How to Host a Live Sale for Your Online Boutique (Plus 5 Live Sale Ideas)

How to Host a Live Sale for Your Online Boutique (Plus 5 Live Sale Ideas)
Charlene Boutin Charlene Boutin Jan 20, 2024 —  13 min read

Online boutique owners have more competition than ever, which means standing apart from your competitors can be a challenging endeavor.

One of the most effective ways to capture and retain customers is to build a relationship with them and nurture loyalty. And if you haven’t tried hosting live sales for your online boutique yet, you’re missing out on a powerful channel to build those relationships.

So what are live sales, anyway, and how can you launch one for your own online store?

Let’s discover five live sale ideas for online boutiques and take a deep dive into an inspiring example of a successful live sale event.

What is a live sale?

A live sale is a promotional event during which you or another member of your team broadcasts a video live stream to showcase your boutique’s products.

During the live stream, audience members can purchase the products you show them — and you’ll usually encourage them to interact with you and ask questions.

Unlike traditional online sales, a live sale is interactive. They’re the closest thing you’ll get to hosting in-person promotions at a brick-and-mortar store.

Live sale hosted by Holo Taco on YouTube

As the name suggests, live sales happen in real time. Because your customers have direct access to you (or another representative of your brand), they can see your products in action and get any concerns addressed directly.

Live sales can occur on social media, but you can also host them on video platforms such as YouTube or Twitch. The platform itself doesn’t matter as much as what you’ll do during your event and how many people show up to follow along.

Why should you host a live sale?

Live sales are one of many sales promotion types you can host as an online boutique owner. So why should you host a live sale instead of other types of promotions?

Live sales are especially powerful for boutique store owners who have a small but dedicated audience — or those who want to build such an audience. Going live with your audience allows you an opportunity to connect with them, speak to customers in real time, and learn more about what they want from your online boutique.

According to forecasts, the US live stream Ecommerce market could be worth about $35 billion by 2024. So it’s nothing to sneeze at.

In short, live sales are like jet fuel to build a community around your brand. And community-building for brands can:

  • Increase your brand awareness without additional ad spend
  • Turn customers into brand advocates
  • Generate more word-of-mouth sales
  • Increase customer trust and retention
  • Help you improve your customer support

Plus, the replays generated from live sales can be repurposed into additional marketing material. For instance, you can create clips of the highlights to share on all your social media platforms. Or, you can use the discussions generated during the live sale as fodder for email newsletter ideas.

Live sales also give your audience an opportunity to see your products in your hands.

If your customers have specific questions about your products or want demonstrations, you can easily adapt to live comments as they pop across your feed.

Finally, live sales are the best way to answer customer questions quickly and directly. Customers who have concerns or unanswered questions are more likely to abandon their shopping cart. But when you’re available on a live stream, you can address these concerns before they abandon their purchase.

Live online sales allow you to show up as if you were interacting with customers in a brick-and-mortar store. The difference is that your customers can join you from anywhere in the world — and there’s no limit to how many people can join.

What do you need to host a live sale for your online boutique?

If you’ve decided live sales are a strategy you want to try, make sure you consider all the key elements to make yours a success.

1. A business page on social media or a video streaming platform

Any platform that lets you host a live stream is a good place to create your live sale, including but not limited to:

  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitch
  • TikTok
  • Amazon Live
  • Etc.

You’ll need to have an existing account to go live on many of these platforms. In some cases, such as TikTok, you’ll also need a certain number of followers.

There’s no right or wrong platform to choose. However, you can use tools like OneStream to broadcast your live sale in multiple places at once.

💡 If you take this approach, make sure you have a staff member moderate the comment section on the other platforms, so you don’t miss important questions.

But social media and video streaming platforms aren’t the only options to host a live sale. For instance, you can use a webinar platform such as Zoom Webinar or EasyWebinar instead.

These platforms will give you more control over your viewers. You can even restrict access to people who’ve previously signed up if you want to make your live sale feel more exclusive or VIP.

Just keep in mind that your audience may already be on these social media platforms, which makes it easier to reach them. For instance, Instagram users will see who’s live at the moment at the beginning of their Story feed, which means all your followers who are currently online will get notified if you use Instagram to go live:

Instagram notifies users of brand accounts that are currently live streaming

That’s why public platforms are usually the best option for live sales. But if there’s a good reason to host your live sale on a private platform instead, know it’s still an option.

Finally, consider that some platforms have built-in tools to help your audience shop. For instance, Amazon Live has the literal tagline “Shoppable Videos”.

2. An audience

The whole point of running a live sale is to do it in front of a live audience! Before you go live, you’ll need to make sure you can get the word out to as many people as possible.

You don’t necessarily need to have a huge social media presence to host your first live sale. For instance, you can use live sales to connect with other creators and expand your audience. But you can also send an email to your list to invite people to join you during the live stream.

If you’re using a public platform to host your live stream, make sure you at least have a few subscribers. By doing so, you’ll notify people who are online when you go live.

We’ll discuss how to get your audience on your live streams a bit later.

3. A camera and microphone

For live sales to work best, you or your brand representative need to show your face on camera. Your audience will get to see you and literally “put a face on the brand”. It’ll be much easier to communicate with your viewers when they can see your visual expressions.

But don’t worry about getting an expensive setup. Although you can get a higher-quality image and clear sound if you invest in better live streaming gear, it’s not necessary to get started.

All you really need is a mobile device!

If you have to choose between upgrading your audio or your video equipment first, choose the audio. Even a $50 microphone can significantly increase the quality of your audio compared to what you’ll get by using your mobile device only.

4. Products on hand

One of the advantages of hosting a live sale is the ability to demonstrate your products. So it’s important to stock up on the products you intend to promote if you don’t have them on hand already.

Cabbage brand hosts live sales on TikTok

Not only can you showcase your products directly, but you can also answer questions more easily as they come up on the live chat using demonstrations.

If it takes a long time to receive products from your manufacturer, make sure to plan your live sale in advance. On the other hand, if you make products yourself, just make sure you keep enough stock on hand for all the live sales you want to host.

5. A simplified ordering process

As you’re speaking to your live audience, you should make it as easy as possible for them to order products from you.

Some platforms will let you create shoppable live streams. For instance, brand owners can use YouTube to add a Live Shop during a live stream. The live shop is also available for anyone who watches the replay.

Holo Taco enabled the live shop option during their boutique live sale

But what if you’re using a platform without these shoppable features? If you can’t add links, consider implementing QR codes into your live stream. Another option would be to create shortened URLs and tell your audience how to access them.

How to host a live sale from start to finish

Now you know what elements you need to host your own live sale event. Here’s how to plan and execute a live sale for your online boutique to maximize its potential.

1. Define the logistics

Get your ducks in a row before you plan to promote a live sale. For example, what platform(s) can your audience find you on? Which time do you plan to go live (and in what time zone)? What will live viewers get out of the experience?

You’ll also need to define how your audience can purchase from you. In some cases, that’ll require you to set up your platform in advance to link your products to your live stream. In other cases, you’ll need to get creative to find ways to make the purchasing process easier for your live viewers.

Whichever platform you choose, make sure to test everything ahead of time. You’re bound to come across technical issues, and it’s always best if you can iron out those kinks before you’re in front of a live audience.

2. Pick a live sale theme

If you already have a loyal audience who loves interacting with you, it may not be as important to define a theme for your live sale. However, most live sales should have a purpose — or a theme.

Are you unveiling a brand-new product? Will live attendees have the chance to win something? Do you have a special guest in store? Find a solid reason your audience should show up to your live sale instead of doing something else with their time.

🙋 Not sure where to start? Scroll to the final section of this post for five live sale ideas to borrow from!

3. Create some promotional content to invite your audience

Once you’ve sorted out the details of your live sale, it’s time to invite your audience.

The promotional content you launch will depend on where your audience lives. For example, if you have a large TikTok audience, consider posting some videos on TikTok to let people know how they can join the event.

The Witch basket brand is hosting a live sale for their boutique on TikTok

If you have a business page on Facebook for your boutique, you can even create an event to let customers RSVP. But you don’t have to rely on Facebook — platforms such as Eventbrite allow you to organize events and handle RSVPs without social media.

Make sure you send one or more marketing emails to your email list, too.

A newsletter designed to announce the upcoming boutique live sale

Finally, make sure you promote your live sale event on your website using Getsitecontrol popups. Getsitecontrol is an easy-to-use popup builder, and it will help you add announcements to your website within minutes.

Here is the template that will work:

Overall, popups, floating bars, and slide-ins can help you accomplish several tasks:

  • notify visitors of the upcoming live event
  • collect emails in exchange for access to a VIP live sale
  • promote your live sale on your website in real time

The app is free for 7 days, so if you’re hosting a sale soon, you may benefit from it even before your trial period is over.

4. Go live and (remember you’re live!)

It’s time to hit the “live” button and start your live sale!

Throughout your live sale, remember you’re live. This means viewers will come and go as you continue the event. Provide context regularly for newcomers so they can easily get situated with what’s going on.

Remember to interact with your audience, too. This is a feature that you can only use during a live sale. Read the comments, ask questions, and chime in with commentary on what people are saying.

5. End the live event with a call to action

Once you finish the event, remember to give a final call to action to your audience. For instance, you can ask them to subscribe to your channel or join your email list.

Additionally, you can remind viewers how they can buy the products you just showcased during the event. Another fun way to end your live stream is to ask people to post photos of themselves with your products once they receive their shipments.

5 live sale ideas for your online boutique

The sky’s the limit when it comes to hosting a live sale for your online boutique. Here are five fun ideas you can try if you don’t know where to start.

1. Giveaways for your live audience

Customers love receiving free stuff. To incentivize more of your audience to join you during the live event, consider hosting a giveaway that’s limited to live viewers only.

Anyone who wants a chance to win will need to attend the live sale. But many people who don’t end up winning will stick around to interact with you — and you might just land a new customer or two (or more!).

You can also ask people to engage with your live video to enter the giveaway. For example, JC Penney hosted a $100 giveaway for anyone who commented or asked a question during the live stream.

JC Penny hosted a live sale on YouTube and promoted it via a giveaway

2. New product or collection announcement

Whenever you have a new product or collection coming up, you can make an event out of it. To incentivize people to join your live sale, you can tease coupons or promotional codes that will only be disclosed during the live event.

Holo Taco performs a live sale almost every time they launch a new nail polish collection. I’ll dissect one of their latest live sales later so you can understand all the moving pieces.

Holo Taco hosts a live sale event every time they launch a new collection

Live product launches are especially powerful if you don’t have a lot of stock for your boutique. Your most loyal customers will know they need to show up live, so they don’t miss the new products.

3. Host a guest

Want to grow your audience? You can host a guest or an influencer to “borrow” that person’s audience and credibility during your live sale.

Your guest can show up on your live stream, but you can also ask your guest to host the event on their platform if they’re open to the idea. Keep in mind you’ll likely need to compensate someone when you borrow their platform in this way.

4. Perform a product demonstration

There’s no better way to prove to your audience that your product works as intended than by demonstrating it.

If you sell apparel, you can use demonstration live streams to create lookbooks and other inspirational content. But here are some other suggested demonstrations you can do depending on your niche:

  • Crafting products: a live knitting party for a new yarn collection, or a swatching session for watercolor paints
  • Consumer electronics: LED light setup, or doing a live workout with a new fitness tracker
  • Beauty brands: “Get ready with me” content or swatching
  • Pet products: Seeing which toys your dogs will choose first, or sharing treats with your cats

If you sell physical goods, there’s likely a good way to demonstrate how they work on camera, so take advantage of that.

5. Educate your audience with a themed live stream

Finally, you can move away from the “hard sell” and use a live sale event to educate your audience. Content marketing is a powerful tool for online boutiques, and doing this type of content live is a great way to build a relationship with your audience.

For example, this live stream by fashion and lifestyle influencer Fit Momming was all about the topic of packing for the beach. Although this person is an influencer and not a brand owner, you can take the same principle and promote your own products by educating your audience about a specific theme.

Fit Momming host a live sale to educate their audience about ways to pack for the beach

Breakdown of a live sale with Holo Taco

Let’s conclude everything by taking a look at a real live sale example, from the teasers to the announcements all the way to the actual live event. Holo Taco is an amazing example to follow because the owner, Cristine, uses live sales for nearly every single product launch.

One of Holo Taco’s most recent launches was their 3rd-anniversary collection. To make this live sale feel special, the brand gave it an air of exclusivity from the start. Email subscribers received this teaser email, so they’d know something was coming soon.

A teaser email from Holo Taco at the beginning of their live sale campaign

Shortly after, subscribers received this invitation via email. Notice how official everything looks! Holo Taco makes its subscribers feel like they’ve been invited to a truly special event.

Holo Taco uses official email invitations to ask brand fans to join their live sale

Once they fully locked the website in preparation for the live sale, subscribers received some final email reminders:

Boutique live sale countdown example from Holo Taco’s email

And once the collection launched, Holo Taco sent out this email while the live sale was happening:

Final email invitation to a live sale from Holo Taco

The brand did send more promotional emails after the live stream ended, but for now, let’s switch over to see what the live event felt like.

Anyone who tuned in a little early got to listen to some music and interact in the chat with this image in the background.

What a live sale by Holo Taco looked like at the beginning of the stream

And once Cristine went live, viewers could see a timer counting down to the moment of the launch! Before the collection launched, Cristine used this time to chat with her audience and get everyone excited.

The brand founder greets the audience during the boutique live sale

To keep the “black-tie gala” theme going, Holo Taco even used themed music, and Cristine dressed for the occasion.

Before the collection went live on the website, Cristine took a moment to reveal the new collection box and give a sneak peek to her live audience.

Product sneak peek at the beginning of a live sale stream

And once the website unlocked and the collection went live, here’s what Cristine did:

  • Guided her viewers through the website to showcase the new collection
  • Displayed a live update of the percentage of collection sets remaining in stock (so live viewers wouldn’t miss it before it sold out)
  • Played a demo video to showcase the new products in the collection
  • Made a celebratory toast
  • Shared some behind-the-scenes footage of the creation of the collection
  • Updated viewers when one specific product had sold out
  • Explained the science behind one of the new nail polish formulas in the new collection
  • Showed the live visitor count to her audience from Shopify

Live visitor count during the Holo Taco boutique’s live sale

But that’s not all! She also used the power of user-generated content to share examples of manicures people had done in preparation for the gala:

Holo Taco uses UGC during their live sale

She also polled her audience to find out what they wanted to see next.

The entire event lasted 2 hours and 47 minutes. But Cristine also created a 15-minute Highlights video so that other viewers could get caught up without having to sit through the entire replay.

Now you might be wondering — do I have to perform the same bells and whistles as Holo Taco to host a successful live sale? Of course not! You can keep it as simple — or make it as complicated — as you want to.

But the Holo Taco anniversary gala wasn’t successful just because of all the bells and whistles. What makes it special is how much care was put into making sure the audience felt like they were part of a real event, even if this event wasn’t in person.

And that’s exactly what your live sales should do. Your viewers should feel that your live sale is a real event.

Although you’re on the other side of a screen, you’ll see how powerful it can be to come together with your customers like this.

Sell out your products with these live sale ideas

You don’t need to have a huge brand to promote your boutique using live sales. In fact, using live sales can not only help you sell your products, but also grow your audience at the same time.

If you’re looking for an easy way to promote sales and retain your customers, Getsitecontrol is another tool that is worth trying! Use it to create email signup forms, coupon boxes and promo popups for your store without coding.

Charlene Boutin is a freelance content writer & email marketing strategist for hire specializing in helping Ecommerce and SaaS businesses increase conversions by growing authentic relationships with their audience. She loves helping business owners tell their unique stories to capture the hearts of more customers.

You're reading Getsitecontrol blog where marketing experts share proven tactics to grow your online business. This article is a part of Ecommerce marketing section.

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