Is Amazon Live the new QVC? While QVC reaches 380 million homes and satisfies the buying impulses of the largely 35-year-old-plus female audience that tunes in, livestream shopping on Amazon has the potential to do more. After all, it is already a proven concept. And nothing beats the intimacy of live video.
According to Coresight Research, livestream sales are expected to reach $11 billion in 2021 and $26 billion by 2023. That means that Amazon and other livestreaming shopping platforms are not only paying attention, they’re joining in. Why? Because when people click on these websites, they’re coming to buy.
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What Is Amazon Live?
Amazon launched its first livestream venture in 2016 with Style Code Live, and although they quietly shut it down within 15 months, you know those industry-disrupting folks at Amazon. That was just the beginning. If anyone is going to figure out how to give QVC a run for the money, it will be them. On Amazon’s annual Prime Day in 2020, the e-commerce company hosted over 1,200 livestreams. Currently, Amazon hosts daily shows on fashion, fitness, cooking, cosmetics, and more.
On Amazon Live, companies and influencers, known as creators, can use the Amazon Live Creator app to create shoppable livestreams for viewers. Amazon shoppers discover the videos at Amazon.com/Live and on the Amazon.com app at Amazon Live. When the brand creates livestreams, they may appear on product detail pages as well. Amazon also produces livestreams, and these can be pushed out to the Amazon.com home page, event pages, and category pages.
How Do Customers Use Amazon Live?
Customers can view livestreams, as well as previously recorded content, through the mobile app or using their desktop computer, Fire tablet, or Fire TV. Once on the interactive platform, customers can listen in, comment, ask questions in a live chat window, chat with each other in separate rooms, and purchase items promoted by people they follow and trust.
Unlike the early days of QVC, customers don’t have to wait for the magic moment for the item to appear on screen. On the Amazon Live page, they can discover featured creators, browse by category, and follow the creators they like. There is a slideshow underneath each video with shoppable photos of each of the items available to purchase on Amazon. Customers may also discover a video featured on a product page or even on Amazon’s home page.
Who Can Sell on Amazon Live?
Of course, creators must have a product to sell — for example, those with an active Amazon Seller or Amazon Vendor account. Beyond that, influencers in the Amazon Influencer Program with a storefront are also eligible to publish through the Amazon Live Creator app.
The Application Process
The application process for the Influencer Program is simple, and applicants may be immediately approved. But they must qualify. They must have either a Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube account with a meaningful following. How many followers? Amazon’s not talking, but guesstimates start at 5,000. Of course, a large number is good, but it’s probably equally important that the followers demonstrate engagement.
What Are the Rules?
Creators must also follow the community policies. This includes the usual prohibitions such as avoiding deceptive practices, offensive language, and directing visitors to an external website. Video content also must not be directed at children.
How Do You Publish?
Brands can publish through their own Amazon Live account. It’s free and easy to do yourself with an iPhone. The Creator app, however, is optimized for iPhone; although you can use it on iPad, the experience is not optimized. If you don’t have an Apple device, you can use an external camera and broadcast software. But many choose to work with influencers to publish videos on their own account.
Amazon Live has materials to help creators succeed, including guides, video tutorials, and live webinars. The videos, in particular, are useful. They are snackable and provide best practices.
Who Are These Influencers?
Amazon Live influencers belong to the Amazon Influencer Programs. They host livestreams while demonstrating and recommending products. Influencers have an existing audience on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, YouTube, Twitter, or a blog. When they promote a product, they do so because they know that it will appeal to their followers. Of course, they must be passionate about the product so that the promotion is credible and authentic. The number of influencers is growing along with the platform. Clearly, the brands that get in early will reap the biggest benefits.
How Are Influencers Paid?
The influencer earns a commission on each sale, between 1% and 10%. This commission is set and paid for by Amazon. Some influencers are also paid a salary negotiated by the brand, and there are nano- and micro-influencers (those with fewer than 100,000 followers) who may work for free product.
How Do You Find Influencers?
Find influencers by browsing through livestreams and viewing content in your brand category. Follow them for a period of time and engage with them to see if you like how they interact. Then, when you are comfortable enough to initiate a discussion, contact them by messaging or email to see if they are interested in working with you.
How Wide Is the Reach?
Amazon Live provides access to millions of Amazon customers. Not every shopping livestream will be a blockbuster hit, but even just a fraction of the nearly 200 million people who visit Amazon each month is a lot. Beauty brands often feature founders, such as Gabrielle Union of Flawless and Miranda Kerr of Kora Organics. These streams can attract large audiences.
What Are the Benefits for Shoppers?
The benefits of livestream shopping accrue to shoppers as well as brands. Livestream shopping is easy and convenient, like all online shopping. But there’s more. Customers can shop almost as if they are browsing stores with an old friend. The show host provides enough context to draw them in, answers their questions in the chat window, demonstrates the product, and offers a personal evaluation.
What Are the Benefits for Brands?
When people turn on a shopping channel like QVC or HSN, they generally have their credit cards ready. The same holds true for Amazon Live:cCustomers come ready to buy. Further, ecommerce retailers know that return rates are abysmally high. For livestream shoppers, that number is likely to be cut in half, meaning a higher ROI for the brand. The Amazon Live platform is even more engaging and personal than the shopping networks, offering customers the opportunity for direct interaction.
Is Amazon Live Right for My Brand?
For the right brands, Amazon Live can absolutely be a viable part of your marketing strategy. You will, of course, need to find the right influencers to work with. But these influencers can help you expand your reach, even beyond the platform, tapping into an engaged new group of customers ready to act on the influencer’s recommendations.