How The Retail Industry Can Use Live Video

Adam Buchanan
5 min readApr 26, 2016

Live video is gaining a lot of attention lately as social users are starting to engage with brands through Periscope, blab, and Facebook Live. I’ll share ways to use Live video for retail brands and how to pitch this to your team. As much as this is an article about Live video, it’s really about transparency.

Let’s Talk Transparency

Think back to the first time you saw a live show where the content creators couldn’t hide behind edits or surprises during their presentation. This is the weatherman out in the rain, the radio DJ interviewing listeners about their relationship, or a beekeeper getting stung while filming a video about bees.

I actually have an example for the last one, because it was me. Watch here:

Now, the beekeeping video I could’ve edited or done a re-take. But I didn’t. I get asked all the time if I get stung by bees and I say, ‘yes, but let me tell you why’ and I take the opportunity to explain. This gives me the opportunity to be transparent which people like because transparency is a way we can connect with others on an emotional level.

Transparency is the opportunity for brands with live video. As marketers we can pull back the curtain and to share a raw view of our business. Your customers already see a raw view of the world on social media in their feed and through live video you can now offer up content that will feel more human and revealing.

5 Ideas for Live Video for Brands in Retail

The great thing about being in retail is that you have an interesting backdrop to do a live video. You also work with various experts in your business which gives you a strong roster of people to include in your videos. Here are five ideas to try this week in your retail business.

  • The Heritage of Our Business — Go find someone in your company who is the longest tenured employee. Ask them if they will go live with your customers to talk about when they first started, what it was like back then, and how the business has evolved. If you can get a founder or CEO, email me the video ( and I’ll send you some of my local honey for bonus points. Ask viewers how long they’ve been a customer and if they remember the good ol’ days.
  • How the Product is Made — This is can be tricky and I don’t want you to get in trouble with legal, but find out how much you can share. Find one of the designers of your product and ask if they will show you CAD’s or early designs of a product that is on the shelf. Ask viewers to chime in with questions or if they’ve used the product you’re featuring.
  • FAQ and Live Q&A Session — What are the top 5 questions you get EVERY month? Go live with a fellow co-worker who can help answer those questions and while you’re live ask the viewers what other questions you can answer for them. Make sure to save this video and make it easy to find on your site or on YouTube or Facebook.
  • Culture of the Office or Store— Have you ever been to the corporate headquarters of Best Buy? I haven’t. You may be bored with the big logos on the walls in your office but to a customer who has never seen it? It’s gold. Walk around during the live video, interview co-workers, ask what they are working on and ask viewers to comment on what they want to see or who they want to meet. Is it Taco Tuesday? Definitely go live because everyone loves tacos.
  • Community Shout Out Session — Go through your social feeds and find a few stories and photos from your community to feature during the live video. Give those people shout outs and tell them why it’s awesome they shared their stories or photos about your product. Thank them for the feedback and invite others to share as well. Live video doesn’t have to be just about you, make it about your community.

The Structure of a Live Video

Here’s a quick way to prepare for a live video. Don’t make it too structured but ensure that you have a solid flow.

  • Write up a brief outline of what you will broadcast and leave room for surprises.
  • Give co-workers a heads up if you’re going to interview them to make sure they are comfortable on camera.
  • Leave time for questions and make sure to invite viewers to comment. This for them, remember?
  • If you’re interviewing someone who isn’t in the office, set up the Skype well in advance on a laptop in advance. This won’t be the highest quality but if you have one of the founders this will be very impactful.
  • Tie in product announcements, app updates, and other more promotional announcement throughout the broadcast. If you’re wanting people to update the latest version of your app, go interview the developer and let them talk about why it’s cool.
  • Consider doing a weekly episode and invite your audience to subscribe to tune in.

Get Buy-In from Your Team

By now your boss has already heard of live video, we hope so right? If not, drop by every now and again and share relevant live video examples with them in the break room or at their desk. Try to avoid a big meeting with a big powerpoint making it into a big deal. You want to position live video as a low effort high impact tactic that shouldn’t need a ton of approval.

If you’ve been introducing social in a way that is paired with results your leadership will be stoked on live video as you’ll already have trust with them.

If you’re pitching this as YOU being the host of the live video and your leadership is hesitant, do a live broadcast from your personal page first to share with them how it went or what a live video looks like. Facebook live is perfect for this.

Good luck, have fun, and let me know how I can help. Let me know how you’re using live video and what results you’re seeing.



Adam Buchanan

Marketing and Business Consultant | Public Speaker | Influencer Marketing Strategist | Author | Beekeeper