According to a blog post, Facebook will discontinue its live shopping feature on October 1 to focus on Reels. According to the company, after this date, you can no longer host any new or scheduled live shopping events on Facebook. You will still be able to use Facebook Live to broadcast live events, but you cannot create product playlists or tag products in your Facebook Live videos, according to the social media network.
Following a series of smaller trials and beta tests, Facebook made Livestream video shopping publicly available two years ago. The feature was created to provide creators and brands with an interactive way to sell products, connect with viewers, and potentially gain new customers. However, Facebook has announced that it is shifting its focus away from live video shopping and toward Reels.
“As consumer viewing habits shift to short-form video, we are shifting our focus to Reels on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s short-form video product,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Experiment with Reels and Reels ads on Facebook and Instagram if you want to reach and engage people through video.” You can also tag products in Instagram Reels to facilitate deeper discovery and consideration. You can set up Live Shopping on Instagram if you have a shop with a checkout and want to host Live Shopping events on Instagram.”
Facebook first introduced live shopping in 2018 and has since experimented with ways to make the feature more seamless and popular. The company began testing “Live Shopping for Creators” in November of last year. Instead of directing users to a single page, the launch enabled creators and brands to cross-stream on both of their pages. Furthermore, last summer, the company launched “Live Shopping Fridays” to encourage larger brands to experiment with live shopping as a medium and to raise awareness about live shopping on Facebook. Abercrombie & Fitch, Bobbi Brown, Clinique, and Sephora were among the brands featured on the show.
Due to selling fees applied at checkout, a live shopping platform could have eventually served as a significant revenue stream for Facebook. Given today’s announcement, it’s clear that Facebook is reconsidering its position on live shopping.
Facebook isn’t the only digital behemoth scaling back its live shopping plans; TikTok has reportedly abandoned plans to expand its live e-commerce “TikTok Shop” initiative to the United States and other parts of Europe. Last year, the company launched TikTok Shop in the United Kingdom, its first market outside of Asia, allowing businesses and influencers to sell products via QVC-style livestreams. However, the venture struggled to gain consumer traction and suffered from internal issues. According to the Financial Times, I scrapped the expansion plans after key influencers dropped out of the project in the United Kingdom.
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Shopping via livestream is becoming increasingly popular in Asia, particularly in China. However, with both Facebook and TikTok abandoning their live shopping plans, it appears that general consumer awareness and adoption of live shopping outside of Asia remains low.