The See-Now / Buy-Now phenomenon – live shopping is in the house

Published: May 05, 2023

min read

When you think about it, it is something like the Home Shopping Network experience all over again. While the concept remains the same, the channel is completely different.

Now marketers, agencies and publishers/platforms are all getting in on it and think that this has the potential to shape the future of retail itself.

While the concept is very similar to what QVC shopping channels used to do, this is done across social media platforms. They are hosted very often by content creators, and recently even giants like Meta and Amazon have dabbled with live shopping.

According to Statista, 20% of people in the U.S. have attended a live-stream shopping event, only after Denmark, with 24% of participants. Live-stream shopping is much more popular in Asia, with China’s live-stream e-commerce market reaching some $497 billion, according to Coresight Research.

According to WARC and Google’s retail report that came out in March, it was found that live-stream commerce accounted for 32% of digital purchases across various channels over the last six months, of which 38% was through Social Commerce.

This trend has particular appeal to those who look for influencer product recommendations and social content, in other words - Gen Z and millennial shoppers.

Brands and live-stream shopping

TBH there is tremendous potential for this to take off in the US. Take for instance the niche excitement surrounding sports trading cards – sports fans would really enjoy watching a live-stream of people and celebrities opening their cards. There are also businesses who wish to show tech or beauty products – these would do well with live-streams as they lend themselves to tutorials and sessions that explain what each product can do. Celebrities and creators can add a lot of value to this, and create quite an excitement.

So is this where retail is headed?

Well, it brings the old concept of the Home Shopping Network to modern times with a contemporary twist. And it can work great among millennials and Gen Z who look for immersive and engaging experiences while shopping.

This is a new immersive experience and consumers are constantly looking for new ways to engage with brands and shop.

Live shopping gives brands a great opportunity or platform to display and showcase their products. Shoppers are given the ability to buy products in real time. It is a highly engaging experience that goes way beyond merely clicking on a product and filling up a shopping cart.

Brands have the opportunity to sell their products to a large audience and customers can shop instantly. They don’t have to just watch a show and then go elsewhere to shop. This is shopping right there where the brands pitch their products. It has the potential to result in massive sales for brands.

Brands also can create awareness about their products in a very engaging and interesting fashion. If you throw in an interesting celebrity or influencer, brands really have it made!

Live shopping is different from eCommerce in that it makes the customer feel like they’re a part of something big. In order to make this feeling of belonging last, customers often end up purchasing something they didn’t think they would.

It can create the perfect setting for some good old impulse buying. Brands can create the experience of the fear of missing out to help increase sales. When people see others buying a product on the live-stream, it piques their interest. Brands can offer discounts that last only for a short time. Customers are hooked.

Brands can feature some of their products that haven’t been too successful and are there simply sitting on a shelf. Through live-stream shopping, they can turn under-performers into top sellers, if they played their cards right.

There are challenges – of course. Logistics is definitely one. There needs to be a good network and internet connection to get this going. Also with so much going on, on social media, it could cause some kind of fatigue. Brands will need to plan their strategies right and jump into this.

Long story short, at the end of the day, live shopping is deeply rooted in feelings of urgency and excitement, which can lead to a fun shopping experience, and thus, more sales.


Sarah Johnson

Sarah is an analytical marketing expert with a passion for data-driven insights. She has a keen eye for detail and a talent for turning complex information into actionable strategies. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, travel, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.


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