Are associates better than influencers for shopping livestreams?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt of a current article from the blog of Aptos.
Livestreams are fast becoming the cable-cutting generations’ QVC. And who better to connect with local shoppers through livestreams than local associates?
Associates truly understand the shoppers who walk through our front doors every single day to breed both authenticity and trust.
To be sure, influencers still have a place in our video marketing strategies, but most have long ago traded any hint of authenticity for a new sponsorship, a few more likes or one more fistful of followers. In addition to what I believe will be their soon-to-be-waning influence, influencers simply cannot connect with consumers at a local level.
Associates have actual authenticity, not exaggerated and subsidized claims of authenticity. (“These boots are soooo legit!”)
No swag, no stylized selfies. Just real people, talking about their real experiences with real products and real customers.
While associate livestreaming is still relatively new, a few streams are starting to appear.
One standout to me is Italian fashion retailer Motivi, which produces regular associate-led livestreams featuring store associates from across the chain. The “set” is well lit and free of distractions, the lighting and sound are excellent, and the associate presenters are personable, knowledgeable and even appear to be having fun.
But what really stands out to me is the viewing experience. Once joining a broadcast, participants engage with the presenters via an integrated chat function. I can share my reactions to the merchandise and see how other viewers are reacting. Shopping for pieces is just a click away, with the livestream even staying with me while I browse product details.
Great associate livestreams are not limited to large chains, nor to fashion and beauty categories.
Single-store Molbak’s Garden + Home center in Woodinville, WA, produces monthly livestreams that feature associates presenting gardening advice, do-it-yourself tips and product information. While there’s no commerce integration, associates are knowledgeable, (mostly) comfortable on camera and always (here’s that word again) authentic.
I think it may be time to press pause on those influencer-led livestreams and let our associates do the talking. In the long run, I have a feeling associates will probably “fake it” far less and sell much more.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should retailers use associates for livestreams rather than influencers? What are the likely advantages versus pitfalls to using associates in video marketing strategies?