About the author : Mike Dragan

Mike Dragan is the cofounder and COO of Oveit, a global company focusing on live experiences technology, both virtual and in-person. Oveit was started in 2016 with the goal of improving how brands deliver live experiences to their customers and now serves over 3000 customers across 4 continents. Mike has over 15 years building digital products, with a large experience in digital shopping. He has worked with some of the largest consumer brands in the world, advising on their digital go to market strategy. Mike holds two degrees, one in International Economics and one in Computer Science.

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Live shopping at trade shows

What is the one type of event where people meet one another to promote and sell and buy goods? It’s the trade show, of course. It’s the one place where merchants and buyers meet in real life, interact with each other, sell and buy goods. Today – we are going to talk about a special kind of trade show and how it’s being reinvented using live shopping: the book trade show.

Streams.live went live at Bookfest, one of Europe’s most popular book fairs. It was the first edition since 2019 as the trade show was paused during the pandemic. Authors and publishers were there, the readers were there and even more important – the energy was there. 

We’ve talked to authors about their books, we’ve met book buyers and we met publishers and distributors. It was fun, packed with very interesting insights and lots of opportunities to test our live shopping formats and live shopping app.

Here’s a few of the things we’ve discovered:

Live shopping is a great addon for trade shows

One thing that is really important about trade shows is that they mostly draw in people from the surrounding areas. However, the content that is produced and showcased at a trade fair can have national and even global impact. The products (in this case the books) that are launched at the trade fair can be sold online and purchased by anyone, anywhere.

At the same time, trade fairs are great ways for sellers and producers (in this case authors) to interact with buyers and the other way around. Traditional one-way streaming just doesn’t cut it. With live shopping, viewers can interact with the people on the screen, ask questions and even buy.  Live streaming is a great fit for entertainment but when it comes to commercial events, the best choice is live shopping.

What works best for live shopping – landscape or portrait?

We tested this so you won’t have to worry about it. Both formats work in different ways, on different devices. There is, however, one important difference: who’s watching the live shopping session and on what device?

In our case we tested the visual aspects in relationship with two types of content: author interviews and discussions VS. book launches and publisher presentations. The first one was paced at a slower rhythm, easier to watch at home. The second one was targeted towards people interested in discovering new books and purchasing them on the go. 

The author’s discussions were mostly watched on desktop devices, smart TVs and tablets. In this format the authors explained their creative process, their challenges and they interacted in a fun, easy to watch way with the audience. Here, the right format we discovered to be landscape as more screen space allowed for a better overview of the content being filmed.

The second format was targeted towards the product discovery aspect of book buying. Authors and publishers presented the books, together with our content creator hosts and viewers were inclined to buy. As this was mostly viewed from mobile devices, we discovered that the right content format was portrait. This way the mobile device format was better supplied with relevant content.

Break on through to the other side – how to sell live from trade shows

If there is one thing that merchants of all sorts do at trade shows is they break the physical wall between them and potential buyers. Your customers can see and experience the products. They chat with you and ask questions. They engage. Trade shows are great ways for you to meet your customers, connect, receive feedback and … sell.

But, and this is a big but, 2 years of pandemic and virtual events have shown us that live streaming can only be a one way channel. Most of the concerts you saw and the conferences you have visited virtually were basically one-way. Someone stood on a stage, maybe asking questions to someone else and you … watched. At least for a few minutes, before you get bored.

Live shopping, on the other hand, is interactive. It requires the people in front of the camera to interact with the people watching them on a tablet or phone screen.

What we’ve noticed is that when it comes to great live shopping content you need to connect with the audience. Show them the product, ask them questions and answer. Play games, chat with them. Encourage them to leave comments.

Here’s a few tips we noticed work really well when doing live shopping from a trade show:

  • Ask the audience to interact with you;
  • Physically talk to the camera (which is basically the people at home);
  • Showcase the products to the camera. Hold them there. Turn them around;
  • Take questions from the audience;
  • Alternate between camera footage and in-motion mobile footage;
  • Demo the product and answer any questions in real time;
  • Ask the audience what to do next.

About the author : Mike Dragan

Mike Dragan is the cofounder and COO of Oveit, a global company focusing on live experiences technology, both virtual and in-person. Oveit was started in 2016 with the goal of improving how brands deliver live experiences to their customers and now serves over 3000 customers across 4 continents. Mike has over 15 years building digital products, with a large experience in digital shopping. He has worked with some of the largest consumer brands in the world, advising on their digital go to market strategy. Mike holds two degrees, one in International Economics and one in Computer Science.

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