Move over TV infomercials – live-streamed video content that’s marketed at savvy online audiences is cementing itself as a mainstay in the e-commerce sector.
E-commerce brands across the globe are experimenting with new ways to promote products, with none other than digital goliath Amazon, being the latest digital-first business to jump on the content streaming bandwagon.
Enter Amazon Live, a platform that allows Amazon creators and third-party brands to curate and broadcast live streams through the company’s new app, Amazon Live Creator. During the live streams, a panel of hosts talks about and demonstrates products that can be purchased via Amazon. To make the path from stream to purchase a simple one, users will see a carousel beneath the video content containing product details and links to purchase the items directly from the company’s local marketplace.
To keep consumer interest, Amazon Live streams more than one ‘show’ at a time, so users can pick and choose the content that’s of most interest to them. A complete gallery of past streams are also easily accessible on the platform including videos like ‘Valentine’s Day Gift Shop Live’ and ‘Game Night with Fat Brain Toys’. All of the videos vary in length, ranging from as little as a minute to as long as eight hours.
The site can be viewed at Amazon.com/Live but is yet to be added to Amazon’s main navigation menu. The content is also accessible via the online giant’s mobile app for both iOS and Android devices, where it has been added to the main navigation in a recent app date.
While Amazon Live is a new feature for the business, it’s not the first time Amazon has dabbled in live streaming. In the past, the company’s efforts have been met with mixed results.
Two years ago, Amazon abandoned Style Code Live, a short-lived home shopping experience that showcased experts talking about beauty and style tips. This initial effort may have been unsuccessful, but Amazon later used live-streamed videos quite successfully during Prime Day 2017 and again in 2018. During its annual shopping event, the marketplace promoted a selection of its deals through videos that were produced by third-party sellers and premium brands.
On the web page advertising Amazon Live to sellers, Amazon promotes the service as a way to “engage with shoppers in real-time and drive sales with interactive live streams.”
The same page features a testimonial from Watch Ya’ Mouth, which states that “Live streaming has helped increase daily visits to our product detail page by five times and significantly grew our sales.”
Amazon originally patented its idea around live streaming in 2018 but is rumoured to have been sourcing talent for the show well before the patent was filed.
However, Amazon isn’t the only digital-first business investing in live streamed content to enhance e-commerce operations, with Instagram also rumoured to be building a standalone shopping app that will be heavily focused around IGTV product promotions. Let’s not forget that video sharing site, YouTube has also capitalised on shoppable video formats for some time, with pre-recorded product demos from brands and influencers promoting the sale of specific goods a mainstay on the platform.
Amazon will also be entering a market where QVC, a similar infomercial-style program already dominates the video space. QVC itself has also recently announced plans to venture deeper into the online retail space with a new shoppable video app.
Moving a little closer to home, Catch Group introduced its own version of shoppable video content in 2018, CatchLIVE. The homegrown platform, however, put its own twist on the medium, touting its video content as an innovative form of ‘gamified retail’.
In September, the Australian e-tailer took its online shopping experience to the next level with the introduction of CatchLIVE – an interactive, live-streamed show hosted by Quizmania’s Brodie Young.
When the business announced the game show, Young said the program would be “high-energy”, combining “quick-paced games with exclusive deals”. According to the General Manager of CatchLIVE, Ayelet (Lulu) Weissman, the live-streamed show is unlike anything else in retail.
Speaking to Power Retail a few months after the launch, Weissman said that the interactive online content had proven fruitful.
“We have received a lot of offers from suppliers and brands who want to collaborate with us. They want us to create a content package for their product and to introduce their product to our highly engaged audience,” she said at the time.
This has reportedly led to 12,000 consumers tuning into each episode, with the average viewer spending longer on catch.com.au and returning to the site more often than the typical customer. “CatchLIVE is designed to deepen customer engagement on the site, to attract our loyal fans and to create new ones,” she explained. “Our audience is more engaged than usual online retail consumers, they stay on the site for extended periods of time and visit more often.”
While the concept of commercialised content is hardly a new phenomenon, with promotional videos going through countless re-imaginings over the years, the way consumers access, digest and react to this content is certainly changing.
With the rise of easily digestible digital content and tech advancements that make shoppable content, not just accessible but a standard, it’s not surprising that market-leading brands like Amazon in the states and Catch in Australia are looking for innovative ways to capitalise on this content in an e-commerce setting.