Live shopping is having a moment. Far from new, the concept first became popular during the late 70s and 80s, when TV networks like QVC would broadcast hosts showcasing products and pitching directly to consumers. What we’re seeing now is an updated version of that from our mobile devices.
Social shopping has seen great success in the Asian eCommerce space, where it’s set to reach $423B in sales this year according to Shopify, and new launches seem to indicate it’s gaining momentum elsewhere, too.
Ukrainian-based Infinite launched a few days ago and helps retailers embed the experience into their own shops using its white-label SaaS platform. The tool allows businesses to communicate with customers in a live chat and publish shoppable recordings of these streams to drive sales post-live.
Ownvibe is tackling live shopping differently. The buying happens directly on its app. With a TikTok-style feed, the product aims to help consumers easily discover a “new wave of Gen Z shops,” which have sustainability in mind. Whatnot has also seen massive success in the collectibles market. Founded in 2020, the company raised three rounds in 2021 alone, quickly becoming a unicorn in the live shopping space.
Big names are also jumping on the bandwagon. Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok already give creators the ability to add links while they’re live-streaming. During Coachella this year, Youtube allowed those watching its live stream to buy commemorative t-shirts as part of the experience. However, it actually started experimenting with live shopping last year when it launched a weeklong “YouTube Holiday Stream and Shop.”
The biggest challenge here will be distribution. While most of the experimentation so far has involved influencers, celebrities, and household names, it will be interesting to watch how other retailers will be able to benefit, compete and emerge with other tactics and offerings.
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