What is Live Shopping: Everything You Need to Know

What is Live Shopping: Everything You Need to Know

Live shopping allows brands to showcase products, and customers the ability to watch, chat, and buy products in real-time. Let's explore the three main formats for live shopping.
May 2, 2023
4 min

What is Live Shopping?

You likely already know!

The concept of live shopping has existed in the US for decades – you know it as QVC and HSN. The evolution from these category-defining channels to online is natural. After all, humans are social creatures so it makes sense that we would prefer live interaction – even if it is through a screen.

During live shopping events viewers can watch, chat, and purchase directly from a video interface, while hosts can answer questions and interact with audience members in real time. By mimicking the in-person shopping experience live shopping can create unforgettable shopping experiences that engage customers more authentically, and convert them more readily.

The opportunity for brands to explore this type of shopping is huge. In fact, McKinsey & Company expects that Live Commerce purchases will grow to $80 billion by 2025 - up from $37 Billion in 2021. So how can brands best capture a piece of this growth?

Let’s explore three formats for live shopping – marketplace, social platform, and website – so you can best leverage live shopping to your advantage.

Marketplaces & Dedicated Live Shopping Platforms

Marketplaces are 3rd party platforms that allow you to livestream to an already existing audience. While there’s opportunity to reach new customers, livestreaming on a marketplace has its disadvantages. For instance, your live content may be placed next to competitors' content – leaving opportunity for distraction from other brands –  and you’ll be unable to capture valuable 1st party data.

A few marketplaces that support live shopping include:

  1. Amazon
  2. Whatnot
  3. PopShop Live

Social Media Platforms

Pinterest, Tiktok, and YouTube have already launched live shopping programs that allow you to create shoppable content for audiences on these platforms. Similar to marketplaces, there is opportunity to reach new customers, but a lack of control over customer experience, steep competition for attention, and limited access to data.

A few social platforms that support live shopping include:

  1. Pinterest
  2. Tiktok
  3. YouTube

Directly on Your Website

Own the total customer experience by hosting live shopping events directly on your website giving you greater customization, and access to valuable first-party data. Even after the live event has ended, events on your site remain as evergreen content that continuously converts site traffic.

At Social Chat where we’ve seen significant revenue attribution occur during post-live replays, making this factor a huge advantage over marketplace and social platforms where content is harder to discover if it exists at all after the live ends.

Using Social Chat’s simulcasting technology brands can simultaneously stream to all preferred social platforms while going live on your website – maximizing reach, while retaining control of the brand experience.


With so many ways to host live shopping – marketplace, social, and website – there’s unfettered possibilities for your business. While each format has its advantages, hosting live events directly on your site gives you better control over customer experience and data.

Grant Shapiro

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