I don’t need to tell you that the pandemic changed the way business gets done. For my little boutique, the change was kind of fun.
Someone in my industry once mentioned that they did a LIVE auction in store and that I should try it. It sounded cool, so I back-pocketed the idea for a future event. My father was an auctioneer by trade for over 40 years, so the idea wasn’t all that foreign to me. When I closed my two stores March 16th 2020 and laid off my staff, the auction idea went from back-pocket to front-pocket by the end of the day. It was strange going LIVE on Instagram while people were at home struggling in a place of uncertainty, with new clothing probably the last thing on their mind. My customers seemed excited about the idea though, which got me excited.
Game day was March 19th at lunch time. I promised a LIVE auction with a starting bid of $5 on product that just hit the floor for spring. Oh boy. If people didn’t join, I was going to take a big hit. Even with this, I knew that we can all use a good time and have some fun, and that loss was gonna be what it was.
Support from my family, a standing ring light, an iPhone, and a rack of clothes was all it took. The bidding began, and while it was challenging and different (strangest feeling to hear your own voice for two hours while still having dialogue with people) it really was a fun lunch hour!
The days that followed required hours of work to organize orders. It seemed so easy but communication had changed from that one on one in store ‘make a sale’ thing. On pick up days I had some of the nicest meetings with customers at the door. They were so kind and generous with their words of encouragement, and so I kept on going.
Eventually my staff started to come back and help, and we navigated LIVE stream shopping, two location pickups, inventory management, and payments, before it all just became a job on it’s own. Nearly two years later, we’ve hosted over 120 shows and events, and done over 300 hours of LIVE fashion sales. Shows with themes like the 70’s 80’s 90’s fashion, our regular new arrivals premiere shows, and the now annual 50% boxing week show. In fall of 2021 we made the move to weblives to sell our products directly from our site shopboa.ca. You simply watch us try it on, and add- to-cart from the side panel when you see what you like. The coolest!
LIVE selling is nothing new, the concept pioneered in the 70’s , became The Shopping Channel, and then selling on social platforms like Facebook. China took LIVE stream selling to the next level with weblives and direct shopping LIVE apps as early as 2012. Moving forward, I’m looking forward to seeing applications added to make the process of claiming an item on social media more streamline and direct, with check out right on the show. In the meantime we carry on selling to you through a screen, while you sit in the comfort of your home.
If you have not tried shopping LIVE with us, join one of our shows on Instagram @boaboutique or on our site shopboa.ca with the ‘join us live’ button.
At minimum…. You’ll have a good time.
Thanks for shopping at my little boutique