Let's explore the fascinating world of shoppable videos and live shopping in this article. These two concepts have taken the e-commerce world by storm, and understanding their key differences can help businesses make informed decisions when it comes to integrating them into their marketing strategy.

In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of both shoppable videos and live shopping, highlighting the six key differences between the two. We will also mention five similarities between these two, so you can get a better idea on how to set up your 2023 video-commerce strategy.

What is a Shoppable Video

Shoppable videos are those types of looping videos in which we can make direct purchases. Most of the time, the products that are showcased on the video have clickable links. This allows you to go to a website and interact with videos, such as buying products, adding them to your cart, get a coupon code, etc.

Following the short-video trend, initiated by TikTok, this new e-commerce strategy has become the new trend. So, do not be too surprised if you come across these now. These videos are very engaging and personalized, so you will feel like videos will be catered to you.

Example of three shoppable-video formats

Origins of shoppable videos

Shoppable videos are not as recent as they are. They started more than a decade ago and to be more specific in 2012. In 2012 a famous music video starring Iggy Azalea, Diplo, and FKi. This music video was called She Ready and made by luxury brand SSENSE. Now this has become a shoppable video. They all were wearing this brand's clothes, which were all linked. You were also able to be purchased during the website.

Image from music video “She Ready”

Facts about Shoppable video

  • The first fact is that if you incorporate this form of video in email marketing. It can increase the click-through rate by 300%.
  • If your friends send you a video, the chances of you clicking the video are high. To be exact, the click-through rate is up to 150%.
  • You thought a standard video is effective, well this is 400% more. These videos are 3-4 more times engaging as well as more informative, hence pulling the results it is.
  • These videos provide such valuable data. For example, you know exactly how long someone watched it for. This helps companies to adapt their strategies.
  • If you may have read my article on Landing pages vs. PDPs, you'll know how important they are. If not, feel free to check it out here. These videos help the conversion on landing pages be 83%. 

The term “Shoppable video” can be somewhat misleading, as it primarily refers to short videos that incorporate shoppable features. To distinguish these videos from other types, such as live shopping, I prefer to refer to them as “Short & Shoppable videos.” This term accurately reflects the main characteristics of these videos and helps to avoid any confusion about their purpose.

What is Live Shopping

Livestream shopping is used by a lot of brands nowadays to promote, sell any and every product. This is done through livestreams on digital platforms. We will often but not always come across big brands and big influencers partnering up to sell a product.

It is done via live stream shopping as it is a lot more personalized. How is it personalized, you may ask? This is because you can ask questions about the product, and they will respond to you since it's all in real time. This creates an immersive and connected experience for the viewers and host.

Behind the scenes – Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels

Origins of Live Shopping

The first form of Live Shopping that we ever encountered was Teleshopping. This was created in 1979 by Michael Aldrich. He connected a television by telephone line to a real-time transaction processing computer. Now it is better known as online shopping, e-commerce, and e-business.

This is one of the fastest growing multi-billion dollar businesses in the world today. Yet, the Live shopping we know today originated from China. This was done via Alibaba ecommerce site Taobao. This website is by far the largest platform when it comes to selling goods. Since this is one of the fastest growing industries, new competitors are emerging. These competitors are also growing in size. Amazon and YouTube have now also launched their own live shopping platforms.

Photo by Caspar Camille Rubin on Unsplash

Facts about Live Shopping

  • In a few years, Taobao Live experienced a growth of 150%. As for the conversion rate in 2019, it was 32,000 items added to the cart for every million views. That is exponential growth that we do not usually encounter.
  • This way of selling helps you branch out and get an even greater reach than standard videos on your websites. These videos as mentioned above are informative, engaging and most educational.
  • Kim Kardashian, partnered with Viya, a Chinese influencer. As I mentioned before, it is common for influencers and companies to partner up. They started live-streaming and sold a staggering 150,000 bottles of perfume. This was done faster than it would take us to read this article.
  • This form of shopping shows the product and encourages sales and quick conversions.
  • Live shopping has pretty good engagement as it can go up all the way to 55%
  • On average, we see that the click-through rate is at 18%
Image taken from the livestream of Viya and Kim Kardashian

So, what differs from shoppable videos to live shopping

1. Shoppable videos are pre-recorded

Most companies and agencies pre-record, edit and schedule short videos on social networks. More and more e-commerce brands reuse them on their website, by placing them on the right pages, adding elements, and making them interactive.

2. Live shopping is Face-2-Face

This is the biggest difference. This is because in live-streaming shopping, it's all happening in real time! May you have any doubt about the products? Feel free to ask, and your questions will be answered by the brand showcasing the product. There is usually a presenter, in charge of showcasing products, and a moderator, in charge of interacting with viewers.

3. Shoppable videos can become outdated

If you come across a short video that is a few years old, you'll notice that it's a little more outdated. This is the case because the short-video trends are evolving fast. To avoid that, make sure your short & shoppable videos are informative, and bring answers to your customers' most common questions.

4. Shoppable videos are placed everywhere on an online store

While live shopping sessions are often streamed on the same pages, shoppable videos can be placed anywhere: on product pages, on the homepage, on category pages, etc. This is because shoppable videos are linked to specific use cases, such as product discovery, product recommendations, short tutorials, transactional videos, special sales announcements, etc.

5. Shoppable videos tend to be more personalized

Shoppable videos are known for their ability to offer a more personalized shopping experience. They can be easily edited and tailored to promote any product, but what sets them apart is their capacity to be customized for specific target markets. This versatility allows companies to create content that resonates with different audiences, making these videos a highly adaptable and diverse marketing tool.

6. Live shopping has an influence on all steps of the customer journey

  • Awareness & Acquisition: Compared to short videos, a live shopping session is always advertised in advance. For example, with ads, registration links or even waiting lists. Omit, live shopping is an actual real event, especially in the digital format.
  • Interest & Desire: Compared to short videos, a live-streaming session is much longer. Hence, will be more effective on customers' willingness to buy. Yet, livestream content tends to have fewer viewers than short videos – but with higher purchase intention. This is the classic case of quantity vs. quality. This is because in live stream shopping, there will be fewer customers. Those customers will be a lot more active and engaged in the livestream.
  • Action & Retention: Livestreams come with a post-event workflow. Viewers are often enrolled in a series of emails to follow up after the event. This leads them to take action such as buying for example. After the livestream event is over and due to the follow-up emails. The customers will come back to the website after sometime. Live Streams are more likely to boost conversions and retention, ultimately affecting customers LTV (lifetime value).

What are the similarities of Shoppable video vs. live stream shopping?

1. Can be used on several platforms

These forms of videos allow you to upload them on many platforms, as long as they propose short-video streaming, as well as livestream features. Whether they are social media, UGC communities, or the company's own website. These videos are adaptable to work on any forum it needs to be.

2. Both help gain trust of the audience

When it comes to livestreaming, it is easier to gain the audience's trust. This is because it's face to face and your doubts will be cleared, and it's more intimate. Shoppable videos also gain trust as they show what products look like, often in an authentic way. In these videos, viewers usually see a very descriptive list talking about the good. We, as customers, see it as transparency and trustworthiness.

3. Both allow products to be displayed in the video

So, depending on the companies, if they want to show the products in the video, they will be able to. Both these types of shopping allow you to see the products.

4. Both are engaging

Most players hosting livestreams or short videos offer engagement features, such as the possibility to interact, get coupon codes, see details about products, or simply give a like. This is one of the biggest advantages that these videos bring. This makes these videos so engaging and enticing for viewers to stay hooked and to watch.

5. Informative

We all can agree that both these forms of shopping are informative. On one hand, we have a person answering and clearing up all our doubts. And we see descriptive videos that break down the tiniest details of the product. The goal of these videos is to clear customers doubts and questions, so their willingness to buy gets bigger.

When should a company use Shoppable video versus live stream shopping?

  • It depends on the two most important things: the goal, and the budget.
  • Shoppable videos are easy to start with, and don't need many resources. That means they usually offer a good return on the human capital, the time to implement, and the money invested.
  • Livestreaming sessions often require a professional studio, proper actors or influencers. Moreover, you’ll typically have to pay for two things: the livestreaming technology itself (usually a subscription), and the livestream setup (usually a one-off cost).

Our recommendation to get started with video-shopping is as follows:

  1. Online brands should start with short videos on their social networks. These videos should be: 1) explainers about their main products, 2) answers to frequent questions, and 3) informative videos. 
  2. Once they get to, at least, 15 of these videos, they should start reusing them on their webpages, using a shoppable-video tool.
  3. Once they master shoppable videos, and they unlock time and budget, they should go the next step: Live shopping. This livestream session should be recurring (ex: once a month), and take back what previously worked well with shoppable videos.
  4. Out of the content produced during the livestream session, brands should cut it, divide it, repurpose it, and reuse it as short & shoppable videos.
  5. And… that’s it! The video-strategy loop is then completed.

Future trends & Conclusion

Trends about Live Shopping:

  • The trend of livestream shopping on digital properties owned by brands is on the rise. While the growth of live shopping is faster in China, it’s expected to keep growing in Europe and the US, reaching $68 billion in sales by 2026, 3 times more than in 2022!
  • Companies are increasingly relying on their own brand advocates to promote their products. And the most used platform to “go live” is Instagram.
  • Personalized shopping experiences will become increasingly popular across various industries. As of today, apparel and fashion accounts for the most live shopping events. 
  • The integration of physical and digital experiences will revolutionize the way people shop. AliExpress and Amazon are paving the way in that sense.
  • Livestream shopping will be better. The help of technologies, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, will create better and more immersive experiences.

Trends about Shoppable Videos:

  • These short-form videos will be integrated to any kind of apps and websites. From acquisition to conversion, they will cover every sign step of the customer journey.
  • The main use case covered by shoppable videos is “product discovery”. Following the recent release of Amazon Inspire, more independent e-commerce stores have started to use short & shoppable videos on their pages.
  • It will be much easier to send the same short video file to several platforms. In one click you can send it to: TikTok, websites, Instagram Reels. This is only going to help boost the reach of these types of videos for these companies, and maximize ROI on these video clips.
  • AI will have a tremendous impact on creating, editing and repurposing short videos. Things such as AI masks or voices will make them more engaging. The quantity of content will also increase. It will become easier to create shoppable videos. This, in my opinion, will be one of the greatest trends, as it will enable brands to generate so much content, so quickly.
  • Finally, shoppable videos will stay human and authentic. Even despite AI changes and acceleration. Shoppable videos are successful because viewers relate to them. This is why humans will always have an enormous role in this. Thus, AI won’t fully take over, as it has to stay personal and build a connection with the viewers.

Live shopping and shoppable video are the future of online shopping, and it's exciting to see how they're changing the way businesses interact with their customers. To remain competitive, businesses should consider implementing these technologies in some form or another.

While a few companies are using live shopping and shoppable video, not everyone has caught on yet. However, I'm certain that more businesses will start using these technologies soon.

In short, live shopping and shoppable video are the way forward for any business that wants to stay relevant and successful. Let's embrace this exciting new trend and see where it can take our businesses!


Main image by Joel Muniz on Unsplash