Lights, Camera, Live Stream
Picture this: you’re browsing TikTok and you come across a live video on your “For You” page of one of your favorite creators showing off a new product with a sweet little “shop” button blinking back at you. You like their style and they always make you laugh, so you tune in for a while. Next thing you know, your credit card statement has a new addition, and you’re looking forward to a telltale “thump” of a package on your front porch next week.
You just got caught in a shopping live stream – and it worked its magic! If you’re living outside of the United States, this might not be new to you; live stream shopping in China, for example, has already taken off and is predicted to reach $300 billion last year. Until recently, this new online shopping medium has been slow to take off in the United States. Yet despite slow-going progress compared to international markets, social media platforms are increasingly building out their live shopping experiences in anticipation of a big live shopping boom.
Coming To America
Plus, there’s a secret weapon today that wasn’t defined back in the days of QVC binges while you were home sick from school. You guessed it: creators are in the mix.
It may take a few years for live social commerce to take off in the United States and climb to comparable global rates, but there is an opportunity for brands to get a headstart on live shopping efforts. Brands can use this time to establish relationships with live shopping creators, test the various platforms, and determine what works best to drive social commerce. By experimenting and adopting live commerce early on, brands will be able to stand out from their competitors once live shopping becomes more of the norm in the United States.
Trust us – it’s not as far off as you think. If global trends are anything to go by, experts at McKinsey Digital estimate that live stream shopping “could account for as much as 10-20% of all e-commerce by 2026.”
All In This Together
TikTok, as always, hasn’t missed a beat when it comes to jumping on in-app shopping. With monetization and creator usability always at the forefront of their strategy, there are already functionalities in place that position TikTok as a go-to shoppable live stream platform. Not to mention, their growing partnership catalog with Shopify, Square, Wix, OpenCart, and others certainly makes them one to watch closely.
But TikTok isn’t the only one. Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google’s Shoploop have all launched live shopping initiatives to benefit brands and creators, tipping their caps in a show of support that only an early adopter can achieve. The live shopping experience is so immersive that it feels more personal than shopping in a store — and that’s exactly the point. Not only is its innovation a talking point, but it’s also a pseudo-replacement for in-person retail shopping where the pandemic’s effects have prevented a return to what we once knew.
Jeffrey, Jeffrey Bezos 🎶
Social platforms aren’t the only ones driving live stream shopping. Amazon is already ahead of its peers with a robust affiliate program, digital storefronts for creators, and so much more. So of course it’s no surprise to us that they fit seamlessly into the live shopping world with their Amazon Live feature, which was launched way back in 2019, allowing creators to host daily live streams on their app.
Brands and retailers are also getting on board. Petco, Nordstrom, Walmart, Bloomingdales and so many more are collaborating with social platforms and creators to get their products in front of eager consumers. And with a growing industry comes competition — so we could come to see more third-party platforms, like Livescale and VISX.live, competing with social platform functionality and brand partnerships.
Creators Are Joining the Fun
In a recent Mavrck creator survey with over 400 respondents, over 75% of respondents say that they have shared shoppable links as part of their content but only 11% say they’ve participated in a shopping live stream. Of those who have never participated in a live stream, 23% said they’d simply never had the opportunity, while just over 67% of all respondents would be open to a shoppable live stream partnership.
With an eager pool of candidates comes the option to partner with more diverse creators. Brands have an opportunity to get creators involved in shoppable live streams, particularly micro-influencers who have a loyal, niche audience.
Of the respondents who have participated in live shopping, 46.9% say that Instagram is their go-to platform for shoppable live streams. Facebook and Amazon follow with 20.3% and 18.8% respectively. TikTok comes in fourth — for now — with 9.4% of live streaming respondents saying they have done a stream there.
While Instagram, Facebook, and Amazon are in the lead with live streaming utilization, keep an eye out for TikTok’s growing presence as shoppable features continue to launch for eager creators to leverage.
What Does It Mean?
So, what growth in the live shopping world can we anticipate? Between global trends, platform upgrades, and creator interest, live stream shopping will likely become a highly lucrative and useful selling tool for brands. As more consumers turn to creator insights for product recommendations and e-commerce becomes the preferred shopping medium, we see the writing on the wall. 2022 has already proven to be a banner year for a growing creator economy, industry innovations, and the faint (or not so faint) pulse of the metaverse.
We also know that one in three shoppers have made a purchase on social media in the past year. Shopper marketing teams at retail companies can resell influencer marketing campaigns to brand suppliers alongside or instead of end-cap promotional campaigns. With recycled creator content comes more opportunity for multi-channel activations to occur and therefore, higher chances a consumer will engage and purchase.
Not to mention, we saw it coming: retailers will turn creators into a revenue stream to promote their products as part of shopper marketing budgets. Creators, with their loyal followings and compelling self-brands, are the go-to digital shelf that converts subscribing consumers from casual followers to purchasers at omnichannel retailers.
This is just one of our many predictions for the progressing year — and we’re confident it’s going to be a major one. Don’t get it twisted — we’re not leaving this alone. Tune in later this year as we revisit our 2022 predictions and see just how far we’ve come.