Live Shopping, Video Commerce & More

This post shows some specific examples of Live Shopping events by various big brands over the last few years.

The market broadly categorized as ‘social commerce‘ has several sub-layers within it:

  • Live Shopping – where an event is broadcast live on a streaming platform
  • Live Commerce – where some kind of commerce layer on top of the video occurs
  • Social Selling – where one-to-one or one-to-many social strategies can be deployed

Different ‘Live Shopping’ Formats

Below are some specific livestreams from big brands in the Retail and eCommerce space.

They would be classified as ‘live shopping’ events. Each is a different format from a livestream perspective:

  • some are scripted and presented in a professional studio setting like we would have expected in the Home Shopping Network (HSN) era, others are more ad-hoc and spontaneous
  • some use their own staff, others partner with Influencers or Experts in their respective fields
  • some give you the feeling of one-on-one livestreams, others are more conversational between multiple hosts, creating different types of engagement

Each of these would have been hosted on a different platform than YouTube and combined with a ‘Live Commerce’ layer (platform solution) so that people in the audience would have been able to shop, in real-time, while watching. The YouTubes below are simply replays.

They have different view counts (on the replay version), different energies, and different formats.

Ultimately, a lot of the research into this space shows how – in a livestream – the audience can develop a connection with the Influencers or Hosts based on their ‘vibe.’ This includes level of expertise, method of engagement, professionalism, and overall energy.

It is a nascent space, which is why the examples below are meant to show different formats.

Walmart – Kitchenware (2024)

  • Live Shopping event in partnership with @savannahkaydesigns, who has appeared on HGTV
  • More of an ad-hoc, unscripted approach. Builds connection with the audience via chat, good energy overall
  • Products are ‘shoppable’ from the livestream on the Walmart eCommerce site

Walmart lists its upcoming ‘Creator Livestreams’ here.

Nordstrom – Beauty (2024)

  • More of a Product Demo using conversational approach between a Dr. and Skincare brand Reps on Zoom
  • Midway through the stream is a live product demo with one of the products
  • Engagement happens via the comments on the YouTube Live, and Nordstrom shares links to the product on their site in this same chat

Nordstrom lists their live events here.

Dick’s Sporting Goods – Retail (2022)

  • This is a high-energy YouTube replay from Christmas season of 2022, a highly rehearsed and well-executed Live Shopping event
  • During the replay, they reference that you can in fact buy ‘live,’ but you don’t see it in the YouTube replay because it was done on another software
  • Over the course of the 37 min. stream, various categories of ‘sporting goods’ for both men and women are demoed, giving it a broad appeal

This YouTube replay has nearly 4K views, plus whatever the live event itself gained. Dick’s Sporting Goods has a page for future live shopping events.

Tommy Hilfiger – Fashion (2021)

  • Tommy Hilfiger’s 2021 Live Shopping event came in the pandemic years, and while scripted, has many moments of spontaneous interaction between the various Hosts (Tommy models)
  • Similar to the Dick’s Sporting Goods example, it is a YouTube replay where they actually show being able to buy the products live, but the YouTube example is not clickable for eCommerce
  • The 28 minute stream covers both men’s and women’s fashion, and creates an energy that would make the audience want to come back for more

The 33K+ views on the replay alone are evidence of the event’s success. Tommy has a Live page here.

Adding the ‘Live Commerce’ Dimension

To connect the Live dimension to the eCommerce layer of a brand requires a 3rd party software of one form or another. A few of these platforms are listed in the business model analysis of the social-commerce sector.

This is a nascent space in many ways, but in each livestream above there was a form of ‘video commerce’ that connected the video to the brand’s eCommerce platform, such as below.

Video Commerce example - fashion

Some brands are developing their own proprietary, end-to-end Live Shopping ‘channel’ for customers. Others are purely using Influencers or Creators on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

TikTok itself is in the process of testing ‘Shoppable Video’ for its TikTok Shop.

Meanwhile on Instagram and Facebook Lives, brands are testing other 3rd party software to try and remove friction from the process. There are also multiple experiments happening on Amazon Live.

Video Commerce Future?

All this is to show how multiple retail and eCommerce brands are in the process of testing various forms of live ‘Video Commerce’ with their customers.

There is something about the spontaneity and creativity in the livestream environment that customers love; yet scaling that type of media is very difficult.

The main element of a ‘human touch’ and building trust between customers and brands is where the Influencers/Creators/Hosts can enter the fray.

Despite all of the new Gen AI technologies being tested and applied in marketing, energy and enthusiasm by real humans is still essential to selling merchandise.

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