Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Twitter is the latest social media network to combine shopping and livestreams

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Twitter is hosting its first shopping livestream on November 28th at 12PM ET, the company announced today as it becomes the latest social media platform to embrace the trend.

The “Cyber Deals Sunday” stream will be a collaboration with Walmart and will take place during the post-Thanksgiving weekend, which is traditionally associated with big sales promotions. Twitter describes the livestream, which will be hosted by Jason Derulo, as a “30-minute variety show” that will feature “electronics, home goods, apparel, seasonal décor, surprise special guests, and much more.”

Twitter joins a growing trend towards shopping-focused livestreams on social media, providing a modern QVC-style shopping experience with influencers and integrated shopping links. In this month alone, Meta’s Facebook has announced a test of a “Live Shopping for creators” feature, Pinterest debuted a live shopping series called “Pinterest TV,” and YouTube expanded its livestream shopping feature with a week-long shopping event called “YouTube Holiday Stream and Shop.” It’s a trend that’s well and truly taken hold in China, where Bloomberg reports that Gen Z consumers are increasingly shifting away from traditional e-commerce retailers towards making purchases via social media.

The components of the shopping interface.
Image: Twitter

Promotional images show how Twitter’s live shopping interface is split between a video livestream, an online catalog, and a feed of tweets. The stream will continue playing in a picture-in-picture mode if you follow a link to a retailer’s website. Twitter says the shopping elements will only be available on iOS and desktop at first, while Android users will be able to watch the stream but not engage with its shopping capabilities.

Twitter is characterizing its Walmart stream as a “test” and declined to comment on what form future livestreams might take. However, it did confirm that it only plans for brands to be able to host shopping livestreams for now, and not regular Twitter users.

Twitter’s new livestream shopping feature comes on the heels of a pilot of a new Shop Module it launched in July this year, which allows select brands to add a shopping section to the top of their profiles. Initially launched with around a dozen brands, Twitter says it’s expanding the feature to more merchants in the US “in the coming weeks.” The platform hasn’t been shy about its attempts to diversify its revenue streams beyond traditional advertising and has also launched premium subscription features in an attempt to make money more directly from its users.





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