Since Dec. 2021, makeup brand Too Faced has been testing out TikTok’s new livestream shopping feature. And as a result of its success, it is now adopting it as a core omnichannel opportunity.
After TikTok invited Too Faced — and Rare Beauty — to participate in the alpha stage of TikTok live shopping, Too Faced refined its livestream shopping strategy. The brand updated its approach to pinpoint what works and what doesn’t on TikTok, and what opportunity the platform offers as a sales channel.
Too Faced hosts multiple livestreams per week on TikTok’s livestream shopping channel, with an average run time of two hours each. Episodes are pushed to users via their For You page, plus users receive alerts about the events if they follow the makeup brand’s account or register for the event. Too Faced does have an experience in livestream shopping, via QVC and HSN partnerships. Too Faced has also done livestream shopping on Instagram, where its episodes are approximately 30 minutes long.
“The key is to educate, entertain and inspire. With livestream shopping, you’re able to have on your phone an expert makeup artist showing you how to get a full look. And she’s in real-time giving you feedback,” said Somer Tejwani, vp of global marketing for Too Faced. “We think the sales will come, but the first part is to build that authentic connection.”
On its first episode in Dec. 2021, Too Faced saw 72,500 unique tune-ins and 69,400 engagements, which were measured in comments, likes and follows. Too Faced offered livestream viewers a unique promo code and saw that 84% of the customers who purchased through the first live shopping event were new to TooFaced.com. “Products that sell well through a livestream are those that are ‘highly demonstratable,'” said Tejwani. This includes the brand’s Better Than Sex mascara and Lip Injection Maximum Plump. Another live shopping episode on March 9, as part of the brand’s International Women’s Day campaign, resulted in a total of 42,000 views.
Tejwani said that pre-show advertising does have a meaningful impact on viewership, and Too Faced has experimented with both ad-supported and unsupported episodes. Too Faced’s promotional and advertising tools include live ads, which amplify livestream shopping events into more For You pages. There are also ads that offer viewers the opportunity to register for the event and receive a notification. LaMott said the live ads have been the most useful thus far.
“TikTok shopping is definitely the priority. We’re able to get ahead of other brands and gain knowledge quickly,” said Taylor LaMott, director of global social media and influencer relations for Too Faced. “We still do Instagram live shopping, but those are much shorter segments and not as much work on the team. We didn’t really see a big opportunity for growth there, whereas TikTok has that opportunity.”
The potential for TikTok livestream shopping to be a cash cow for brands is big, even if it has not yet proven to be a core sales channel. According to TikTok’s “What’s Next” report released in February, 67% of TikTok users say the platform inspired them to shop even when they weren’t looking to do so. In 2020, livestream shopping events generated approximately $5.6 billion in U.S. sales, according to retail analysis firm Coresight Research. That’s projected to reach nearly $25 billion by 2023. Consulting firm McKinsey noted that, if the popularity of livestream shopping in China is any guide, then live commerce sales could account for as much as 20% of all e-commerce by 2026.
Tejwani said what should be key to any brand’s TikTok live-shopping strategy is hosting multiple long-form episodes a week with several hosts or assistant hosts. And any products already “organically performing well” should be spotlighted continuously in a live-shopping event.
Elyse Reneau, executive director of global beauty for Too Faced, is one of the ongoing hosts for the brand’s TikTok live-shopping segments. She said TikTok viewers tend to be more engaged and ask questions, compared to the brand’s Instagram audience. This is likely because Too Faced has loyal viewers on TikTok and the length of the livestream shopping events gives people more time to ask questions. Given the two-hour timespan per episode, Reneau said she breaks up the run of the show into 15-minute increments. Every 30 minutes, she announces a product giveaway. She said soliciting audience questions is also helpful to continue keeping the conversation going.
“Gen Z responds more to a friendship vibe,” said Reneau. “Whenever I start a TikTok livestream shopping event, I always say, ‘Go grab your makeup bag. Let’s do this together. This is your time to not think about anything else.’”
LaMott added that people love to “peek behind the curtain” of a brand. Plus, live-streamed videos don’t have to be studio-quality level filming. In fact, whether it’s Reneau or another person hosting, viewers like to see the host’s homes and personal lives in the background.
“Sometimes brands are hesitant to jump on something new like this because maybe they haven’t figured everything out. But no one’s figured everything out yet,” said LaMott. “The more brands are doing [TikTok livestream shopping], the more consumers are going to find out faster and understand faster that they can shop from it.”