Facebook Debuts Live Shopping Platform

The weekly live shopping event will run until mid-July and feature brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Sephora.

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Need to Know

  • Live Shopping Fridays, starting May 21, will feature brands including Abercrombie and Fitch, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, and Sephora.
  • Viewers will be able to comment and ask questions, and purchase products displayed in the stream during the event, or after it has concluded.
  • Facebook piloted live shopping in summer 2020 with a series of trials and beta tests.
  • Almost three-quarters of consumers around the world are already getting shopping ideas through Facebook’s platforms, which include Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.

Analysis

As livestream shopping continues to gain traction, Facebook has announced it will be hosting a weekly series, Live Shopping Fridays, beginning May 21.

Live Shopping Fridays will run until mid-July and will feature brands such as Bobbi Brown, Clinique, Sephora, Abercrombie and Fitch, Alleyoop, Zox, and Dermalogica. During the livestreamed events, viewers will be able to ask questions or add comments and can purchase products by adding them to a cart and checking out during or after the event, without navigating away from Facebook. Events will be hosted on the Shop tab within Facebook, or on participating brands’ Facebook pages.

Yulie Kwon Kim, who leads product for Facebook App Commerce, said that almost three-quarters of consumers are currently getting shopping ideas through Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. She says the live events — a format Facebook first trialed in 2018 — are meant not only to drive conversions but to emulate the experience of window-shopping-as-entertainment for digital consumers.

“Buying is not shopping,” she said. “And so, a lot of what people do is window shop to see what’s new, for entertainment. You discover something cool that you didn’t know about. When you’re shopping, people often want to hear from a live person, get suggestions, and see the product and context. And increasingly, people are discovering and deciding what to buy through social media.”

People are increasingly engaging in livestreamed shopping experiences, too, as more brands adopt the format that has long been popular in Asian markets. The spike in livestreamed and social shopping experiences has been largely driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the rate at which retailers sought ways to engage consumers online. In recent months, brands including Levi’s, and E.l.f. cosmetics have experimented with live shopping streams, while large retailers such as Nordstrom, QVC, and Walmart have also begun using the format.

Other major tech brands, too, have recognized the rising power of live shopping events, with BNPL platform Afterpay launching its own livestream shopping platform early last month. YouTube, meanwhile, has made in-video shopping a cornerstone of its 2021 road map.

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