Is live shopping the future of e-commerce?

Live shopping is transforming the online shopping world as we know it. Thanks to Gen Z on TikTok and Instagram, live shopping features have become increasingly popular and are set to become an integral part of the e-commerce business.

If you are an e-commerce seller or have an e-commerce store, you may wish to consider using live shopping to interact with and engage customers online. But what exactly is live shopping, how can sellers use it to their advantage, and is it really the future of e-commerce?

What is live shopping?

Live shopping closes the gap between physical and online shopping experiences. Live shopping allows online retailers to showcase their products and allows consumers to purchase them in real-time.

Gen Z on apps such as TikTok and Instagram are driving the live shopping trend, with in-app features such as TikTok Shop and Instagram Live Shopping. Live shopping does not change online shopping for consumers, but it enhances their experience and creates authentic brand connections.

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Live shopping is also commonly known as live commerce, live selling, and live stream e-commerce, but they also refer to the same selling process and practice.

This trend in ecommerce sees businesses use live video streaming to showcase and sell their products online. Essentially, it’s a virtual shopping experience that allows customers to interact with the products and brand in real-time.

Live shopping typically involves a host or influencer from platforms such as Instagram showcasing products through a livestream video, and then providing links or codes to purchase the product directly from the ecommerce website. This allows customers to see the product in action, ask questions in real-time, and make a purchase without leaving the livestream.

Live shopping has become increasingly popular in recent years, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as more consumers have turned to online shopping.

It can be a powerful tool for ecommerce businesses looking to engage with their customers and drive sales, as it provides an immersive and interactive shopping experience that can help build brand loyalty and increase conversions.

Although the trend has peaked somewhat since the pandemic it’s certainly a means of shopping, we feel all ecommerce stores need to have some involvement in.

The rise of live shopping

In recent years, the popularity of live shopping has skyrocketed. From March 2020 to July 2021, Astound Commerce saw a 76 per cent increase in live commerce purchases.

Driven by technological advancements and consumer preferences, live shopping is being described as a revolutionary trend taking the online world by storm.

While livestream shopping can first be traced back until 2016, it was until the Coronavirus pandemic that it really took flight in the UK. As consumers became more familiar and trusting with online shopping, brands and retailers capitalised on the unique opportunity live shopping presents to reduce impact and losses from the pandemic.

How can e-commerce sellers use live shopping?

The rise of live stream e-commerce allows brands and retailers to accelerate conversation and conversion. E-commerce sellers can use this trend to reach and engage with wider audiences and create genuine connections to encourage sales.

By showcasing products through a live stream on your target consumers’ favourite social channel, the online shopping experience is brought to life and for the first time, consumers can interact with and purchase from the face behind the brand.


Create interactive experiences

Live commerce creates a unique opportunity to humanise your online brand. Storytelling and engaging videos give customers an interactive and immersive shopping experience. When streaming live, online retailers can tell the story behind products, strengthen customer connections and answer customer questions.

Featured promotions, Q&As, and non-sale-related content are great ways to create an entertaining and informative livestream for new and existing audiences through live streams and live shopping.

Get access to a wider audience

When you go live on TikTok, Instagram, or even Facebook, you get access to every user on that platform. Instagram alone has over two billion active users worldwide who could potentially be watching your stream. Users on the app can interact with product tags and buy directly from the stream meaning any e-commerce seller that does not utilise social media apps and features may be at a significant disadvantage.

Encourage real-time purchases

As you explain products to your live audience, consumers can easily make purchases in real time. Social media apps cater to new m-commerce trends with updated payment options such as Google Pay and Apple Pay so consumers can simply purchase from their phones and tablets while on the go.

Selling in the moment also has the potential to reduce return rates as consumers have access to a full product video demonstration. They know what to expect and can ask any questions or queries they have about the item and get their answers immediately before deciding on whether that product is right for them.

Is live shopping the future of e-commerce?

In recent years, we have seen the decline of the high street as more and more physical storefronts close for business. But e-commerce and online shopping continue to thrive and grow.

It is expected that by 2030, over 90 per cent of all purchases will be made via e-commerce. Live selling platforms are an extension of traditional selling means such as QVC and teleshopping, and due to the rise of e-commerce popularity, it’s quickly becoming the next big thing.

To go live, all brands and retailers require is a smartphone, mobile app, and internet connection. It is easy for brands to access and execute at a low cost, making it a cheaper form of marketing than traditional marketing methods.

Sophie Abrahamsson, video streaming company Bambuser’s president for the Americas, told Fortune finance magazine, “We believe live shopping will be an integral part of e-commerce within a few years. What we are seeing now is just the beginning.”

As more opportunities present themselves for e-commerce businesses, it is important to ensure other important factors are not overlooked. Accounting admin, bookkeeping, and payroll are all essential to ensure the smooth running of a business, but don’t let that hold you back. At Unicorn Accounting, we provide a range of accounting services to support your business. For more information, get in touch.

Next Steps

If you are looking for help regarding the taxes or any other aspect of your e-commerce business’ accounting, our team are happy to help. As e-commerce specialists, we can help you to build and scale your store, so it reaches its full potential.

Why choose Unicorn Accounting?

Ensure you keep on top of your finances and tax obligations by outsourcing to an accountant. This means that you don’t need to worry about your end of year accounts, payroll, or bookkeeping requirements.

At Unicorn Accounting we are e-commerce accountants who help make your online business a growing success. We offer e-commerce accounting advice, financial management, bookkeeping, cash flow statement, and tax filing services to support and scale your business.

Our team of accountants and Xero-certified advisors have experience working with both small start-ups and family-run online stores to large-scale, international retail and e-commerce brands.

If you’ve got an online store, we have the best solution for you. Providing you with a financial arm to your business through our sector experience, and skills with innovative technologies. To see how we can help you maximise the scalability of your e-commerce brand all year roundget in touch with Unicorn Accounting today. Or click here to get a free quote.

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