What is live video shopping
Facebook introduced the Livestream video shopping feature in 2018 and made it available to the public in 2020 after a series of smaller trials and beta testing. The feature was designed to connect brands and businesses with consumers by — offering an interactive way to sell items, connect with viewers and potentially gain new customers.
In November 2021, the company started testing “Live Shopping for Creators,” which helped creators and brands to cross-stream on both of their pages, instead of having to direct users to a single page. Furthermore, the company also recently introduced “Live Shopping Fridays” to encourage larger brands to try out live shopping as a medium and raise awareness about the feature on Facebook.
Why Facebook is shutting down this feature
As per the blog post, Facebook has mentioned that the company is shifting away from live video shopping to focus more on Reels. The company has also stated in the blog post, “As consumers’ viewing behaviours are shifting to short-form video, we are shifting our focus to Reels on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s short-form video product.” The blog post also suggests users about experimenting with Reels and Reels ads on Facebook and Instagram if they want to reach and engage people through video.
Users can also tag products in Reels on Instagram to enable deeper discovery and consideration. Moreover, users can also set up Live Shopping on Instagram if they have a shop with checkout and want to host Live Shopping events on Instagram.
Other platforms scaling back on live shopping plans
According to a report by Financial Times, TikTok has reportedly dropped its plans to expand its live e-commerce “TikTok Shop” initiative to the US and parts of Europe. The company introduced the TikTok Shop in the UK in 2021 as its first market outside Asia which allowed brands and creators to sell products through “QVC-style” live streams. However, the venture was unable to gain much traction with consumers and it also suffered from internal issues. The report also mentioned that the expansion plans were skipped after influencers dropped out of the project in the UK
Importance of live video shopping
The report suggests that the live shopping feature could have served the company as a significant revenue stream. Facebook added selling fees which were applied at the time of checkout and these fees could have been a good source of revenue for the company. However, the recent announcement hints that the social media giant is planning to change its strategy. Livestream shopping has turned out to be more popular in Asia, especially in China. However, since both Facebook and TikTok are scaling back their live shopping plans, it seems that general consumer awareness and adoption of live shopping is still low outside of Asia, the report suggests.