M

ove over HSN and QVC. Livestream shopping is here and it is shaping the way Gen Z and other consumers buy items and interact with brands. 


Not to be left out of the lucrative eCommerce industry, new and existing platforms have tapped into another trend that’s gained traction since the beginning of the pandemic: live streaming. 


While live-streaming shopping saw a boom in the U.S. during the pandemic as people sheltered in place, it’s been a popular way to shop in China for years. In 2018, the industry attracted over 450 million viewers and saw $4.4 billion in sales, according to data gathered by Deloitte. 


Livestream shopping presents multiple opportunities for your brand to organically interact with your target audience. Not only can you host live Q&A or tutorial sessions about different products, but you can also enlist the help of an influencer who can use their fame to introduce new audiences to your brand. 


Back in 2019, Kim Kardashian West joined Chinese influencer Viya on her live stream channel to promote her KKW brand fragrances. Within seconds, she had sold over 150,000 bottles of perfume. 


The congruent rise between both live stream content and online buying during the pandemic has since alerted American platforms and brands to the lucrative power of live stream shopping. 


This article will give you the rundown on four live-streaming platforms or features you need to know about and how you can utilize them to reach your target audiences. 

Talkshoplive

Talkshoplive, a social media eCommerce platform built entirely on the premise of live streaming, launched in 2018 but has seen an uptick in celebrity users over the past few months. Last year, sitewide conversion rates — defined as visits that include a completed cart checkout — at 18%.


The premise is simple: Individuals or brands can schedule live shopping shows on their channels. Viewers can then click on the prominent “Buy” button located in the bottom left corner which the price clearly listed. It will then get added to that user’s cart where they can add items from other live streams. In return, the platform receives a commission on every sale. 


Videos on Talkshoplive also remain on a user’s channel and can be shared time and time again across various platforms. This leads to a higher rate of organic growth and lead generation. 


While the platform is home to smaller beauty and fashion brands, it also hosts a wide variety of celebrity channels from Paul McCartney to Bella Thorne, Julie Andrews to Matthew McConaughey, Dolly Parton to Alicia Keys. All have used Talkshoplive to promote new products or music and partner with brands with massive results. 


TikTok

TikTok is no stranger to live stream videos. Back in March 2020, the platform capitalized on the popularity of them with its “Happy At Home” series that featured countless TikTok stars, singers, and celebrities with a full roster of content while people were stuck at home. Brands and celebrities on TikTok have also taken advantage of the tool to even host live concerts and even fashion shows.


So, it was a natural progression for TikTok to take it the next step and test out live stream shopping. 


In December 2020, the platform teamed up with Walmart to host its Holiday Shop Along Spectacular to test its live shopping capabilities and see how well it would engage with users. Featuring 10 TikTok creators including Michael Le and Zahra Hashimee, the one-hour, live shoppable variety show highlighted brands targeted toward Gen Z such as Champion, Jordache, and Kendall + Kylie. 


While some creators showed off their closets, others showed off their unique style by putting on a dance-off in their ‘fits. As each creator was broadcasting, a pin popped up on the screen that users could click on to add the item to their cart. 


@walmart

Watch & shop along as your fave ⭐️s share fashion picks at our Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular on TikTok LIVE ##fyp ##fashion ##walmartshopalong

♬ original sound - Walmart


While the feature hasn’t been made available to other accounts (yet), it would be highly successful due to the sheer number of users on the platform. Not only would your brand be able to directly interact with your viewers to promote your latest product, you could enlist the help of TikTok influencers to host their own videos which would not only expand your reach but generate new leads. 

Instagram 

Instagram has made countless moves in the past few years to establish itself as a platform for shopping, content, and information. Its Live feature skyrocketed during the pandemic and quickly became a place where influencers and brands could interact with their followers — hosting live discussions, tutorials, and more. (For all the ways users can use Instagram Live, check out our previous article here.)


But Instagram business accounts can now take advantage of the platform’s live shopping feature to promote everything from makeup to fashion to food. And those who’ve capitalized on the feature have seen massive success. 


Take YouTuber Nikita Dragun, for example. Over 40,000 people tuned in when the makeup influencer hosted a live shopping event on Instagram. Her live stream not only consisted of her answering people’s questions and actively following along with her viewers’ comments — even calling a few out by name — but she demonstrated how each of the products worked and did a whole makeup routine. During the course of the live stream, a spokesperson for Instagram Shopping said 5,000 items were added to users’ carts during the event. 


This is a prime example of how to best use Instagram Live Shopping to promote your brand and drive sales. By integrating friendly conversation, how-tos, and casual mentions of the products you’re hoping to sell, you’ll be able to see success through this feature. 

Amazon

Not to be left out of the live shopping wave, Amazon also launched a feature in July 2020 to compete against other platforms. Amazon Live allows individuals enrolled in its Amazon Influencer Program to promote certain products in return for a commission on everything they sell.


Once you get to the Amazon Live website, you’ll be able to browse through influencers’ channels — called storefronts on Amazon — and can rewatch previous videos or tune in to their live streams. Underneath each video is a carousel of featured products that you can click on to be redirected to the product page and add to your cart. 


Amazon Live sets itself apart from other platforms because its own name carries weight in the eCommerce industry. By the end of 2019, there were an estimated 112 million Amazon Prime subscribers in the U.S. While this number may seem small, many families (and even friends) share Prime accounts. 


Amazon has also done its best to catch consumers while they’re young — offering Prime memberships to college students for free for the first six months and then at only 50% of the cost of a regular subscription. 


Your brand will see the most success on Amazon Live if you can find a channel that speaks to your target audience and work with them to promote your products. If you’re a fashion or makeup brand, check out Beauty by Carla. If you’re a fitness or wellness brand, EricaFitLove’s channel is worth browsing. If you’re a food brand, head over to Joy Bauer’s storefront. Helpful tags at the top of each storefront can aid you in searching for the right influencer. 

Conclusion

While the pandemic may have brought the large-scale shift toward eCommerce faster than previously projected, it was always inevitable. Live streaming is the natural next step in the evolution of shopping and truly the future of shopping. 


Live stream shopping provides viewers with a more intimate experience so they’ll feel more connected to the brand. It also allows a brand or influencer to meet with their fans on their own terms and during the times of day that make sense for them. 


As attitudes change toward live stream shopping and it becomes a part of mainstream culture, brands should look to either create their own channels or work with influencers or celebrities to sell their products online. 

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