By this point you are probably aware of livestream shopping and the major impact it is having on eCommerce. Since the trend itself is quite new and surrounded by a lot of mystery, many retailers might find it hard or scary to adapt to. One of the many myths that surrounds livestreaming is its costs. Every business needs to be careful with their budget (especially during such uncertain times) so we decided to give you a look into some cost effective tips & tricks to reduce your initial livestreaming expenses.

What makes livestreaming expensive?

  • Equipment

Stemming from lack of tech knowledge about the process of livestreaming, and combined with the image of professional Twitch streamers and Television broadcasters, many retailers will automatically dismiss the idea of going live with their products. Recording equipment in particular (both video and audio) can be the real heavy hitter when it comes to expenses. In January 2017 BBC announced it will be equipping its latest studio with Sony studio cameras, 8 of those being the Sony HDC-4300 4K/HD. A single one of these costs more than $68,600.

Equipment used by streamers, on platforms such as Twitch or YouTube, gives the same image of pricey equipment. Ninja, one of the biggest livestreamers ever, uses a microphone and camera with a combined price of up to $870. And that doesn’t even include other equipment.

  • The front-person

Hosts, influencers, entertainers, or whatever you wish to call the person in front of the camera, is someone who needs to be able to run a stream. You expect them to be funny, entertaining, and quick on their feet, someone who the viewers can vibe with. These are qualities some companies will pay top dollar for.

  • The background

A cool open brick Manhattan apartment, a rave-worthy warehouse, a posh restaurant, or a high-end fitness studio. These are a few lucrative locations used for streaming and broadcasting. No-one wishes to see a small dirty broom closet on a stream, and having a good location for recording can bump up the price.

  • Streaming services

Livestreaming services can also be a bit of a hit and miss. When using livestreaming for sales you expect certain functionalities, such as analytics, in-stream-purchases, live chat, and others. Certain livestream shopping providers can charge relatively big sums of money for such options, which makes them unavailable for smaller retailers.

Where can you save money when livestreaming?

Tech prices are dropping relative to wages and a lot of crucial elements for livestream shopping can be found at much cheaper prices. With a little craftiness and effort you should be able to keep the costs of your livestreams quite low, especially early on.

  • Recording equipment

As mentioned above, 21st century has a lot of benefits, one of which being the price and quality of everyday tech. Comparing prices of televisions over the last few decades we can see that when devices become more popular and mainstream, more manufactures emerge pushing the prices lower and quality higher. Recording equipment is one of such devices. Smartphones of today are better recording devices than cameras from a few decades ago. Instagram influencers, TikTok personalities, and others social media based popular individuals use their phones to record videos, or even stream. As a matter of fact you can start your livestreaming journey using the device you carry around with yourself everywhere.  

  • Host

Major brands use famous influencers to host their livestream shopping events. While this gives brands a certain level of prestige, it doesn’t come cheap. As a base point for calculating the prices of Instagram influencers brands estimate spending around $10 per 1000 followers for a single post. You can only imagine this price getting significantly higher with events.

The important thing to remember is that influencers are marketing devices first and hosts second. You do use them in events for their personalities, but you really get your money’s worth by the promotion among their followers. That means that you really don’t need them for your first few streams, while you test the waters. What we highly recommend, is looking into your own company for hosts. You never know, some members of your staff might be hidden stars waiting to be discovered. In addition, their genuine knowledge of your products and services will give an authentic experience viewers can identify with.  

  • Background/Environment

This point might be a little tricky as it will depend on what you can work with. Keep in mind that however your office, store, or home look, there are always ways to shift stuff around. Put a nice bookshelf as a background, paint a big empty wall, or maybe get a green screen if you wish to be fancy. As long as you can provide some aesthetic & camera-friendly background, your stream will be great.  

  • Streaming services

Streaming services have seen a boom over the last 10/15 years. E-sports have paved the way of livestreaming across the globe and e-commerce is about to reap the subsequent rewards. YouTube, Twitch, or Facebook, all of these platforms can allow you to stream for free, significantly reducing your costs, compared to certain livestream e-commerce platforms.

The only issue you might find is with usability, as these platforms were design for watching and for their interactive live chat. As a retailer you will probably need direct shopping options on your stream. Korkuma, a live shopping sales tool we are developing, will be cost effective  with all the functionality of big e-commerce livestream shopping tools such as Bumbuser or Buywith.

What’s the cheapest setup I can use for livestream shopping?

  1. Unless you are a rare exception, you, or one of your staff members, probably owns a smartphone which can be used as the main recording device, for both audio and video parts of your livestream event.
  2. The one thing we will highly recommend spending some money on at this point will be lighting. You might own a static retail store that has lighting that translates well onto video, you might even have some good lighting system yourself. On the off chance you don’t, try to get your hands on one of these ring lights. You can usually get one of these in the price range of $10-$50 dollars, depending on the included accessories, such as a stand.
  3. If you or one of your staff members are able to host the stream, that will allow you to save a lot of money. Try to find a nice place with a big wall in your store or in your offices. You can always move some furniture around and redesign spaces for an aesthetically pleasing background.
  4. To cut costs even more you can use free streaming services, however, we will recommend to spend some money on Korkuma once it’s live, since the features we provide can prove essential. Overall, this can bring your costs down to few dozen dollars.
Summary of must haves for live streaming
Hosting livestreams is not as expensive as you might think.

Obviously this is the most basic minimal setup you can start building on. Once the money starts pouring in you can look into investing in better equipment. Until then, this will be more than enough for those first few livestream shopping events.