As much as ecommerce has transformed everyday life, some aspects of traditional shopping experiences are missing from the standard online shopping experience.
In the past, we used all of our senses to evaluate products for purchase. Now we only use sight and sometimes sound, which is more than enough of you know exactly what you want. That said, there’s no denying it commonly lacks something that people often seek throughout their purchase journeys, engagement.
Live commerce aims to address that and more.
What is live commerce?
Live commerce — also known as live shopping, live video shopping, or livestream shopping — is a fusion of livestreaming and product marketing, shoppable livestreams.
Live commerce events leverage the power of video content, the social pull of livestreaming, and technology that enables viewers to buy without leaving the stream. Such events can be very effective with the right approach.
A snappy demo from a retail worker, a recommendation from a trusty friend, a solid video review that shows you everything you need to know — key product insights come in many forms and are often necessary for shoppers to come to confident conclusions.
Live commerce events can be a great way to inform shoppers and meaningfully market your products.
Top live commerce platforms
What started as a fun idea by an Alibaba product manager in 2016, has blown up into a massive content and sales medium that spans the whole ecommerce industry.
From platforms we know and love, to new dedicated platforms, to specialized white-label solutions that let any business build out specialized experiences, there's a range of viable options for businesses of all sizes.
Facebook and Instagram, both subsidiaries of Meta, are the two largest social platforms in the world. Both of them have a live commerce feature that goes by the name of Live Shopping.
While both platforms are related, each platform has its own slightly distinct Live Shopping experience.
Live Shopping on either platform enables businesses to create live-streamed shopping events that let you “showcase products in real world settings, put product details and purchase options front and center, and interact with your audience directly from your live broadcast.”
Considering the scale, functionality, and reach of Meta, using either or both platforms to experiment with live commerce or even as a means to host consistent events is a great option for businesses of all sizes.
Amazon hosts a viable live commerce platform, Amazon Live, that has slowly grown in popularity since it was originally introduced in 2016.
Since Amazon isn’t a social media platform, honing in on a target audience isn’t as straightforward as it would be on a more formal social media channel. However, just because the feature appears a bit unconventional doesn’t mean that you should discount it, especially if you’re already selling on Amazon.
Google’s YouTube has long been known as a platform where creators earn income by partnering with businesses to sponsor their videos in exchange for brand awareness and promotions that drive sales.
Now everyone’s favorite video platform is working on a “next generation live shopping experience.”
An early iteration of the project launched at the end of 2021, but it has since gone back into hiding for refinement. If you sell products on Google and/or make content for YouTube, you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for any updates.
If any platform is a true testament to how powerful video content can be, it’s TikTok.
TikTok has had explosive success due to the nature of short-form video content, its creator tools, its audience, and how the app personalizes content for its users. That success has given a leg up to businesses that utilize TikTok for product marketing.
TikTok’s live commerce feature, LIVE Shopping allows brands to seamlessly integrate products from their TikTok Shopping experience into a LIVE session. Although not exactly accessible to everyone just yet, this is soon going to be even more of a key platform for businesses interested in marketing to TikTok’s legendary audience.
talkshoplive is a livestreaming social shopping network that maximizes live commerce experiences.
Using the platform’s technology, business owners are able to stream or record live shows about their products from anywhere. The shoppable videos can then be embedded on a brand’s website and distributed through their social channels allowing brands to connect with their customers while seamlessly selling products.
NTWRK is a mobile-first video shopping platform that blends entertainment and commerce for a global audience.
This unique platform aims to reinvent online shopping with four key pillars to their business model:
- Daily episodes of shoppable content from world-class creators
- Exclusive product drops and collaborations
- Virtual festivals with exclusive drops, live panels, musical performances, and more
- Special drawings for rare art and collectibles
Those interested in selling on NTWRK need to go through a review process by the platform’s curators.
Livby is a mobile-first “new age online shopping platform” that enables brands and influencers to partner with each other in order to engage with and sell to customers and followers.
Currently on Apple iOS only.
Becoming a creator on Livby entails submitting an in-app application for your brand to be reviewed by curators.
ShopShops is an awesome platform for those looking to reach a global audience with live commerce events.
This global shopping app hosts in 30 countries around the world and boasts an impressive list of partners. It enables sellers to grow a following based on their ability to curate and sell products.
Bambuser is a live commerce platform that integrates with your primary ecommerce platform, providing you with a totally customizable experience.
Easy to set-up, and complete with all the bells and whistles you’d want in a white-label live commerce solution, Bambuser is an excellent option if you’re looking to provide a more tailored experience to your audience.
Livescale is another white-label live commerce solution that integrates with your primary store and provides you with a totally customizable experience.
Hassle-free integration, built for sales, and gives you full experience control.
Prepping your business for live commerce
Now that you have an idea of what the live commerce landscape looks like, here are a few proactive steps you can take if you’re considering hosting your own events at some point.
- If you don’t already have usable brand guidelines, craft or refine those
- Tweak your social strategy to engage your audience on the idea; begin planning how you'll get them interested and involved
- Draft stream concepts for different product focuses and themes, e.g. best sellers, fan favorites, seasonal plans, etc.
- Consider developing incentives for your audience, e.g. discounts, freebies, etc.
- Research relevant influencers and try to establish mutually beneficial relationships
- Depending on the hosting routes you’re willing to take, consider how you’ll track performance
- Start planning out a usable, flexible livestreaming space
- Look into competitors in your space that are participating in live commerce and take notes
- Test the waters by starting out slow on a well-rounded platform like Instagram or Facebook
And like with anything else ecommerce related, the stronger your product data, the better your results.