Live streaming shopping (or live shopping) combines the best of social media, celebrity and ecommerce. It gives you a glimpse into the future of ecommerce. This article will answer the question “What is live shopping?”. We’ll take a look at this growing trend in ecommerce, discuss its significance, and show you how brands are succeeding in it. To show you how live shopping works, we’ll use real-world examples.
What is Live Shopping?
It is sometimes called live shopping. However, other terms such as live stream shopping and social shopping are also used.
Live shopping, regardless of its name is similar to QVC, HSN, and ShopHQ. However, instead of selling their products on TV, brands can sell their products alongside influencers who stream content via social platforms. This allows them to effectively sell products through sites like Instagram, Amazon and Twitch. Live shopping is a way to find something that you won’t see on TV. While purchasing a QVC product would require you making a call to order, live shopping allows the customer to click through online and make an instant purchase.
What is the live shopping experience?
- It is a live, streaming show, presentation or entertainment segment that is done online.
- This is usually done through a social media platform such as Instagram, YouTube or TikTok. However, Amazon and other shopping platforms such as Alibaba also offer this option.
- It often uses a celebrity, influential person, or key opinion leader to host and promote products.
- It is often available for consumers on all types devices, including smartphones, desktop computers and streaming devices such as the Roku.
- It allows you to make a payment directly from the streaming service, or separately via ecommerce.
We are seeing a mix of old ecommerce strategies and new technology. HSNs and QVCs around the globe still have thriving businesses. They offer a way for brands and retailers to market their products and reach those who are most interested in buying through their televisions.
Many people see shopping networks as outdated, boring or lacking entertainment value.
With the rise of influencers and technology for streaming and online commerce, there is a tremendous opportunity to modernize traditional shopping networks. Technology, fashion, and home goods brands have the opportunity to partner with celebrities and other notable figures to create livestreamed content that is more likely to reach younger customers. While formats vary, some brands want to keep the QVC feel while others prefer to share real-world clips of celebrities using products (e.g. fashion shows or fitness videos). The influencer will tell customers that they can purchase the product online, rather than having to call a customer and give their credit card number.
Live Shopping on Platforms
By a long shot, Instagram is the leader in live shopping.
Not only do most online influencers have a strong presence on Instagram, but there’s actually a feature called Instagram Live shopping for product demonstrations, inviting buyers into the live stream and running collaborative shopping streams alongside other influencers.
To run an Instagram Live Shopping campaign, you must:
- You can be located in the United States. This may be extended to other countries in future.
- Create an Instagram Business account.
- Checkout capabilities activated on this account
Both your brand and influencers who talk about the product need to comply with Instagram Live Shopping guidelines. It only works if the influencer that you hire has a Business account, and is located in the United States.
Instagram Live Shopping merges its Shops feature and that of Instagram Stories Reels, Feeds, and Reels. Shops allows brands to create ecommerce storefronts on Instagram with product catalogs, and links to make payments through the app. This product catalog is also linked to by the Live Shopping feature. An influencer can start a Story, Reel, and Feed about the product, while also knowing they can link directly to Shops product pages without problems.
Others are following Instagram’s lead and some brands even combine current technologies to create a similar configuration. You can stream live and then send people to a link to purchase the product. Instagram Live Shopping makes it easier than merging two products.
YouTube Live, for example, already provides a great platform to host a live stream, accept messages from viewers, and link to a third party purchasing link.
Let’s look at the main platforms that you can use for live shopping.
- Instagram’s Live Shopping feature, which combines live streaming with instant ecommerce purchases all in one platform, is the aforementioned Instagram.
- YouTube Live and Facebook Live allow you to run a live shopping show. All you have to do is insert a link that allows users to purchase products. You could either place a link within the video description or have your influencer mention the domain name. You can even combine these options. YouTube also allows you to sync your Google Merchant Center so that products can be placed in videos immediately.
- Twitch is one of the most interactive streaming platforms, offering many integrations and clickable hyperlinks for online shops.
- Livescale.tv is compatible with Shopify’s ecommerce site and allows for in-video purchases, live streaming and seamless checkout. The brand also has complete control over the live video.
- Amazon Live enables live shopping with direct Amazon links, a messaging system, and many other buttons that allow users to like, share, and follow brands or influencers.
- Shopshops.live provides live streaming, giveaways and discovery tools. It is a great option for brands interested in connecting with customers around the globe, from the US and China.
- Talkshop.live is a social media platform that includes a shopping network and a discovery portal. It also offers live chatting and social buying tools.
- Buywith is a live shopping platform. However, it also features a Coming Soon portal that includes countdown modules, sign up buttons and information about the influencer. The “Shop With Me” feature allows the host to take viewers on an interactive, immersive shopping journey.
- NTWRK offers tools for live shopping videos. There’s also an Episodes page that allows people to subscribe to and return to the shows they like the most. It is a place to discover new brands and products.
- Popshop offers live shopping with a discovery tool and a list featuring streams. You can also find information about upcoming events. You can sell all you want, manage your brand and run a chatbox.
- Taobao a Chinese shopping network that offers live streaming.
Many of these non-social platforms can push your live stream to other social media platforms. This is a great thing. Livescale, for example, is not a social network, but it allows live streams to be shared on social networks like Instagram and Facebook.
Live Shopping in the Real World: Examples
You can find many real-world examples of live selling on sites such as YouTube, Instagram, and Amazon.
Instagram is the leader in live shopping. As we have said, you can find more ideas on how to build your brand by visiting the Instagram app.
Although there are many shopping options, the real Live Shopping feature is highlighted by a Live tag.
The Laundress hosted a Live Shopping event alongside John Mayer while I was writing this article. The stream featured a conversation between John Mayer and one of The Laundress CEOs, as well as a demonstration of a partnership laundry detergent that John Mayer has named on it.
You can view who is watching the stream and see comments. There’s also a box where you can leave comments or respond to others.
Instagram Live Shopping also offers an overlay Add to Cart button that provides quick product information.
Users don’t need to leave Instagram to purchase John Mayer laundry detergent.
Another alternative route for live shopping on Instagram is the one below. While this is not possible through the Live Shopping feature, brands may make sponsored reels and place a Shop Now button in the live video. This version allows users to shop online within Instagram. Instead of sending them to an internal link, they will most likely be directed to a product page.
Therabody, for example, is well-known for partnering with influencers to explain its products and then demonstrate how to use them.
This particular one features a fitness blogger streaming via Instagram’s Reels section. You can share, like and comment on the live stream, as well as a button to Shop Now.
Although this is not the Live Shopping feature, it does produce the same result. This feature is great for brands who prefer to send customers to their website rather than processing payments through Instagram.
There are many other online platforms that offer live shopping. Aritzia teamed up with Maria Marinaro, an influencer, to show new products and offer a giveaway on Shopshops.live.
You can chat with the brand and influencers, use the Shopping Cart button and share your experience with others.
Talkshoplive has a list of forthcoming streams available on its homepage. This is the GymBib example. A host explains the product’s function by wearing it around her neck. She then walks through the benefits of using a sweat towel in the gym.
Talkshoplive offers a chatbox, a buy button and other tabs to provide details and images.
Amazon Live is a great page. It has a lot of live streams that are focused on shopping.
The live streams also include an area at bottom that allows you to display multiple products, instead of one.
Zulf, an influencer, walks through his favourite cameras and lenses in the first example. Zulf is a photographer so it makes sense that he hosts a Q&A on the topic as an affiliate in order to make money for his platform. This is a great example showing how influencers don’t have to be partners with brands. Influencer marketing is when people use their own channels to recommend products they like.
Kandi Burress also created a home holiday guide, which included a variety of gift ideas for home such as electronics and area rugs.
Sun Joe also streams episodes of its very own shopping channel that is hosted on Amazon. The brand sells power tools, yardwork equipment. They can run TSN-style videos, with demonstrations, links to products at the bottom, as well as a conversation on right for people who have questions.
What is live shopping and how will it impact ecommerce in the future? It’s an opportunity to sell that provides entertainment value, better access to high-quality products, and monetization opportunities and influencers such as celebrities and notable figures. This is what we are currently seeing. Social media users are more interested in entertainment than corporatization. Brands need to partner with people who can combine a product and some form of entertainment. This was not possible with television shopping networks. While there are many elements to live shopping on these networks, the entertainment and value is lacking. QVC is basically a shopping channel. They sell goods all around the corner.
However, live shopping doesn’t require that viewers be shoppers. Although the ultimate goal is to sell products to those watching, there must be entertainment to go with that call to action. It’s a lot like today’s insurance commercials. Insurance companies recognized that they had to offer entertaining plotlines and memorable characters, rather than selling insurance. Who wants to see a lot of advertisements touting all the great features in an insurance plan?
Live shopping is similar because it offers entertainment to those who desire it and gives brands the visibility they need through social media and eCommerce platforms.
Leave a comment below if you have any questions about live shopping or want to share your experiences.