How to Sell on Popular Livestream-Shopping Apps: Popshop Live, Whatnot


  • Livestream purchasing within the US is estimated to grow to be a $6 billion market this 12 months and $25 billion by 2023.
  • Small companies and resellers are utilizing livestream exhibits to personally join with prospects.
  • Our information breaks down the highest livestream platforms, how to get began, and suggestions from sellers.
  • See extra tales on Insider’s enterprise web page.

Vivian Nguyen is paying for school with squishy, plushy Kawaii-themed toys. Turns out, these cute Japanese characters are a profitable aspect hustle.

The San Francisco nursing scholar and influencer mentioned she began on YouTube and offered her merchandise on Mercari and eBay till she found Popshop Live, which launched in 2019. She turned one of many first sellers on the livestream-shopping app, which permits viewers to purchase the objects they see on her stream in actual time. In 2020, her enterprise Cyndercake netted greater than $60,000 in gross sales, which Insider verified with documentation. 

Livestream purchasing has been fashionable in China for over a decade, the place the trade is estimated to be price $305 billion this 12 months, up from $63 billion in 2019, in accordance to Coresight Research. The expertise has been in contrast to QVC, however it’s way more private than that — sellers converse immediately to their viewers, handle every viewer by identify, and tailor the present to questions requested within the chat. Pandemic-induced shutdowns accelerated the development’s ascension within the US, the place Coresight Research estimated the market might be price $6 billion this 12 months and $25 billion by 2023.

Experts say livestreams are the mall of the long run, the place folks will go to store, socialize, and be entertained. Retailers who use livestream sometimes broadcast wherever from three to eight hours, and a few Insider spoke with make $1,000 to $9,000 per livestream.

Vivian Nguyen - Popshop Live seller and influencer

Vivian Nguyen was one of many first sellers on the livestream-shopping app Popshop Live.

Courtesy of Vivian Nguyen


For small companies, livestreaming brings merchandise straight to prospects’ houses. But it is greater than a dwell feed of your store — it is about recreating the invention of the in-person purchasing expertise and the customized service of a pleasant retailer affiliate. Done proper, livestreams create a group of followers who look ahead to gathering in your on-line occasions, respect your experience, and are invested in your entrepreneurial journey.

Use the desk of contents beneath to navigate our information on one of the best livestreaming platforms, success tales from knowledgeable streamers, and the gear you want to get began. 

There are a number of startups taking on the livestream market within the US, however a couple of apps particularly stand out within the methods they make this gross sales channel accessible to small companies. 

Newtown HQ

Cindy Cortez is the proprietor of Newtown HQ, a retail retailer in New York. She makes use of Popshop Live to promote to prospects across the nation.

Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins/Insider


Popshop Live: for unbiased retailers

Dan Dan Li initially based Popshop Live as a peer-to-peer resale app, then revamped it in 2019 to grow to be a livestream-shopping app catered to retailers and e-commerce companies.

Li advised Insider the corporate had prioritized working with brick-and-mortar enterprise house owners as a result of so many have been hit exhausting by the pandemic. Livestreaming has been a approach for a lot of sellers to attain a complete new breadth of internet buyers.

“Before Popshop, they talked to one customer at a time, and now they can talk to hundreds of customers at the same time,” she mentioned.

Business house owners want to fill out an software to grow to be a vendor on the app. Li didn’t disclose how purposes are vetted, however Popshop Live is accepting extra purposes as the corporate’s crew grows, she mentioned.

Cost: Popshop Live takes a 9% fee on each sale. 

Cyndercake on Popshop Live

Screenshots of Vivian Nguyen’s Friday livestream present on Popshop Live

Jennifer Ortakales Dawkins/Insider


Whatnot: for collectors

Whatnot is sort of a millennial eBay catered to resellers and collectors. Founders Grant LaFontaine and Logan Head are collectors themselves and felt like their expertise on eBay hadn’t modified because the ’90s.

“Selling is now happening on social media with things like live video or posting things on Instagram,” LaFontaine advised Insider. “eBay didn’t have any of those tools, and even its existing tools weren’t really well-optimized for buyers and sellers of collectibles.” 

So in 2019, LaFontaine give up his job at Facebook, Head left his job on the sneaker-resale market GOAT, and collectively they began Whatnot in hopes of modernizing on-line resale. Last 12 months, the startup raised $four million in seed funding.

While anybody can store on Whatnot, not everybody can promote on the app, so companies have to apply for the wait checklist. The crew then opinions purposes and accepts established companies with a very good fame and excessive gross sales quantity on different platforms.   

Cost: Whatnot takes an eight% fee on each sale. 

 

Livescale: Shopify customers and luxurious manufacturers

Founded in 2016, Livescale began as a platform to assist content material creators with their livestreams. The firm then started to discover including purchasing options, and the pandemic introduced in dozens of manufacturers trying to maintain on-line dwell occasions whereas their prospects could not store in retailer. Last 12 months, the corporate partnered with Shopify in order that any enterprise with a Shopify account might simply combine dwell purchasing occasions into their e-commerce web site.

Virgile Ollivier, a cofounder and the CEO of Livescale, advised Insider livestream purchasing would quickly grow to be simply as essential for manufacturers as social-media advertising and marketing.

“Live shopping is the first step in what we call experiential commerce, that really huge space you have between retail and traditional e-commerce,” he mentioned.

Cost: Livescale prices sellers a month-to-month subscription payment, relying on the size of help they need. Plans for Shopify retailers begin at $490 a month. And within the coming weeks, the corporate might be releasing a lower-tier plan for $100 a month.

There are loads of different livestream-shopping platforms, like TalkShopLive, Ntwrk, and ShopShops, every with its personal type and person expertise. Explore all of them to determine which most closely fits what you are promoting wants.

Apps targeted solely on livestream purchasing present a disconnect on conventional social-media platforms. Robert Valentine and Lisa Bosco have been reselling Funko Pop collectible figurines — collectible bobbleheads of film, present, and cartoon characters — on Facebook and Instagram since 2018 below their model FunkoWhisperer. They mentioned they turned to Whatnot when Instagram’s dwell characteristic could not help their weekly dwell auctions. 

Robert Valentine and Lisa Busco - Whatnot sellers Funko Pop collectors

Robert Valentine and Lisa Bosco promote Funko Pops, amongst different collectibles, on Whatnot.

Courtesy of Robert Valentine and Lisa Busco


Instagram Live has a slight delay in broadcast, which presents an issue in facilitating seamless dialog and gross sales with viewers. Comments do not seem on the display screen in chronological order, hindering a really genuine public sale or preorder as a result of the vendor cannot make sure who claimed a product first.

“Whoever we saw wrote ‘claim’ first, they would get the Pop,” Bosco mentioned. “But sometimes it would just be all over the place. It was crazy.”

Instagram additionally would not present a approach to join livestreams to direct gross sales, so viewers aren’t technically making a purchase order till hours after the livestream. Valentine and Bosco manually wrote down who claimed every product, then they’d direct-message the winner to get delivery info and acquire fee by means of PayPal or Venmo. The complete course of was time-consuming, and with none cash on the road, they risked dropping the sale if the winner backed out.

Once they moved their auctions to Whatnot, it turned a much-smoother and automatic course of. Livestreams, feedback, and bids are broadcast in actual time. So once they maintain an public sale, the winner immediately secures their buy and will get charged immediately by means of the app.

There are 5 foremost parts sellers want to achieve success on livestream platforms, in accordance to enterprise house owners who’ve made hundreds of in gross sales by means of livestreaming. 

Vivian Nguyen - Popshop Live seller and influencer

Nguyen designed her personal characters for merchandise as well as to the squishy and plushy toys she sells on Popshop Live.

Courtesy of Vivian Nguyen


Personality will get prospects invested in supporting you

Like YouTubers, livestream sellers ought to have an genuine character and a presence that engages viewers. Nguyen suggests sellers get snug with being on digicam and actually displaying their personalities as a lot because the merchandise.

“Sell yourself and your products in a way where people would be interested in supporting you and purchasing the products, not just for the item but also because of who you are as a person,” she mentioned.

When Nguyen launched an unique set of characters for stickers and key chains, she advised her viewers the story of how she designed them and the place she acquired the inspiration.

“That’s what made my viewers more in love with my brand,” she mentioned. She offered out of the merch inside seconds. 

Expertise is vital to gaining prospects’ belief

Next, sellers’ experience is a serious a part of establishing belief and authenticity, and it goes past surface-level product information. 

Most profitable livestreamers are immersed in the identical hobbies and pursuits as their prospects. If you promote anime merchandise, you must know the tales behind the characters. Or in the event you promote baseball playing cards, you must observe the game and skim up on baseball historical past. Viewers discover in the event you’re actually passionate in regards to the subject, they usually might fall off if you do not know what you are speaking about.

Valentine recommends following the exhibits your prospects are watching in order that when one thing main occurs within the newest episode of say, “Stranger Things,” he is aware of he ought to promote Funko Pops of the present’s characters that week.

“You gotta relate to the Pop that you’re selling,” Valentine mentioned. “I know people — they’ll sell things they can’t even pronounce the name, and that kind of irks me.”

Create an setting the place prospects need to hangout

While the purpose is to promote merchandise, viewers count on an off-the-cuff setting that looks like they’ve logged on to hang around with pals. Think of how a morning-talk-show host includes the viewers, as a substitute of simply speaking at them. The common livestream present runs from a couple of hours to a full eight-hour workday, so sellers want to give you the chance to hold viewers . 

A very good playlist within the background may also set the tone for viewers to linger.

“There’s a lot of the same customers that come to our lives, and they stay the whole three to five hours,” Bosco mentioned.

“Sometimes they won’t even buy anything — they’ll just want to watch,” Valentine added.

Basic tools will make your present look extra skilled

You can begin livestreaming with out main tools, however a couple of fundamentals will elevate the standard of your present. First, you often cannot livestream and not using a telephone or pill, since most apps usually are not obtainable for desktop. Plus, a handheld machine is greatest for simply shifting round your house. You’ll additionally want a steady web connection. If your WiFi is spotty, think about getting an extender to guarantee your present will not lag or reduce out.

Next, a tripod will hold your telephone steady and permit you to alter the peak and positioning. Look for a mannequin that makes it simple to take away your telephone while you need to change to handheld midlivestream. Cindy Cortez, the proprietor of Newtown HQ in New York, makes use of her tripod to rapidly transfer round her retailer when viewers request to see particular merchandise. She additionally switches to a smaller tripod when she desires to lay merchandise out on a desk.

Depending on the product you promote, you might have considered trying to spend money on some inventive shows like cabinets or stands. Valentine and Bosco use an automatic turntable once they public sale off Funko Pops to allow them to simply present all angles of the piece.  

Finally, you may need good lighting in your house so viewers can see merchandise clearly. If you do not have already got ample lighting in your retailer or workplace, you may get a hoop mild or a few standing lights.

Consistency and engagement hold prospects loyal

Once you’ve got all of the fundamentals, the remaining comes over time with consistency. Most sellers livestream a minimum of as soon as per week, on the identical time so their followers at all times know when to count on a present. They additionally use different social-media platforms like Instagram and Facebook to promote their exhibits and supply previews of the merchandise they’re going to be showcasing. Building anticipation and demand behind a launch or occasion may also increase engagement, in accordance to a WGSN report. 

“Always be consistent and active because your followers will notice,” Nguyen mentioned. “If they see you disappear for a couple of months, they kind of start to forget about you and wonder where you’ve been.”



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