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Live Shopping: Is it the Future of E‑Commerce?

Learn how live shopping can revolutionize your e‑commerce business. Discover the benefits, tips for getting started, and why it's the future of online retail.

As eCommerce becomes the primary landscape for shoppers today, it's no wonder the market has become fiercely competitive in online spaces, including with the use of social media.

With the level of competition, a new trend has emerged -- live shopping (along with live shopping apps). Hosting live shopping events is one of the fastest-growing marketing techniques being utilized throughout all industries.

Learning about live shopping apps and streams can help you to determine if the live shopping route is appropriate for your business and brand.

What is live shopping?

If you have an online business that sells products, learning about live stream shopping is essential. Live shopping is the process of selling or purchasing items that are being presented live and in real-time.

Live shopping permits customers to shop for items that are being presented on screen while others watch from home. The use of live shopping platform solutions, as well as applications, can help connect customers with merchants from all around the world.

Typically, dedicated live shopping platforms are accessible on their own from an official website, or they utilize social media's streaming solutions to share information.

Live shopping apps and platforms ranging from traditional communities and digital phone apps to extensive brands take advantage of social platforms to the max. The use of live shopping events can help significantly in boosting brand visibility, awareness and, ultimately, sales.

How did live shopping start?

For those who want to make money online, learning about live stream shopping is a must. Originally, live shopping began in East Asian countries earlier in the 2000s. The trend has since begun to catch on in the UK and the US, now becoming a massive market in the West.

To put the speed of how fast live shopping is evolving in perspective, there were 3.5 million buyers on TikTok using live shopping events in 2020. By 2021, that number skyrockets to more than a whopping 13.7 million shoppers.

Benefits of live shopping for e-commerce

Live shopping for eCommerce has many benefits for both sellers and customers alike. When hosting a live shopping event, take advantage of the ability to keep your viewers and prospective customers highly engaged.

Increased engagement and interaction with customers

If you are seeking a way to increase sales, you can do so with live videos and by showcasing products within live streams and on social media platforms of your choosing.

Using live shopping on social media and on eCommerce live shopping networks can significantly expand your reach and visibility, both online and off.

A live shopping event will also increase engagement when it comes to comments, feedback, and placing orders. Having the ability to connect and interact with an online shopping target audience is also one of the best ways to establish any new brand on the market, regardless of competition and niche.

Ability to showcase products in real-time

With the use of social media and online shopping, it's now easier than ever to showcase products in real-time. This will allow you to "strike while the iron is hot" when items are trending or products you are selling have just come onto the market.

Having a conversation with your target audience is also much easier and more effective when doing so via live shopping videos and chat.

Improved customer experience

Another reason to consider turning to social media apps to promote your business and its products is the overall improved customer experience you are delivering.

When customers feel as if they are being listened to and appreciated by the business they purchase from, they are likely to become repeat customers and to spread the word about your products to others.

By engaging and interacting with your attending audience, you will boost the loyalty you have from your customers. Additionally, using a live stream to connect with your target audience is also a way for you to gauge their needs and wants and to ask directly what they may need from your brand in the future.

Higher conversion rates

One of the most appealing aspects of using live shopping is the ability to increase conversion rates for sales. If you're stuck at a conversion rate that is less than impressive or acceptable, you may be considering alternative marketing tactics--such as live shopping events.

Live shopping is not only a method of connecting with those who have a genuine interest in your products and/or services, but it provides a unique look into the current demographics and markets you are targeting.

Using live shopping typically results in higher conversion rates, as those who are on the platform are already there with the intent of shopping and spending money. Using a live shopping platform that is dedicated to spreading the word about new businesses can also help you to get your brand off the ground if you find it difficult to do so with traditional marketing methods.

Examples of successful live shopping platforms

Before you begin to create content for your own live shopping platform or presentation, it's highly advisable to familiarize yourself with some of the world's most successful live shopping platforms today. When you are familiar with existing platforms, you can formulate your own presentation based on successful models that are relevant to your own business and brand.

HSN (Home Shopping Network)

HSN, or the Home Shopping Network, is one of the world's largest live shopping platforms that was originally launched on television.

The Home Shopping Network, or HSN, provides businesses with the opportunity to sell and promote their products on live television by partnering with HSN and providing a profit from each sale to the company.

HSN was one of the very first revolutionary methods available for live shopping that allowed individuals to shop from the comfort of their own homes.

QVC (Quality Value Convenience)

Like HSN, QVC, or Quality Value Convenience, is another live shopping platform designed for television today. QVC's home shopping network allows buyers to call in and make a purchase while a product is being displayed and/or promoted live on television.

Oftentimes, most products available on QVC are exclusive and unavailable anywhere else. Additionally, many products featured on QVC are also steeply discounted or offered at a promotional price, providing more opportunities for those who are in the mood to shop.

TikTok Live

TikTok Live is one of the fastest-growing live shopping apps available for shoppers and sellers alike. With billions of viewers each month, it's no wonder so many are turning to popular social media platforms such as TikTok to begin promoting and selling their own goods.

Amazon Live

Amazon Live is another possible solution for those who are interested in live shopping events for their own businesses and brands.

With Amazon, it's possible to use Amazon-hosted shows to promote your products, Amazon influencers, or it's possible to use the Amazon Live Creator app to host one's own promotional shows and live viewings.

Instagram Live Shopping

Similarly to TikTok, Instagram also has a live stream shopping community. Live shoppers enjoy scrolling through Reels, Stories, and Live videos from their favorite influencers and creators. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, Facebook also provides users with the ability to live stream their content and products.

Challenges of hosting a live shopping event for e-commerce

As with any method of marketing, there are challenges when it comes to hosting a successful live shopping event for e-commerce.

Technical challenges

Using a live shopping platform for e-commerce means knowing how to stream using your phone or another live camera device. In order to get started with live-streaming, you will need to familiarize yourself with the following:

  • Social media sites rules, logistics, and setup requirements
  • Smartphone capable of live-streaming (in high-definition)
  • Different live-streaming platforms and their included functions/features
  • TOS (Terms of Service) for the best live shopping platforms you are considering

Finding the right host

Finding the right live shopping host can also be extremely challenging, especially for those who are new to the prospect of selling their products live.

With a variety of hosts available, it can be overwhelming at the prospect of just getting started. When you are just starting off with a live shopping event, it's important to become familiar with the process, the community, and individual platforms.

For example, going Live on Facebook is free of charge, but it does not guarantee viewers or targeted prospective shoppers. If you're looking for a specific target audience, using tools such as CommentSold, Bambuser, GoLive, and NTWRK along with targeted Instagram Lives and TikTok live events, are best.

If you want to get started without a paid service, going live on TikTok may offer you the most visibility and potential, especially when you are getting started or launching a new business from the ground up.

Take time to research and compare your options to ensure you are selecting a platform that is ideal for your brand and products.

Cost considerations

Consider the costs of using a live shopping platform for your business before getting started. Many social media platforms such as Facebook, Tiktok, and Instagram allow users to "go live" free of charge.

However, if you are searching for live shopping apps that provide targeted users, there are often monthly fees in addition to fees for sales on a live shopping platform (in some instances).

Currently, pricing for live shopping apps using costs $49 monthly with a 5% of sales commission. Many other live shopping or online shopping apps and platforms offer pricing upon request.

Implement live shopping for your e-commerce business

Implementing a live shopping event into your marketing strategy for your eCommerce business is a way to take the next step in selling in today's world. From using traditional means of live streaming to expanding to various networks such as TikTok, Facebook and Instagram live shopping, the options are virtually endless.

With Mailchimp, streamline your marketing workflow and your next live shopping stream event in one central location.

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