Buying habits are changing. The modern consumer wants a close relationship and a dialogue with their favourite brands. In this regard online beauty retailer flaconi is one of the pioneers. This year the company has taken its marketing strategy to a new level with a successful live shopping format. We talk to Benjamin Ludigs, CRO at flaconi, about experiences with live shopping, how flaconi builds trust with premium customers and of course sponsoring this season’s Germany's Next Top Model (GNTM).
Since the first live shopping event in October 2020, flaconi has broadcast many times. What is your verdict?
The shows are a particularly valuable format for us to enter into a personal exchange with our customers. We can turn shopping in the show into an experience and inspire with our originality. In addition, we can present selected products live and informatively via our hosts, which are precisely tailored to our target group. The live shopping format also gives us the chance to be very spontaneous and respond to demand and short-term trends. It is an important tool for building authentic customer loyalty.
Can you describe ‘flaconi Live Shopping’ in your own words?
We decided on a modern, cool set-up with high recognition value. The hosts of the show rotate and we pay special attention when selecting them that they bring beauty expertise and authenticity and also act confidently in front of the camera. Having fun with entertainment is a must, and the host should be able to answer unexpected or very specialised questions with confidence. TV experience is a plus, because hosting 60 minutes live in front of a camera is a real challenge!
What are the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
A very important learning: you need to test the technical setup under real conditions! Apart from that, the presentation of the products is the most important thing. How do I represent textures, smells, how do I convey the effects of a skincare product? We have found that we can attract viewers with detailed information on ingredients and active agents and with a personal opinion. In addition, consumer questions are coming in thick and fast, which of course requires good and fast organisation and moderation so that the host can also respond to all questions live. Instagram offers the possibility to collect, select and display questions via the integrated Question Sticker. The topic of spam and hate comments also crops up repeatedly. We therefore monitor constantly during the live event so that we can quickly filter out bots and fake profiles.
What are your top tips for businesses thinking about launching a live shopping event?
Firstly, host and user engagement are key. This is the cornerstone of viewer loyalty. If the host fails to entertain the viewers and user questions/comments are not addressed, viewers are quickly disappointed and don’t tune in again. Secondly, a clear objective and awareness of the target audience should be considered when choosing the right channel. It is also important that the product and the buying moment also fit the format and channel.
How do you see the development of live shopping in Germany so far?
The potential is huge and far from being fully utilised. However, the same rules apply to live content as to any other content: those who are successful are those who create formats that create real added value, address the needs and zeitgeist of the target group and fit naturally into the respective channel.
And now to a completely different target group. flaconi carries over 850 brands on its platform, many of them from the premium segment.
How do you build trust with customers when it comes to high-end products?
We run an always-on concept with big TV campaigns. This ensures the flaconi brand is very well known and builds trust. We also strengthen this trust with content. The target group is always our starting point - that's why we always ask ourselves which content is relevant for which target group. This can be exciting new content such as an expert interview on the flaconi website or a social media campaign which aims to inspire.
As a leading online shop, performance marketing is extremely important for flaconi.
How does this work in practice and what role does daily steering play in this?
For us, it's all about transparency. What works and what doesn't? Where do we invest and where not? Many journeys start with Google and Facebook. If it doesn't work, then we change the strategy – it is as simple as that. In every campaign we set a clear target and that could be a daily, monthly or yearly target. We constantly analyse whether these targets are being met. If we don't reach the target, the campaign is dynamically - often automatically - adjusted.
This year flaconi is the main sponsor of Germany's Next Top Model.
Have you seen any positive effects as a result?
For branding and awareness, the sponsorship is fantastic because GNTM is a very relevant format for our target group. The understanding of beauty and diversity fits perfectly with our brand massage and the feedback on the 16th season has been great so far! Here we are able to target customers right at the top of the funnel. The flaconi ads just before the show goes to commercial break and right after the commercial break are also performing well.