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There is no better feeling for a shopper than to find the perfect item while simultaneously getting it at a discounted price. For example, imagine looking for the perfect pair of shoes. You compare brands, examine the material, and try them on for comfort and fit. Then you find the perfect pair in the exact color you are looking for that is comfortable and durable. 

A true shopping success story!

Fast forward to life during the pandemic era, and shoppers are looking for that same shopping experience, but without ever leaving their couch. Enter live shopping. 

Live Shopping Basics

While relatively new in the United States, combining a live-stream video with online shopping has become very popular and lucrative in China. In addition, influencer opinions have become even more impactful, with the pandemic pushing people to spend more time on social media platforms. Therefore, it only makes sense to pair the interactive nature of social media with the online shopping industry.

Here’s how it works:

  1. A brand or business creates a collection of items to showcase on its social media page.
  2. An expert, influencer, or celebrity hosts a Live Shopping event where potential customers tune in to learn about a product, see a tutorial, or watch the product in use in real-time.
  3. Consumers can interact with the host by asking questions in the comments and getting answers during the session.
  4. There is an opportunity to purchase the products during the Livestream directly from the social media page.

Marketing strategies such as offering a limited time frame for deals or offering promotional prices to drive up sales are often used in a live stream session. In China, a countdown clock is often seen ticking away to encourage consumers to make the click before it’s too late. 

A Quick Overview: The Benefits of Live Shopping for a Brand

Live shopping is an excellent way for retailers to interact with their buyers. As the host displays a product, would-be buyers have the opportunity to see the potential of the product while asking questions to find out more. Instead of reading conflicting reviews to make a purchase, consumers have a real person to ask and get answers in real-time. 

Wondering if that sweater is machine washable? Just put it in the comments. 

Not sure if those shoes are true to size? Just ask. 

Customers who are well informed will be happier with the purchases, leave better reviews, and are likely to become repeat customers.

Connecting with influencers will also help your business by giving customers a trusted and familiar face. A video tutorial on a website is helpful, but having someone relatable to your consumer offers more credibility. Followers value influencer opinions. This is a great way to increase your brand awareness and customer loyalty. 

Which Social Media Platforms Offer Live Shopping?

Social media platforms are starting to get their feet wet with events for live shopping. As this trend gains momentum, live shopping will become more visible. Here are some of the ways platforms are implementing live shopping.

Twitter – Cyber Deals Sunday

Twitter collaborated with Walmart to host a thirty-minute live stream to showcase deals on products from the latest electronics to housewares. This Cyber Sunday event took place on November 28 with host Jason Derulo. It was the first live shoppable event for Twitter. According to their blog, Twitter plans to offer a live broadcast paired with a shoppable banner, a tab for shopping, as well as an opportunity for potential buyers to interact using a chat for comments or questions.

Instagram Live Holiday Shopping

Instagram is offering their Holiday Pop-Up Live shopping events beginning December 5 and running through December 15. While customers enjoy shopping for exclusive merchandise, Instagram offers free shipping and a 20% discount on first orders within the app. According to Instagram, the Live Shopping events will deliver up-and-coming brands and celebrity hosts that offer expert knowledge and gift recommendations. 

Unlike Twitter, this isn’t Instagram’s first pilot of Live Shopping. In November, the platform offered the #BuyBlack shopping series on Fridays to highlight Black-owned businesses, designers, and creators. 

Instagram offers businesses the option to share a Live Shopping Video on Instagram with product tags available for buyers to click throughout the video. In addition, embedded tags allow the customer to click and be taken directly to the shopping tab. 

Facebook – Live Shopping Fridays

This summer, Facebook launched Live Shopping Fridays, focusing on beauty and fashion products. Like Twitter, Facebook offered familiar brands to draw consumers in. Abercrombie & Fitch, Sephora, and Bobbi Brown Cosmetics were all featured in the campaign. Like the other platforms, their goal was to interact with customers, increase brand awareness, and highlight specific products.

Facebook offers a live shopping option through their platform after setting up your shop from your page. First, your team will choose what products they highlight for the Live Stream video. Then, you’ll “go live” with product demonstrations and presentations while your customers can shop and interact in real-time. 

You can learn more about creating live shopping videos through Facebook here.

How Can My Business Get Started with Live Shopping?

This shopping method is new to social media platforms and will continue to evolve as companies test their model. Businesses should start with their current social network that already has a following and branch out from there – begin creating content that lends itself to live shopping, such as spotlighting products through demonstrations, tutorials, or live stream Q & A sessions. These are all great ways to get customers to associate your brand with the interactive component of Live Shopping. 

Now is the time to set up the basics: 

  1. create a shop to coincide with your business page. 
  2. Your team should consider which items to spotlight in their catalog and develop a content plan for which products they want to feature in a live shopping experience. 
  3. Take time to familiarize yourself with the shopping opportunities provided by social media outlets. By staying proactive, you can ensure your space in the growing Live Shopping market.
  4. Start connecting to potential hosts and influencers who can sell your product in a live shopping event. 
  5. Go through the steps to setting up your own Live Shopping event and invite your followers.

It’s also worth noting that other retailers and media sites like Amazon, Pinterest, and YouTube are also exploring interactive live shopping from their apps. While not in the Social Media hub, they also see the value of connecting customers with products through video and live demonstrations. In short, familiarize yourself with the concept now and start getting your feet wet, so you’re ready for this trend in 2022!