Live shopping: Why the latest e-Commerce trend is here to stay

Livestream shopping is the most talked about trend with marketeers at the moment.

But what does live shopping actually involve? How does it work? How can it help brands to drive sales over the next year?

What is live shopping?

Live streaming e-commerce originated in China. Here, large and small businesses have been streaming with influencers to sell products to a live audience. This gives viewers the opportunity to purchase products demonstrated in the live stream, giving rise to a $30bn market in the live streaming space.

The trend gained momentum back in 2019, but this method of streaming commerce had been around for quite a while before then. Now, livestream shopping has become so popular that brands hire actors and influencers to host streams directly from their bricks and mortar shops. Products are sold alongside the streams and the method has proven to be extremely profitable, especially during the global pandemic.

China has become an e-commerce trendsetter, with live shop tech setting the benchmark for every other country in the world. Now, thanks to COVID 19, brands across the globe are harnessing this tech to connect with customers. In 2021, live stream shopping has become a household name amongst marketeers.  

Live Shopping Example

How does livestream shopping work?

Livestream shopping works in a similar way to shoppable video. However, instead of tagging a pre-existing video, you create tags before the stream and add them to your stream as you broadcast. As a result, an overlay will be created over the top of your livestream content that consumers can interact with. During the live stream, viewers are able to click on the products, see full details and add these to their cart seamlessly without leaving the live stream. Brands can use this streaming commerce technology across different platforms, including social media.

Due to the unprecedented times, it is expected that livestream technology will grow exponentially over the next year and potentially double the profit it generated last year. Therefore, we can expect more and more brands to get involved with this technology.

The benefits of livestream shopping

Streaming commerce is incredibly profitable and can even help brands save money with content creation.

With shoppable livestreams, brands no longer need to spend loads of money on producing high budget ad campaigns. This is due to the simplicity of the "see now, buy now" ethos of streaming commerce. All brands need to do is select products suited to their consumer who will then willingly engage with the stream. The consumer will learn about the products displayed and purchase them after or during the stream. The organic nature of streaming commerce removes the expectations associated with high production videos. Livestream shopping is supposed to be a real-time personable experience and by using influencers content becomes even more relatable to the consumer.

Streaming commerce helps capture the attention of the consumer in real-time, attracting them to the product and allowing product purchase through the same platform or via a link to the brands e-commerce. This provides an engaging, authentic experience for a consumer. Influencers can help drive conversions as many people look towards the trustworthy opinion of others before buying products.

Following the livestream, brands can save the video and use it as promotional material for those who were unable to attend the event. By allowing consumers to shop live, brands create interactive and profitable content that connects with audiences.

How can I introduce live shopping for my brand?

There are many ways to introduce live shopping. One option is through in-platform formats. Recently, Instagram has released a live shopping format within their app, available in the US, ‘Instagram Live Shopping is available for any Instagram Business accounts that have Checkout capabilities’. Instagram allows users to activate their live shopping tool while streaming, allowing customers to purchase products displayed. Viewers can also interact with the host via a chatroom.

Amazon has introduced 'Amazon Live' which allows viewers to watch and interact with a streaming video and buy the products used from Amazon. Influencers are are taking advantage of this new modality since they can advertise their products in action and answer customer questions in real time. Amazon Live has caught the attention of many and is now one of their most valuable features.

Another highly effective channel for live shopping is brand's own e-commerce sites. Hosting live video shopping sessions on brand's websites has multiple benefits; turning your e-commerce site into a highly engaging content destination, driving higher converion rates as customers watching the live stream are already on your website in the mindset to shop, and the ability to provide customised live shopping experiences to match your brands requirements. Smartzer is the leading platform that supports livestream shopping on e-commerce with instant setup on platforms such as Shopify. Here, you can learn more about how Smartzer's technology works and how brands are using it to add products to their live streams.

Check out an example of Smartzer's stream with Clarks below!


It is clear that livestream shopping can be highly beneficial for brands and the future of e-commerce. With a variety of modalities to choose from, brands should consider the rapid growth in streaming commerce and the role that it will play in online shopping over the coming years. It seems now is the time to seize the opportunities available to shop live.