Livestream shopping, online training, customer support and events. By using the flexibility of micro studios alongside new ecommerce technology and live salespeople, several leading retail brands are experiencing big increases in sales and team engagement.

Micro studios are not expensive bijou apartments for busy city dwellers. They’re fully customisable spaces that can be used for almost any live or recorded event. Typically coming to life as either pop-ups or as dedicated locations, companies use them as one-offs for important events or permanent fixtures for always-on communication.

The retail evolution

In the beginning, retailers were on the High Street. Then came teleshopping followed by ecommerce. Hot on the heels of ecommerce was social media influencers touting brands directly and asking whether the world needed retailers at all.

Today, retailers are striking back as they battle alongside brands using the latest selling technique: livestream retail – a clever combination of all the above.

This retail model sees salespeople communicating and selling directly to customers from a studio or micro studio. This means retailers and brands can now effectively run their own ‘shopping channels’ and take customer service for ecommerce a step further.

Shedding a light on retail dark stores

Micro studios give retailers the opportunity to have their own TV shopping channel. They can also use them for livestreaming or video-streaming product demos, training sales staff or even turning a dark store into a customer service centre where consumers can talk to a live expert before making a purchase.

Micro studios can be sited in retail stores themselves – or set up to mirror a dedicated store environment – to enable one-to-one appointments with sales staff and customers via video link.

Looking to the east

Retailers are constantly looking for ways to engage with a largely detached – and easily distracted – audience. Getting consumer attention on digital platforms is hard enough; getting their attention and keeping them their long enough to make a purchase is fraught with problems.

As is so often the case these days, the latest innovations are coming from the east. Chinese retailers are using the latest ecommerce technology with significant results. Livestream shopping has gained massive traction in the east, and rapidly, with ecommerce giants such as Alibaba, Douyin and raking in millions of viewers monthly.

Now UK retailers are beginning to cash in on video shopping technology. M&S has recently hooked up with a leading service provider to create a live link with online shoppers. ‘Live Expert’ is designed to replicate the company’s in store customer service for online customers. No doubt, many others will follow suit.

Remote training

Lockdown forced several changes, and some of those were for the better. Live training that can be delivered to large numbers at once, or recorded and accessed on demand, has gathered great momentum and is here to stay. Using a micro studio for product and brand training gives a consistent and on-brand experience that has proven to be very effective for brands such as Samsung and HP.

Cost effective micro studios

It’s now easy for any retailer to get in on the act. Blue Square’s studios are fully kitted out and branded to fit your exact needs. They are flexible, cost-effective and can be an always-on space that’s an extension of your brand.

Tying in a livestream service with a particular campaign or event can see significant spikes in product sales. ITV recently launched a livestream retail service with Boots during the hugely popular Love Island TV show and saw product sales spike drastically.

For those of us without the studio space and equipment that ITV enjoys, it’s good to know that Blue Square can help companies benefit from the immediacy of livestreaming sales and online training.

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