Facebook is taking the next step in its evolving eCommerce push with the introduction of a new "Live Shopping Fridays" series, which will see the platform host live-streamed shopping experiences, in conjunction with selected retailers, that will invite viewers to ask questions about products, and make purchases, all in-stream.
As explained by Facebook:
"Starting this week and every Friday through July 16, enjoy shoppable live videos from beauty and fashion brands. For shoppers, this means you can discover the latest products from your favorite brands and ask questions about size, fit and tips in real time. And for brands, Live Shopping offers a chance to build relationships with customers, provide new entertaining content, answer questions and streamline the purchase process through convenient checkout with Shops."
Among the brands taking part will be Abercrombie & Fitch, Clinique and Sephora, each of which will offer up experts to provide real-time answers to viewer questions, as they showcase their latest offerings.
It's a fairly simple, engaging way to encourage shopping behavior, with the capacity to ask questions direct providing another avenue for increased connection, and the FOMO-factor of live-streams likely to prompt more transactions as the event is in progress.
Again, the added real-time engagement factor provides more capacity for connection and product insight, which will no doubt trigger more spending. And with Facebook working to shift user perception, and make in-stream shopping more habitual, live-stream shopping provides a perfect vehicle for encouraging that interaction, which could play a key role in its next shift.
Facebook is still working to roll out Facebook and Instagram Shops in all regions, and to fully integrate Facebook Pay, in order to streamline the in-stream purchase process. But eventually, Facebook is aiming to make as many of its posts as possible shoppable, in order to incorporate more eCommerce processes into its apps, and make them a key component for product discovery.
That will ideally have benefits for businesses, users and Facebook itself.
For brands, Facebook's reach is unmatched, at 2.85b monthly active users on the main app alone, and the integration of in-stream purchase tools could make the platform a key tool for consumer connection, particularly as reliance on eCommerce continues to rise. For users, that will improve product discovery, by increasingly enabling them to go from seeing a product in a post to owning it, changing shopping behaviors in the app.
And for Facebook, it wins out with increased user activity, while it would also, eventually, take a cut of all puchases processed, adding another element to its broader business push.
Live-stream shopping is yet another element in this process, and it'll be interesting to see what sort of engagement the broadcasts see in these early iterations.
Users will be able to tune in to Facebook's Live Shopping streams on each brand’s Facebook Page or by visiting the Shop tab.