The Rise of Creator-Led Live Shopping

When you hear the term “live shopping,” your mind may wander to QVC network, a free-to-air shopping channel occasionally found droning in the background of a dentist's office or at the house of a grandparent who thinks HBO Max is the name of a healthcare plan.

But live shopping has come a long way since the days of televised commerce. 📺

Through the rise of social media, ecommerce, and the creator economy, consumers are now more comfortable shopping directly from their devices than ever.

Live shopping, or the showcasing of products over social media or another video platform in real-time, unlocks new ways for brands to connect personally with their target audience. This leads to increased sales and decreasing customer acquisition costs and sales cycles, all while creating memorable customer experiences.

🤔 Consider these facts…

  • On Instagram, a Meta survey reports that 46% of participants made a purchase online or offline after seeing a product or service on the platform.
  • YouTube leads the charge as the most popular live-streaming platform, with TikTok rising in the ranks. According to a recent study, 87% of users feel they can make a purchase decision faster when shopping or browsing on YouTube.
  • When using live commerce, companies report conversion rates approaching 30% — ten times higher than conventional ecommerce, according to a 2021 McKinsey study.

And there’s still limitless white space. In 2022, U.S. livestream  ecommerce sales were estimated at $17B and are expected to nearly triple by 2026.

But despite thriving in other countries, western adoption has been weaker than expected. Some of the biggest players in the space already have their share of challenges:

  • TikTok is launching live shopping in the U.S. despite a failed summer launch in the UK.
  • Amazon Live is struggling to attract both viewers and brands — with feedback indicating the content is overzealous on the selling side.
  • Meta announced the end of its short-lived Facebook Live Shopping feature after two years in market.

📱 Let the creators create

Pro-tip? Invest in creators.

At the core of commerce is trust, and who better to trust than the creators who have built tight-knit communities themselves?

Live shopping recreates the feeling of a friend walking you through their closet or raving over their new life-changing purchase.

In many cases, creators have already built this rapport with their audiences. From widely popular haul videos and outfit-of-the-day reports to ‘TikTok Made Me Buy It’ reviews, creators have unknowingly been selling to their audiences. Live shopping simply gives them another way to monetize this attention.

With creator-led live shopping segments, engagement is mutually beneficial. To authentically sell to their customers, Goliath needs David. And for the platform and opportunity, David needs Goliath.

When executed correctly, the brand and creator will be exposed to new audiences and benefit from increased revenue and engagement.

A top Chinese influencer sold $1.9B of goods in a single day in a 12-hour live shopping marathon while driving a record-breaking 250M users to Alibaba’s Taobao online marketplace.

Clearly, when the flywheel spins. It spins.

💸 Who’s doing it well?

In the wake of past challenges, brands and platforms alike are using live shopping as a test-and-learn opportunity rather than committing large budgets to it as the future of retail. Still, the early success remains promising.

Here are some brands already crushing in the live shopping space:

👟 Worldwide shoe and accessories chain, Aldo, partnered with TikToker Nate Wyatt and celeb stylist Mimi Cuttrell to bring 17,000 eyes to its pilot live shopping stream over five days. In an industry that struggles to compete for mere seconds of a consumer’s day, Aldo achieved an average viewing time of over 12 minutes.

🩲 Knix created its own live shopping secret sauce by combining social media strategies, brand story, user engagement through polls and interactive features, and influencer relationships. All were integrated into a live shopping swimwear launch using Livescale, resulting in well over the Livescale average conversion rate of 9.5%.

⚓️ Three Ships Beauty garnered over 1,600 unique views and a conversion rate of 22.8% during a 45-minute live-shopping pre-launch initiative for a new product.

📍 Pinterest announced the Holiday expansion of its live shopping service Pinterest TV. The four-day series will feature 10 hours of daily programming, highlighting four North American publishers and over 60 brands including JENNY BIRD, Wayfair, and NUDESTIX.

Have you tried live shopping with your brand? We’d love to hear about your experience.

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