12 Tips for Doing a Live Sale

By JJ Caldwell

live sale table setup

JJ Caldwell is a veteran of several successful live online sales. For these instant sales, she uses Instagram to show off her beautiful jewelry in a live story. Those watching her live feed can comment during the sale to indicate if they want to buy the item she's currently showing. She has generously shared some of her tips for those who want to give this sales tool a try. 

12 Live Sale Tips 

  1. Lighting. If you have an outdoor space, that is best. Diffused light, not noon light. 10 AM is always good. If it’s indoors, bring as much lighting to your table as you can. Floor lamps, overhead light—the goal is to saturate the space with as much light as possible.
  2. Table. Have a single table with all of your items on it. Make it look pretty. Inviting.
  3. Camera stability. Put your phone or camera on a stable tripod. Try to figure out the angle before going live and do a practice run.
  4. Tools. If you’re a jeweler, have your ring sizer next to you to verify sizes and a blacklight flashlight to double check if something is UV.
  5. Labeling. Have sticky notes ready. As soon as someone purchases and item, write down the price and the person's Instagram name and stick it on the item and put it aside. If you’re a jeweler, it’s helpful to have jewelry boxes all set up behind you and put in the piece along with a sticky note inside the box.
  6. Assistant. Have a second device where you can read people‘s comments, if possible. Better yet, have a partner be the one to read those comments and write down winners' names along with the price each item sold for.

promote your online live sale

  1. Advertise. Pick a time for your sale that works out for time zones across the country and/or the world. Promote your live sale for a few days ahead of time, the day before, and right before the sale starts.  
  2. Rules. Clearly state the rules. For example, whoever types in the price of the item first gets to purchase that item. On Instagram, you can pin the rules so they stay at the top of the screen. 
  3. Monologue. Be prepared to talk by yourself for 1 to 3 hours depending on how long your sale is. It’s awkward but try to directly speak to people as you see them comment. Be friendly, courteous, positive. Basically be yourself and how you would act if you had people in front of you at a festival.
  4. Time. Instagram allows you only one hour for a live feed. When the time is almost up, give people a heads-up that you’re going to end this part of the sale. You can restart another hour right away, so let your audience know if and when you'll be back. 
  5. Order. Have a plan with how you’re going to go through your items. In the messages, people will start to ask you about other items and it can get chaotic quickly. Keep control and stick to the order in which you’re going to proceed. Just remind people you’ll do your best to get to that item as soon as you finished the ones you’ve started.
  6. Fun. Have fun. It’s a wonderful way to engage with a lot of people at the same time. Be sure to thank them afterward.

thanks for coming

Most of these tips are for selling sea glass jewelry, but they can be adapted for selling art, accessories, books, and more. Please feel free to contact JJ on Facebook or Instagram if you would like support with planning your own live sale. 

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