December 18, 2022
Gracey Ryback
Trends & Insights

Amazon Live: Can the Livestream Shopping Platform Really Help FBA Sellers Drive Sales on and off Amazon?

Amazon Live: Can the Livestream Shopping Platform Really Help FBA Sellers Drive Sales on and off Amazon?

Table of Contents

Amazon Live is being called the “Third Wave” in ecommerce marketing… but is it really the next big thing? And will it help FBA sellers like you?

Amazon’s livestream shopping platform has been around for a while now, but it recently got a big push with the launch of the Amazon Live Creator App, allowing sellers to be in control of their own livestreaming broadcasts.

But is giving sellers the ability to livestream shoppable broadcasts truly a good thing? Will this be the future of Amazon selling, connecting with customers, and boosting sales both on and off the marketplace? The answers begin with understanding exactly what Amazon Live is, and how it works.

What Is Livestream Shopping, Where Did It Start, and Where Is It Going?

Livestream shopping – sometimes referred to as shopstream, live shopping, or livestream ecommerce – has been around for a few years in markets outside of the US.

In particular, the China market was projected to make $480 billion in 2022 compared to only $11 billion in the US, according to Forbes.

RELATED: Is TikTok's In-App Shop a Threat to Amazon Sellers - Or a New Opportunity?

This dominance has certainly appealed to US retailers, including Amazon and TikTok, who have been inspired to ramp up their livestream platforms. 

The hope is that the US market will be able to replicate the success in China, even when previous attempts at livestream shopping have failed, such as with Amazon’s first attempt with Style Code Live, and Meta’s scaling back on social media platforms. 

What Is Amazon Live and How Does It Work?

Although Live is Amazon’s second attempt, the company is approaching it differently this time: brands can now create their own broadcasts. 

Amazon Live at a glance:

  • Amazon Live Creator app is only available on iOS, and only optimized for iPhone,
  • It is only available to the US market, specifically to vendors who have a store or professional sellers enrolled in brand registry,
  • Livestreams are moderated by Amazon and will be terminated if flagged,
  • Brands can stream themselves (self-service) or use a managed service of Amazon hosts and influencers,
  • It is free to create brand-produced livestreams but there is an option to pay to boost streams,
  • Brand-produced livestreams can appear on product pages and in various placements where customers browse – Amazon-produced livestreams appear in prominent placements such as home page, events, and category,
  • Amazon-produced livestreams cover major holidays and shopping events such as Today’s Deals Live, Prime Day, Halloween, and more,
  • Streams contain customer engagement features such as live chat, a product carousel, promotions, and a prominent Follow button,
  • Each stream can feature up to 40 products in the carousel (the shoppable line of products under the stream),
  • There are 3 tiers of Amazon Live creators: Rising Star, Insider, and A-List, and these affect stream placements across Amazon.

While it might seem on the surface that livestream shopping is a repackaged QVC or Home Shopping Network, there are major differences. Yes, it is similar in that products can be demonstrated on Amazon Live, but it is a more relatable, intimate, and authentic shopping experience. 

Instead of a set, the broadcasts can be shot out of a studio or home, and the hosts aren’t paid talent but real people. Often, they’re just highlighting their favorite products or deals that they personally use.  

How FBA Sellers Should Use Amazon Live

A livestreamer stands in front of a brick wall with neon signs speaking into her phone mounted on a tripod

Across the (many) resources dedicated to Amazon Live are pages highlighting best practices, guides, webinars, and FAQs on how to best use the service.

So, instead of looking at how to livestream, let’s look at how to use the streams themselves. If you view a shopping livestream as just another advertising prong for your marketing strategy, it can reduce how intimidating they seem to produce. 

Showcase Your Product on Amazon Live

Using a livestream to showcase your products allows customers to get a more in-depth look at how it works, and how it would fit into their life, just like a video. 

RELATED: Amazon’s Sponsored Display Ads: What Are They, How Do They Work, and Can They Really Help Drive Your Sales?

Unlike a video, a livestream allows customers to ask questions and get answers, or demonstrations, in real time. This can help close a sale because a customer doesn’t have time to forget what and why they were looking at the product.

Use Livestreams to Raise Brand Awareness

Connecting with customers through livestreams can also help build familiarity and reliability with a brand. The prominent Follow button during streams allows customers to follow the brand on their Amazon account, getting future updates and notifications.

Amazon repeatedly mentions capturing your off-Amazon audience by communicating about your livestream on social media and via mailing lists. Actively promoting a livestream will only help its results, whether they’re measured through sales, Follows, or customer awareness and engagement.  

What Are the Pros and Cons of Amazon Live?

As with all new projects from Amazon – and with livestream shopping in particular – there are pros and cons. 

But what are some of the biggest questions FBA sellers especially should ask themselves before braving the switch to Amazon Live?

Con: Visibility vs. Competition

It can be hard at this stage to predict whether many brands and sellers will adopt livestream shopping on Amazon. At first, each brand will have more visibility due to the limited number of streams, but this can become diluted over time as more sellers and brands are able to stream.

RELATED: Amazon DSP: A Seller’s Guide to Expanding Reach, Optimizing Campaigns, and Boosting Sales On and Off Amazon

There are many benefits for sellers using Amazon Live, however, including more brand awareness, external traffic to their listings, extra sales, and a real user doing a demo of their product and answering questions about it. Having a post-broadcast livestream available for customers will also act as video content, even if they can no longer interact with the host. 

Is a Live Amazon Shopping Platform Too Risky?

Yes and no. There is always a risk, with anything being live, that something could happen beyond the host or broadcaster’s control. On the one hand, this can create a more authentic and realistic experience.

In order to minimize the negative risk, being careful about who you work with will be critical. Any host, be they part of the brand or an influencer, will need to be ready with product knowledge, experience, and answers when the audience wants to ask. 

It's expected that viewers can voice their thoughts, questions, and opinions in the live chat, so the host must know how to handle the inquiries professionally. 

Will It Become Too Much of an Influencer Space?

Fashion Livestreamer with a ring light films herself with a mobile phone on a tripod

From the information and positioning of the extensive pages on Live, it’s clear that Amazon is aiming more at influencers than the brands themselves. This tells us that the company is expecting sellers and brands to partner with influencers to create compelling content. 

RELATED: Amazon PPC Strategy: A Beginner’s Guide to Weekly PPC Optimization

The main goal for Amazon Live will be bringing more external traffic to the site. As we said before, the platform repeatedly states across the information pages to notify mailing lists and social audiences about a livestream. Amazon is aware that brands and influencers can have their own extensive following, and it wants to capture their spend.

As with any content platform, those that produce high-quality content experience more success, hence the presence of influencers and celebrities. It’s likely that Amazon Live will predominantly feature influencers or celebrities, because those are the streams that will be more successful.

Will this be bad for brands and sellers? That will depend on the relationships they have with the influencers.

Is Amazon Live Good for Off-Amazon Traffic?

As mentioned, Amazon is leaning heavily into using livestreams to bring more traffic to the site. The goal is to get sellers and brands to bring their following onto Amazon, and keep them there.

One of the steps of going live includes a reminder to not direct away from Amazon to other sites. This makes sense, of course, as Amazon wants to capture and keep customers – hence the warning that all streams will be moderated and removed if violating any agreements.

However, going live is a great reason to reach out to a social media following or mailing list and drive traffic to your listings or store. Since this is a new area for the US market, it isn’t necessarily something they will have seen before; that could pique their interest enough to drive traffic. 

Which Products Work Best on Amazon Live?

Talking about popular products definitely helps with traffic. Since livestreams often show up on relevant product pages, the more heavily-trafficked the product page is, the better it will be for your stream. 

RELATED: Amazon Just Raised FBA Fees Again: How Bad Is It This Time & Can Sellers Still Protect Their Bottom Line?

However, the best products to share are the ones that a host uses and has experience with, so the demo can be genuine and knowledgeable. Products that are easy to visually demonstrate will be more appealing, especially if it’s something not obviously apparent from a static image, such as a kitchen or cleaning product. 

Amazon sets out a few guidelines on its Community Policy which states that alcohol-related products and health, beauty, and weight loss products are either prohibited or restricted in terms of language or claims. 

Is Livestreaming the Future of Ecommerce or Is Amazon Stuck in the Past?

Capturing audiences and keeping them on Amazon for longer is the goal of livestream shopping.

Live streams offer a new way to shop, but with the added benefit of the tried and tested live demonstrations from QVC and the Home Shopping Network. China has seen huge successes with livestream shopping in recent years, but it looks like that bubble is set to burst in the near future.

One article addressing the downfall of Chinese livestreaming ecommerce highlights industry giant ByteDance. Specifically, the piece mentions its bid to diversify and shore up other areas of business in anticipation of the livestream shopping growth to slow. This certainly indicates that livestream shopping isn’t necessarily the next big thing everyone has been hoping for; and indeed instead, that it might be a gateway to developing new and more exciting opportunities. 

For example, Amazon has just announced the launch of Inspire, its own in-app content stream of videos and photos for customers to explore. This adoption of a TikTok-style stream could be a bridge between Amazon Live and listings, keeping users on Amazon for longer.

Is Amazon Live Right for Your Ecommerce Business?

It can be. If you work with a creator that is frequently featured on the Amazon deal page or Amazon home page, you can get thousands of eyes on your product page and boost sales. Since creators have different levels, and those levels are tied to the all-so-critical high-traffic placements on Amazon, looking for A-list creators will increase your chances of success. 

Try to find a creator who fits your product's niche so it is organic for them to incorporate the product into their stream, and it will come across authentically. 

Amazon Live is also a long-term play, not a one-off success. Your strategy can involve multiple creators or a long-term partnership with one creator you enjoy working with. Success on Amazon Live can be very worth it with the right creator and the right strategy. 

If you’re an FBA seller looking for new ways to help drive customers, sales, and profits to your Amazon business, Carbon6 can help simplify your success. The Carbon6 suite is packed with tools to help optimize inventory, manage ad campaigns, and reimburse the money Amazon owes you. And that’s just the beginning of what our solutions can do for you.

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