have to know what you’re offering. The work, home shopping, QVC, and all those other systems and channels do so well is they put the product in its natural environment. That’s truly what you need to do as a live streamer. Put it in its natural environment. It can’t be a one-shot for anything you sell thought process because then you’re doing the customer and your viewer a disservice.
I love you say that. We’re going to use that as the way to get to the next segment. When I look back at the past 80 weeks, which this show is episode number 82, we are one a week, so it’s 82 weeks that we’ve been doing that, one of the things that we keep hearing and reading here and there from time to time is that live shopping has not made a big breakthrough in the US market. One of the reasons is that the content is not entertaining enough and is not good enough for production quality. That’s what a lot of people are saying. It’s not enough shop entertainment or whatever.
In some way, what you’re saying is that you’ve seen some of those livestreams where the person is showing their pants without even seeing the pants. I wonder if that’s something that you have also experienced, Michael. Going back to that. When you look at those 80 weeks, how do you feel about that common production itself? When you think about TikTok, it is the fact that we are all moving from phone to make us forget that production is also important. Is it something that you had anticipated when you came into this space?
The equipment part is getting more and more important. That’s why in our studio, we purchased some high-end types of production gear, including the cameras and all the lighting, boxes, and different gears. In general, depending on the products that you’re selling, it’s important where, responding to Patty’s mentioning about products like health products or cosmetics products, the packaging is very important. In that type of livestream room, we tend to create an environment into highly decorated and looks natural, fancy, or corresponds to the branding field.
For example, if you’re talking about one of the most popular selling categories on TikTok is the crystal ball or crystal statue. At the beginning of 2023, people used the scooping strategy to sell the crystal. In that scenario, most people don’t care about the camera if it’s a good production. The most important thing is to get involved in the activity and make sure your name is getting shouted out by the live streamer and also having fun in the process. In that type of live streaming, it’s not important to have good production gear. It depends.
I’m sure the folks from JTV or those companies that are in the jewelry space and have been doing TV shopping, the scooping must be something that they look at in a very weird way of like, “This must be very stringent for them.” Carmen, going back to those 80 weeks, how do you think the space has evolved? Do you have any surprise about how things are based on what you thought was going to be? I’d love to have your perspective, looking backwards, on those years now.
I see there’s a lot of movement in the industry now. It started from almost nothing. Now, we see more and more brands jumping into the live shopping space. It’s very exciting. In terms of numbers, I would not say that all companies are doing it yet, but I do see that there is a huge interest from pretty much everyone that I talk to. They’re just delaying it a little bit because they have other priorities now. That’s what they say very often, but everyone has it on their timeline for coming soon. It’s exciting. We still need to continue doing all these things in live shopping. I do see the market growing and more brands being interested in this. As we see results from brands, we see more brands wanting to jump into this space as well.
I’d love to get your perspective, Patti, because it’s similar. You come from this background and you also are diving into the live shopping from the camera standpoint, right down from the phone standpoint, the model, the perspective of social media trying to get there, helping folks to go live through some of those newer platforms or streaming platforms. Through your journey over the last few years and coming where you’re coming from, did you feel the space was going to be where it is now? Do you have deceptions, or do you have any surprises? How do you feel about the evolution over the past few years?
Honestly, I’m still surprised. I’m looking at a lot of my skincare former clients, current clients, and fashion as well, a little bit of lifestyle. I’m trying to separate because I don’t know all about electronics and all of that. In the areas that I’m very interested in, and I have credibility, I’m surprised because I thought that more of those types of businesses would be going live with more regularity. I don’t see it as much.
When I do see someone do it, I can think of this one jewelry designer that I love. Her name is Melinda Maria. She goes live and it’s every Wednesday type of thing. I get excited to see her because it’s a visual feast for the eyes with all of her colorful jewelry and her beautiful outfits. She’s really fun. She gets so much engagement. I watched as her audience grew. I use those as examples for clients. I still am surprised at the hesitancy and the delay.
I know you mentioned the coming soon, Carmen. I’m like, “Don’t wait, just get started. Tell your story. Share the behind the scenes of the lead-up to the launch.” People love that kind of stuff. They love the story behind the actual story. I’m jumping ahead Nicholas, but one of your guests, Taylor, said, “People want to follow people. They don’t want to follow brands.” I agree with that. I know Matt knows that. The original influencers, I know he sent on your show together, but we had our own following. I wasn’t their cup of tea. They would watch Lisa Robertson. They would watch whoever else.
Get started and then improve your comfortability in front of the camera, and test out different things. It doesn’t have to live forever. You can delete it. You can take it down. You might move so far ahead with your business a year or two down the road that you look fondly back at that, and you share that and think, “Look at where we came from and how amazing to have that as a recording.”Get started and then improve your comfort in front of the camera, pest out different things. Click To Tweet
People should be recording their businesses as the business is growing and going through growing pains and not be afraid to share the whole faux pas that I had joining this episode. Share those. That’s part of that vulnerability, likability, and stuff like that. When people see things that fall and that go wrong, it’s because it’s the imperfect perfectness of being a human being. I am surprised, Nicholas, to answer more directly that I don’t see more people in the areas that I love doing it.
Video commerce is the natural evolution of eCommerce. If you’re in eCommerce, why wouldn’t you want to tell your story and show your product in this format? I follow a company. I don’t have a relationship with the company other than following them. I know that one of their first employees was a videographer.
The reason they hired a videographer before anyone else is that they wanted to track and record everything that happened with their product. They have a consumer product. It’s a three-headed founding team, and their first employee was a videographer. That videographer has recorded everything they do. They have editing rights and they monitor it. They purposely put out what they want to put out. They use all the social media platforms. They get their story out and it’s about the personalities. Yes, they sell a product. Yes, they’re talking about a product, but these people, this three-headed leading team, I know them intimately by following their social media platforms.
They say, “Now we’re in Target. We’re in this grocery store or that grocery store.” They’re building a monster company. It’s because of the engagement with their consumer and their followers first, and then the product second. To piggyback on what Patty was saying, I’m sure Carmen and Michael feel the same thing. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? I don’t know what you’d say comes first before successful commerce, but it’s getting the consumer to engage with you. Why don’t you spend your energy building that audience up and then create the video commerce aspect to it? Don’t use them as separate entities. Use them as one.Spend your energy building up your audience and creating the video commerce aspect. Don't use them as separate entities. Use them as one. Click To Tweet
A hundred percent with everything that you guys have said now. As Patti said, “Just go live now. Don’t wait for anything else.” Why are you not doing it? People want to know what you’re doing. People want to know who your team is. People want to know more about your products. It’s something that you should be doing now as a brand. As Matt mentioned, I do believe as well that it’s the natural evolution of eCommerce. We are craving that connection. That’s the best way to put together the digital and the physical spaces in one place.
Speaking of this evolution of digital and physical, one of the things that we have seen, especially from Curate, they launched this app sooner, if I’m correct. It’s an app where this idea of trying to create a more influencer shopping environment, more fun, with more colors, more engagement, and all that. On your side, Matt, at this junction when you talk with your client that is trying to get into this space of the TV shopping, and you also, I’m assuming, have some ideas about what’s going on behind the scenes from that evolution that they are trying to do, I’d love to hear your perspective.
How do you think the industry, the Curate, the JTV, and all those people are thinking about that transition for them? In some way, their audience is skewed maybe a little bit older. How is that relationship with the audience evolving? Is that the reason why they have to create a separate place to engage that audience, and is that an easy thing to do?
Nicholas, I wish I had a crystal ball. I had a conversation with someone and we were talking about that. What’s the evolution of this dynamic of live shopping? As you mentioned, QVC and traditional home shopping cater to Baby Boomers. They cater to a woman 50 to 75 years old. That generation and that demographic are “aging out.” It’s getting harder and harder to engage a new consumer when she’s getting older and older.
The obvious evolution to that is to go after a younger consumer. Over the years, QVC, HSN, and other networks like JTV have dipped their toe into a younger consumer with a younger brand. Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it doesn’t. As QVC tries to branch out to go after Gen X, Y, and Z in younger consumers through video commerce in a little different method or a different way, it’s just the evolution of what live shopping is.
I don’t think anyone knows where it’s going other than we saw how e-commerce blew up when COVID happened. It was big before, obviously. It was huge. Then, COVID happened, and then like, “Holy cow.” If you’re a retail company and you’re not in eCommerce, you are behind the eight ball. You need to get moving. I would say the same thing with video commerce. You have to evolve with your consumer. If you’re selling something that goes after a 20 to 35-year-old, you need to be where she is. If you’re going after a 15 to 25-year-old, you need to be where they are.
When my world first started in home shopping television, there wasn’t much more than television when it came to entertainment. It was a natural place, and DRTV already existed. They did infomercials in long form and short form. That format was already there. QVC evolved it into a 24/7 machine. This TikTok world that Michael knows so well and the video commerce world that you and Carmen work in and Patti, like I said before, it’s still in its infancy, and it’s going through some growing pains.
I know Michael knows this more than I do. It’s unfair to compare this world in the US with what’s going on in China because it’s apples and oranges. It’s two different consumers. It’s two different dynamics and lifestyles. It’s almost impossible to compare it. How will it evolve here in the US? I don’t have a crystal ball, but video commerce is going to be a mainstay moving forward.
I’d like to wrap up these episodes for our readers who are sticking with us so far. I’d love to share what’s been your top episode or at least the top tips you heard for this season and that you would like the audience to remember.
Before I talk, does Carmen want to add something?
I wanted to mention very quickly that we are always trying to compare what’s happening in China and what is happening in the rest of the world, but we need to take into account that China started with everything a long time ago. They already know what they’re doing. They already know how things work. For us, it’s still something very new in this market. We still need to go through all that experimenting and growth. As you guys mentioned, it’s unfair to compare what’s happening in China now and what is happening in Europe and the US now because we are in different phases. That’s what I wanted to add.
My favorite episode is The Evolution of the Home Shopping World with Matt Hodlofski. It’s very inspirational. As you know, I’ve been working on TikTok Live commerce for a while. I’ve always wanted to learn from the successful experience of the industry giants, especially QVC. I always wonder what QVC would think about TikTok Live.
Matt offers a unique opportunity to dive into some details of operations at QVC. For example, it was a practical approach rather than simply discussing the marriage of QVC and HSN. This one dives into the consideration brands masked away before deciding to leverage the platform. Matt emphasized the importance of being prepared for success and the cautions against relying solely on QVC for brand growth. It resonates with me, and it reminds me how I can potentially improve my TikTok Live all the time. The biggest treasure that I’ve found in the show is that I’ve got the opportunity to listen and connect with industry leaders. eStreamly Podcast is the one and the best eCommerce podcast ever.
Thank you. I appreciate that, Michael. You are part of the audience that make it nice. Matt, what’s been the top episode or your top tips you’ve heard so far that you would like the audience to remember?
I will say eStreamly has become a weekly habit of mine. I listen to it every week. It’s great listening. I always take something from it. You had Ronald Pruett on. I thought that conversation was great, talking about the history of DRTV, where he’s come from, and his thoughts on the evolution of where things are going. The latest is always the best. I thought that episode was great. You mentioned that the most listened-to podcast was Are You Afraid to Livestream? I would say without self-promoting or promoting you guys too much, but there are a lot of people who know what they’re doing in this space, Michael, Carmen, Patty, and Nicholas included.
Through LinkedIn and social media, there are no barriers to reaching out and asking questions. If the person that you’re searching out is worth their weight and has any respect for people who are coming up through the ranks, they’re going to give you their time, and they’re going to tell you what they think you should know. If you’re afraid to do this, reach out to an expert, ask questions, learn from their experience, and do it yourself. You could do it. It’s an inexact science, but it’s a dynamic that you do need to be prepared for. As Michael said, I was blown away in the early TikTok days when I saw people talking and talking, and I was like, “What’s the outline for this conversation?”
In QVC, we used the word blueprint. It’s called the Blueprint for Success. I didn’t name that, QVC named it. It’s an outline of how the conversation should go. The host and the guests are on the same page. They know what demos are going to happen at what time. It’s a unified team-oriented conversation that nothing is left on the table. That’s what I think this younger generation needs to learn from. Not to say the QVC is the inventor of this. From my experience, they know what they’re doing. It comes from many years of trial and error, watching successful products and brands grow, and watching unsuccessful products fail.
What’s the best way to do it? In my opinion, as Michael referenced earlier, just be prepared. Go in, and don’t waste your audience’s time. Have an outline or at least a thought process of how you want to spend your livestream and attack it that way. As Carmen said, “Have fun, engage.” If you’re having fun, they’ll have fun, and then the customer will come back.
What about you, Carmen? What are the top episodes or top tips you would like the audience to remember?
I have two episodes that I like. One is How to Be a Good Livestreamer by Dr. ELO, and the other one is Live Selling As A Life Skill by Patti. The reason for that is everyone feels so much pressure before going live, and there is nothing to feel that pressure for. You just go with the flow, as Dr. ELO says. Enjoy what you’re doing. Connect with the people. Use that time for something exciting for you and for the audience as well.
If something goes wrong, as Patti said, it doesn’t matter. You are live. Life happens, and it’s fine. Just continue with the things. If you are selling a product, you don’t need to be selling that product for the whole hour that you’re going to be live. As she says, “People come in, people go out. Six minutes is enough. You can repeat a few things here and there and you’ll be fine. Take it easy, enjoy yourself, and go live.”
For the readers who remember this episode, during the live with Dr. ELO, it was not live. It was a recording. They had a fire alarm ringing. For part of the episode, we can hear the fire alarm and you could see him like, “What’s going on?” It’s part of the thing.
Everything still kept going. No problem. Things can happen.
It was a fire drill. He was safe. What about you, Patti? What’s the top episode? We’ll finish up and wrap up after you.
The Ron Pruett episode, I also enjoyed it. Also, the one I referenced a couple of times that Taylor Capuano. It was when she said, “People want to follow people. They don’t want to follow brands.” The biggest thing is you have to know your audience. We get so focused on likes, unfollows, follows, troll comments, etc. Here’s the thing that I have to say about that. If you’re getting that as a business, then they’re not your audience and know that they’re going to move on.
I worked with a client and with a skincare cosmetic lab in Texas. They bring me clients who are looking to make their magic potion and want to sell it. Typically, they come to me for advice. I was working with this lovely sister duo that is selling a very high-end anti-aging cream. They made it very clear to me that they want it to be Barney’s level, Harrods level, and expensive $200 a bottle of anti-aging cream. I’m giving you that information for a reason.
When I meet new clients, I have them fill out a questionnaire, It very simply says things like, “If you were to describe your brand, what would you say? In three words, what would you say?” These are important things. I’m not asking them to dig deep, but you would be surprised. One of the questions was, “What is your demographic?” I already told you. I gave you the description of their product. Their response to me was 18 to 50. I was 49 that year. I was working with them. My niece was 23. I said, “Do you think that my niece and I are buying the same product? Because we’re not.”
One of my biggest takeaways also applies to the fact Michael with TikTok is I’m not as attracted to TikTok because I’m a different demographic than you. I know when I’m working with people in anti-aging skincare that they’re more likely to have their audience on Instagram, Facebook, and possibly YouTube. Their predominant audience is not going to be a TikTok audience. Matt would agree. You have to know your audience. You should conserve some marketing spend for live streaming. You should consider that, but you should also consult with an expert.
If the electricity blew in this house, trust me, I’m not going to Craigslist to find somebody to fix it. I’m going to call an expert to fix something like electricity. If you want your business to grow and you know that livestream is part of that, get in touch with experts. Listen to the podcast. You’ve got 80-plus episodes to get all the tips that you want because they’re experts. That’s probably the best advice that I could give.Get in touch with experts if you want your business to grow. Click To Tweet
What an awesome advice to ramp up this conversation. Thank you, Patti. Thank you, Carmen. Thank you, Michael and Matt, for taking the time. You have been bringing on a wealth of knowledge and expertise. You’re passionate about the space. I could not have been more excited to have you here. If you like this episode, please make sure you like and share. If you want to connect with any of the guests, you will have all their contact information in the description of the show that can be found in two areas, which is directly in the description of the show, or you can go to eStreamly.com/podcast and you will have all the information about the episode and the guest here. Please feel free to share this with your friend. Feel free to let us know what has been great for you.
Constantly, I’m excited to receive folks on which we had an impact on their life because of the content we have been producing and they were excited about learning new things. If you’re one of those people, please send us a note. We would love that. Also, what we did wrong and what you would like to see. If you have any people that you would love to hear from, let us know as well.
This is the end of Season One, 82 episodes. Thank you very much. Thank you, Whitney, for bringing me to this place until now. Thank you, MJ, for all your effort at the beginning. Thank you to the team at eStreamly for putting this together. Thank you to the whole community that is supporting the eStreamly and the live shopping space in general. We will be back with another episode. Thank you, everyone. Until then, we’ll see you soon.
- Paragon Social Commerce
- Patti Reilly
- Are You Afraid to Livestream? Here’s What to Do – Past Episode
- Matt Hodlofski
- Taylor Capuano – Past Episode
- The Evolution of the Home Shopping World – Past Episode
- Ronald Pruett – Past Episode
- How to Be a Good Livestreamer – Past Episode
- Live Selling As A Life Skill – Past Episode
What is Live Shopping? Live shopping gives consumers the opportunity to purchase as they watch video streams. With social commerce, retailers can broadcast live video streams and engage with consumers in real time. eStreamly’s video commerce solution enables brands to host live shopping events across multiple channels. From shoppable live shows on social media to hosting video commerce events. Live shopping is the future of retail. Live streaming shopping apps, shoppable videos, these are the tools successful retail brands will need. eStreamly’s white label solution gives brands shoppable videos. As live streaming shopping gains momentum eStreamly is empowering retailers to leverage these Live streaming shopping apps and shoppable videos to drive higher conversion rates and connect with today’s mobile first consumers.