Influencer marketing is a constantly evolving industry. Just this year we’ve seen new platforms rise to the top, brands allocate the largest portions of their marketing budgets toward creators, and new strategies take form. The latest and greatest trend in the space however is livestream shopping, which combines online shopping, live streaming, and social media all in one place. This format, while relatively new in the United States, has been thriving in China for years now, trending to account for 20% of the nation’s total e-commerce sales by 2022.
All of this has been largely driven by the growth of e-commerce and influencer marketing throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, with the majority of commerce activities moving online. Many companies are turning to livestream shopping to promote their products, support new launches and sales, and connect brands and influencers to paying audiences via social networks.
Today we’ll take a closer look at livestream shopping, why the trend is taking off in the US, and how influencer collaboration can support these efforts.
What is livestream shopping?
To put it simply, livestream shopping combines livestreaming and the ability to purchase products directly from that livestream. This format typically features influencers or hosts selling a product in real-time on a social media platform. Consumers are able to interact with the on-screen talent as well as purchase the product right then and there. This allows the influencer to demonstrate how the product looks, feels, smells, and demonstrate how shoppers can use it. Overall livestream shopping allows for a shopping experience that is a bit more engaging than simply scrolling through a website and adding items to a virtual cart.
Livestream shopping plays into the interactivity of social media, allowing viewers to ask questions, make comments, be awarded discounts, make requests for specific views or features of the products, and ultimately make a purchase. This relationship and interaction between the host or influencer and the consumers creates a dynamic environment that can’t be found in typical e-commerce.
Platforms are integrating livestream shopping features
One of the first big moves we saw in the livestream shopping space was the introduction of Amazon Live, the e-commerce website’s livestream shopping feature. Amazon initially used this feature for special events like Prime Day but other sellers on the site can use it for product demonstrations and sales as well. During the Prime Day event, Amazon announced Prime Exclusive Deals to its network of influencers, allowing them to create live video content around featured products. There are two ways for brands to work with category influencers and publish Live video: through the brand’s own Amazon Live account, or to have the influencer publish via their own account.
Twitter is the most recent platform to embrace livestream shopping. Last month they collaborated with Walmart for the “Cyber Deals Sunday” stream which took place during the post-Thanksgiving weekend. The livestream, which was hosted by Jason Derulo, was a 30-minute variety show that featured electronics, home goods, apparel, seasonal décor, and surprise special guests. While Twitter characterized its Walmart livestream as a “test” they declined to comment on what future livestreams may look like. However, the platform did confirm that it only plans for brands to be able to host shopping livestreams for now, and not regular Twitter users.
Last month Pinterest announced their entrance into the livestream shopping space with the launch of Pinterest TV. Pinterest TV consists of 30-minute episodes of in-app live and original shoppable programming. These episodes focus on different lifestyle topics, including food, home, fashion and beauty. On Pinterest TV, hosts have access to a shopping toolbox to enable live shopping experiences. Available tools include a carousel display at the bottom of the screen featuring prices and product details, a product pop-up feature, an option to display the number of products still available, and a limited-time offer module to offer discounts. Hosts can tag products so viewers can shop and purchase on the retailers’ sites.
Similarly, Instagram also has their own live shopping feature, Instagram Live Shopping, which allows creators and brands to sell products via a Live broadcast. With this feature you are able to showcase products, interact with fans, and collaborate with other brands and creators. Any Instagram Business account has the ability to use these features and in-app checkout capabilities. Users are able to tag products that will be featured at the bottom of the screen for immediate purchase during the Instagram Live Shopping event.
Livestream shopping influencers
It’s clear that influencers are going to be vital to livestream shopping as more and more social media platforms integrate these features. We know that influencers have a special connection with and to their audiences that allow them to be a trusted source when it comes to purchasing decisions. This is no different for livestream shopping, however livestream influencers may be different from your “traditional” influencer. These influencers are going to operate a bit more like salespeople, having specific skills that allow them to sell to their audience and invoke FOMO (fear of missing out) in real-time, driving watchers to purchase.
When thinking about who to work with for your livestream shopping efforts it’s important to keep in mind that influencers perform well because of their authenticity and deep connection to their audience, so you’ll want to give them a bit of creative freedom when it comes to the livestream content. This may not be the place to put forth a heavily scripted collaboration.
At the end of the day the power of influencers is undeniable and utilizing the right talent is going to be key in running successful livestream shopping for your brand.
Looking for a livestream influencer?
Are you a brand looking to launch livestream shopping in the new year? Reach out to us at email@example.com and we’ll help you get connected to the right talent.