top of page

What is Live Stream Shopping—Everything You Need to Know

live stream shopping

If you’re trying to anticipate the role that live stream shopping will play in eCommerce’s future, look no further than China.

Alibaba’s live stream selling platform Taobao Live has nearly 40 million followers. At last year’s Singles’ Day shopping festival (an online shopping event touted as the world’s biggest 24-hour online sale), the Taobao marketplace posted $7.5 billion in the first 30 minutes. That’s a 400 percent increase over the previous year.

Live stream shopping is by no means a new trend; in 2019, the format drove $60 billion in global sales. Asian consumers, as illustrated above, have been turning to live stream shopping for years. But an uptick in at-home video consumption, rapidly digitizing consumer shopping behaviors, improved internet speeds, and the introduction of a slew of live stream services, apps, and features have teed up what promises to be a breakout year for the market on a global scale.

Attract traffic, engage shoppers, and drive digital sales by hosting live stream events on your online store using Wix Video.

What is live stream shopping?

Live stream shopping is when a person, brand, or company uses streaming video to sell something in real time to a live audience.

The method of delivery for live stream shopping typically includes eCommerce websites, such as those powered by Wix eCommerce, shopping apps, and social commerce platforms or apps like TikTok. For a more in-depth look at multichannel retailing, which gives an overview of multiple platforms from how to sell on Instagram to how to sell on eBay, check out our guide.

There are two key differences to live stream shopping events versus the traditional HSN broadcast approach.

First, the delivery of a live stream shopping event takes place over the internet. Second, it allows the viewing audience to interact with the host in the moment, typically via a chat or “reaction” button.

Live stream shopping is unedited and spontaneous, so viewers can ask questions and voice concerns in real time versus just calling in to buy an item that’s being showcased.

There are four elements that work together to form a compelling live stream shopping event. They include:

Website or platform choice

Businesses can host a live stream video event from their own website, use a dedicated live streaming platform, or use one of the many social live streaming solutions offered by companies like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube.

A charismatic host to run the show

You’ll need your own version of Bob Circosta to host your live stream event. These days, that tends to be social media influencers and/or famous people, at least for those who have the budget to pay for them. But anyone can host a live stream shopping event, making it an accessible way for small businesses to connect with shoppers.

Something to sell

Obviously, if you’re running a live stream shopping event, you’ll need one or more products to showcase during the event. This can be anything—from handmade soaps to athleisure wear. Live stream shopping is also a great way to sell luxury goods (think jewelry or high-end cowboy boots).

A hook

It’s true that live streaming your products is a great way to connect to and engage with shoppers, but you’ll be competing with many other businesses, merchants, and brands for people’s attention. A hook such as a giveaway, contest, special offer, or featured guest can generate buzz and motivate people to watch your live stream instead of your competitor’s.

livestreaming shopping 2022

What are the key benefits of live stream shopping?

Regardless of what side of the screen you’re on, live stream shopping is being embraced by all players in the commerce ecosystem. The U.S. live streaming market will reach $11 billion by year’s end and is expected to be more than twice that by 2023. Here are a few concrete benefits that live streaming offers merchants:

It helps drive digital sales

The entertaining, educational, and interactive nature of live stream shopping translates to more digital sales. It enables brands to immerse viewers in the shopping experience and accelerate the customer buying journey from consideration to purchase via the use of time-sensitive or exclusive offers. Conversion rates for live stream shopping can be 10x greater than for conventional eCommerce.

It fosters real human connection

While eCommerce is easy and convenient, it’s not the best channel for fostering a real connection between consumers and businesses. Live stream shopping provides a great opportunity for brands and businesses to connect with their customers ‘human to human.’ It puts a face to the brand, gives customers real-time insights about the products they’re buying, and adds an emotional connection to the buying experience that simply placing a product in a virtual shopping cart tends to lack.

It doesn’t cost much to run a live stream shopping event (particularly if you’re not using a well-known, and thus, expensive influencer). You can leverage an existing resource like a charismatic sales associate to host the stream and broadcast it on your website or over social media.

The youngsters love it

Live stream shopping is embraced by two key demographics—Gen Z and millennials, with 55 percent of the former and 62 percent of the latter saying they’re comfortable making a purchase from a brand’s live stream event.

What China can teach us about live stream shopping

Taobao Live leverages celebrities to help move goods, including popular Chinese influencer Austin Li Jiaqi (known as China’s “Lipstick King”) who has over 40 million fans on the social media platform Douyin (China’s version of TikTok) and generated over $145 million in sales on Singles’ Day.

Top-selling categories in the Singles’ Day event included skincare, feminine hygiene, household cleaning, and cosmetics.

China’s huge success with live stream shopping should be viewed as a roadmap for businesses who want to boost eCommerce sales. Signs that live stream shopping’s popularity will carry through to the new year are already here. In a promotional event meant to kick off this year’s Singles’ Day Festival, the Lipstick King sold $1.7 billion worth of goods in a single 12-hour live stream event.

9 ways to leverage live stream shopping

While most businesses can’t hire the Lipstick King or mimic Alibaba’s enormous reach, there are many ways small businesses can incorporate live stream shopping into their eCommerce marketing strategy.

Here are some of the many platforms and approaches to choose from:


NTWRK is a mobile-first video-shopping app. NTWRK is aimed at Gen Z and millennial consumers and allows sellers to interact with viewers to sell products in real time. Businesses can host live video shopping events, feature product drops, and combine brands, artists, panels, and interviews in events that provide a virtual “festival” type of environment.

02. Buywith

Buywith is a live stream shopping platform that lets brands leverage influencers, experts, celebrities, or their own in-store reps to host live stream shopping events. The events are hosted on the brand’s own website and don’t require a third-party app download. During live shopping sessions, viewers can interact with the host and access shopping capabilities like an “add-to-cart” (e.g., “Want”) button.

03. Brandlive

Brandlive is a virtual events platform with a “showroom” solution that provides a private, branded destination for events, meetings, and product content. The showroom can be accessed across desktop, mobile, and shared (physical) locations. Products in the showroom are showcased in a catalog-style interface, with live event features like integrated surveys and live questionnaires available to foster engagement and interest.

04. TalkShopLive

TalkShopLive is a social selling platform where brands and businesses can promote products to viewers in “shows” that last up to 15 minutes. The platform is free to use but charges a hefty 10.25 percent +$.30 fee per sold item. A key benefit to using the platform is the one-click order button. TalkShopLive has attracted a roster of jaw-dropping celebrities like Dolly Parton and Oprah Winfrey who host their own shopping channels and events.

05. Facebook

Facebook Live Shopping provides an interactive way for businesses to sell items with viewers in real time, but you need a Facebook shop to use this feature (note: Wix integrates natively with Facebook Shops). With this option, the host creates a “playlist” which is a collection of products featured in the video. The playlist enables sellers to tag/feature products from their Facebook shop and add links for customers to purchase items directly.

06. Amazon

Amazon Live is Amazon’s answer to live stream shopping (within their own platform, of course). Amazon Live is a feature-rich solution that brands and influencers can access from the Amazon Live Creator App. It allows shop owners to build and manage live stream shopping events and also feature pre-recorded videos of up to 5 minutes long. Videos appear throughout the brand’s Amazon profile (e.g., brand listings and storefront) and on Those looking how to sell on Amazon in a new way can turn to the live stream service as a novel sales channel.

07. TikTok

TikTok Live Stream Shopping is a brand new TikTok feature that allows users to buy items from online retailers during a live stream event. Product pop-ups appear as the host displays the products in the video. A user can tap on the product popup to add it to their cart and begin a mobile checkout experience from within TikTok. Users can do this in real-time during the stream or wait until the end of the event and browse all the items that were featured in the video. Live Stream Shopping has become a profitable way for sellers to make money on TikTok.This feature isn’t widely available yet to most merchants, but TikTok’s working on changing that with eCommerce providers like Wix.

08. YouTube

YouTube Live, YouTube’s live stream offering, was launched in 2011 to a few select creators. By the end of 2013, the feature was available to all users. Currently, there is no “shoppable” live stream solution on YouTube, but brands, influencers, and business owners have been successfully live streaming shopping events like product hauls or new product releases for years. This year, YouTube aims to capitalize on live stream shopping with a weeklong live stream shopping event called Holiday Stream and Shop which will enable a selection of influencers to hawk their merchandise and products directly on the platform. Merchants can use YouTube to livestream and drive viewers to relevant product pages on their online store, where shoppers can then complete a purchase.

09. Self-Hosted

Self-hosted live stream shopping is an option for businesses who want to stream live videos directly from their website. Hosting a live stream event on your own website gives you the flexibility to stream a variety of different shopping events. So, whether it’s a QVC-style one-to-many shopping event, a multi-vendor or multi-product holiday shopping extravaganza (a.k.a., Black Friday/Cyber Monday) or anything in between, hosting your own event is a great way to connect with your customers, establish loyalty, and help your business stand out.

And speaking of self-hosted live stream shopping events, did you know that Wix has a built-in live streaming video feature? Wix Video enables users to stream live videos for up to 10 minutes in a single stream (for free) directly on their site. Wix Premium members can broadcast up to 3 hours in a single stream.

If the idea of self-hosting your own live stream shopping event intrigues you, but you don’t have an eCommerce website, we’ve also got this one covered. You can sell with Wix by setting up your own online store and hosting live stream events in plenty of time for the holiday shopping season.

You can take a page from Aspyn Grove Payment, a Wix merchant, who sells products through live shows that are hosted on their Facebook page. They were one of the best-performing Wix stores during BFCM 2021 by using an innovative method: Every day they stream live shows to their 103,000 Facebook fans who are then redirected to product pages hosted on their Wix eCommerce site where customers can purchase the showcase product for a limited time. Banking on the power of their thriving social community, Aspyn has been able to transform live stream shopping into a custom business model that works wonders for them.

Geraldine Feehily

Bogar Alonso

Head of Outbound Marketing, Wix eCommerce

Bogar leads thought leadership and outbound marketing for Wix eCommerce. He has an extremely soft spot for all things eCommerce, retail, tech, content, and marketing.

Wix eCommerce Expand your eCommerce reach
bottom of page