Photo courtesy of CommentSold.

Gift Shop Plus Spring 2024
Mastering Live Selling: How real-time social media videos could help your business By Abby McGarry

In the past few years, live selling has emerged as a successful way for many retailers to increase their customer engagement and sales. This modern approach to retail combines the convenience of e-commerce, the immediacy of live video and the secret sauce for most independent gift shops: personality.

Kimberly Weaver is events and partnerships manager for CommentSold, a platform for shops to sell live across social media channels and their own websites and mobile apps. Weaver shared some tips and tricks for getting started — or for taking live selling to the next level — and why this strategy is so beneficial.

“You’re able to both educate and entertain through live selling,” she said. “There is an increase in customer lifetime value because customers spend more money with you when they’re educated and entertained.”

More than half (52%) of shopping carts convert through live sales compared to approximately 2% of traditional e-commerce shopping carts, according to Weaver. Also, 2% or less items are returned, compared to an average of 21% with traditional e-commerce.


If you’re not already posting on social media regularly, that’s a preliminary step before getting into live selling. “It’s not about having a million followers,” Weaver
said, “it’s about having a group of actively engaged followers.” Then, you’re ready for live selling.

The optimal frequency of live sales depends on the retailer’s audience and capacity. Whether it’s once a week or multiple times a day, the key is consistency. Weaver compared this to television scheduling, where viewers come to expect their favorite shows at the same time each week.

Similarly, customers are more likely to tune into live sales if they know when to expect them.

“Commit at first to just doing one live sale a week. Do it at the same time every single week and promote it,”
Weaver said. “Give yourself time — four to six weeks really of doing it at that same time consistently to really gauge what your audience is going to be like.”


There is no single right or wrong way to do live sales. According to Weaver, your customers shop with you because they like you, so it’s all about building that relationship with people just like you do in your brick- and-mortar store.

“They want to spend time with you. That’s the whole thing,” Weaver said. “Just be yourself, know that you’re not going to be perfect, and that you are going to make mistakes sometimes. Just go with the flow because that’s what people want to see.”

Both active selling and passive selling can work equally well when it comes to live selling. Weaver gave the example of holding up a shirt and telling people how it fits as active selling, while showing all the tools needed before planting a specific plant as more passive or educational selling.

The interactive nature of live video allows retailers to showcase a wide variety of products, from clothes to unique gift items to large home décor pieces in a dynamic and engaging manner. The ability to set shipping prices or encourage in-store pickup also provides flexibility.


CommentSold has streamlined the live selling process by offering integrated inventory management, fulfillment services and multi-platform broadcasting capabilities.

“The cool thing about CommentSold is you can go live on your website, the mobile app that we develop for you, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok all at the same time,” Weaver said. “It doesn’t matter where your customers hang out, you can hit them all at the same time.”

This type of service also sends real-time invoices, helping eliminate much of the time retailers spend after a live video and minimizing buyer’s remorse.

“We all know that FOMO [fear of missing out] is a huge part of shopping, especially retail shopping, so by the time that you’ve gotten that invoice out four hours later … they might not see it till the next morning,” Weaver said. “Then they’re like ‘I don’t want that anymore,’ and you’re going to lose that sale.”

Getting customers to buy when they’re ready is key, and with Generation Z and millennial shoppers driving video commerce, they’re going to be ready to buy for a long time to come.

Featured photo courtesy of CommentSold.

Abby McGarry

Abby McGarry is the former editorial director of the Retail Group, including Gift Shop Plus, Stationery Trends and Lawn & Garden Retailer.

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