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Video Shopping Glossary: 35+ Terms Every Retailer Needs to Know
Live shopping and video shopping = big buzz for 2023. But the definition of what live shopping is, isn’t always clear. In this guide, we’re breaking down all the key terms thrown around about video commerce so you can navigate what type of video shopping is best for your business.
1:1 live shopping
One-to-one live shopping (also abbreviated as 1:1) refers to a single customer being connected to a single live shopping associate over a video call, either on demand, or via appointment. During the live shopping call, the associate may be working in a retail space, private showroom / studio, or from home.
The associate’s job in a live shopping call is often to provide personal shopping services, including sharing specific products or collections with a customer, answering questions, providing recommendations, showing how to use a product, or assisting a shopper with checkout.
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1:many live shopping
One-to-many live shopping (also abbreviated as 1:many) refers to a live shopping experience where a single host, or sometimes multiple hosts, are presenting a live streamed show to an audience of many viewers. Many people refer to this type of live shopping as the modern-day or virtual equivalent of a QVC or HSN show.
There is limited two-way interaction between the host and attendees; shoppers may be able to leave comments, ask questions, or ‘react’ with emojis. The goal of any 1:many event is to generate top of funnel awareness, often for a new product or collection launch. 1:many live shopping events are generally scheduled at a specific time and broadcast to multiple channels, including a retailer’s own website and their social channels.
1:few live shopping
A one-to-few live shopping event (also abbreviated as 1:few) involves a single live shopping associate meeting up with a small, exclusive group of shoppers. Typically speaking, this group is either brought onto a call by invite-only (ex: A group of VIP customers), or by appointment (ex: A bride and her bridesmaids, or a MLM sales associate and a group of ‘party’ attendees).
One-to-few live shopping events most often feel similar to a one-to-one shopping session, in that all attendees can interact and speak with each other. The only real difference is that there is more than one shopper at a time, which may limit the ability for multiple customers to add products to cart in a session.
Amazon live shopping
Amazon Live Shopping lets customers watch live video streams of products being showcased and promoted by Amazon sellers, influencers, and brands. During these live streams, customers can ask questions, interact with the hosts, and make purchases directly from the stream. The aim of Amazon live shopping is to provide a more engaging and interactive shopping experience for customers, as well as increase sales for sellers and brands.
Anyone can host an Amazon Live show using the Amazon Live Creator app, however, Amazon itself also works with specific influencers or brands to host Amazon Live shows as well.
Augmented Reality (also known as AR) superimposes digital content, such as images, videos, or 3D models, onto the user's view of the real world. The goal of AR is to enhance the user's perception of the physical world with digital information, rather than replacing it entirely the way you would with virtual reality. This can be done through various mediums such as smartphones, tablets, headsets, and smart glasses.
AR is used in ecommerce, but it’s hardly limited to that field - gaming, education and industrial design are also big AR proponents. In ecommerce, AR is primarily used to give customers the ability to visualize a product in their physical space.
Here are just a few examples of how ecommerce businesses are using augmented reality:
- Virtual try-ons: Fashion and beauty retailers use augmented reality to allow customers to virtually try on clothing, accessories, or makeup, giving them a chance to see how the product would look on them before making a purchase. For example, Sephora, Bolle, and Warby Parker are using augmented reality to let customers try on makeup and glasses. Get more details on virtual try-ons with our guide to brands crushing the online CX here.
- Furniture and home decor visualizations: Furniture and home decor brands are using augmented reality to allow customers to visualize how furniture or decor would look in their own homes. For example, IKEA and Wayfair have used augmented reality to show customers how items would fit in their room.
- Product demos: Some companies are using augmented reality to demonstrate how a product works, such as the case of car manufacturers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Lexus, that use AR to show off the car’s features and even let consumers project the car into their living spaces for a 360 degree view.
- In-store experiences: AR isn’t just for when you’re on the go. Some retailers have used augmented reality to enhance in-store experiences, for example, by providing customers more information about products or by creating interactive displays.
Brick and click
Brick and click refers to businesses that have both physical retail stores (brick) and an online ecommerce site (click). This type of business model allows customers to shop through a variety of channels, including online, in-store, or through a combination of both. Ideally there is a seamless experience between the two channels.
Examples of seamless brick and click experiences include:
- Customers can look up inventory online before visiting a store
- Shoppers can connect with live shopping associates working out of a retail store
- Purchases made online can be returned to a brick and mortar store
Retail adoption of brick and click became significantly more widespread after the Covid-19 pandemic, when retailers who were forced to shutter their retail spaces looked for creative ways to connect shoppers with the products they were after, leading to a rise of BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) or click & connect
Here are three real-life examples of brick-and-click experiences:
- Amazon Books: Online ecommerce giant Amazon might be known as the Everything Store, but we all know its humble origins as an online bookseller. Now, Amazon Books brings the online offline, by letting customers browse books in-store and purchase them online through the Amazon website.
- Walmart: Walmart offers a brick-and-click experience by allowing customers to purchase items both in-store and online. Customers can also pick up online orders at the store or have them delivered to their home.
- Target: Target’s brick-and-click experience includes allowing customers to purchase items both in-store and online. Target also offers a service called "Drive Up" which allows customers to place an order online and have it delivered to their car in the store parking lot.
Carting typically refers to the process of adding items to an online shopping cart while browsing an ecommerce website, without needing to check out right away. Many shoppers will build real-time ‘wish lists’ in this way, adding all items for consideration to their cart before finalizing their purchase at checkout.
In a live shopping session, carting means a customer can add products to their cart within the experience, and doesn’t need to open a separate instance of a retailer’s site.
In some cases, carting allows a customer to ‘reserve’ a product for a limited period of time, which can be highly beneficial for brands with high interest levels. In other cases, carting can be a useful tool for merchants to store customer carts and remarket them via advertising, email, or pop-ups when a shopper returns to the site.
Carting may also be used to refer to the act of a customer adding items to their cart and then leaving the website without completing the purchase, also known as "abandoned cart".
Clienteling is an ecommerce / retail strategy that uses customer data and technology to personalize the shopping experience for individual customers. This can include using customer data to create personalized product recommendations, offering tailored promotions, or providing exceptional customer service.
In a modern ecommerce experience, clienteling often involves specific 1:1 or 1:few outreach driven by a sales associate that has a ‘client book’. Their book often targets high value shoppers that either purchase large volumes or in high frequency. Clienteling activities may include:
- Sending text or social chat messages
- Scheduling one-on-one virtual or in-store shopping appointments
- Providing special offers or discount codes
- Giving sneak peeks of new arrivals before general access
- Offering recommendations
- Checking in on personal shopping needs
The process of clienteling typically involves the use of customer relationship management (CRM) software, which allows retailers to collect and analyze data on their customers' shopping habits, preferences, and demographics. This data can then be used to create a personalized shopping experience for each customer, both online and in-store.
The goal of clienteling is to increase customer loyalty and lifetime value by providing a more personalized and enjoyable shopping experience. Retailers use clienteling to build strong relationships with customers, increase sales, and improve customer retention.
Conversational commerce refers to the use of messaging and chat platforms, such as text messages, social media, voice assistants, chatbots, or video, to facilitate ecommerce experiences and transactions. Customers are able to interact with businesses in a conversational manner, using natural language to make purchases, track orders, and get product recommendations.
The goal of conversational commerce is to make online shopping more convenient, personalized, and efficient for customers by providing them with a level of interactivity previously not made available through traditional ecommerce.
Conversational commerce can be integrated with various messaging platforms, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. It may be conducted on a one-to-many, one-to-few, or one-to-one basis, depending on what type of data a brand has about its customers, and what kind of relationship they’re trying to create.
An example of conversational commerce would be an SMS-based application that targets customers who have bought a certain product on repeat before, alerting them that a new variant (size, color, style) is available, then giving the customer the option to add that product to their cart or even checkout within the conversational commerce experience.
Customer service live shopping
Customer service live shopping involves repurposing customer service or customer experience team members to go beyond ‘support’ and provide actual shopping assistance. This means a shopper may connect with the customer service team to get assistance with typical technical issues (shipping, payments, returns, defective items, etc.), as well as inquire about product details, specs, or visuals, as well as advice on what products to buy.
Customer service live support agents can connect to shoppers over text, phone, or video. With video, customer service agents may be able to provide product demonstrations, show product details up close, or conversely, see something a customer wants to show them (ex: an item in their closet, a room they’re decorating).
Endless aisle refers to the ability of a physical store to offer customers access to a wider range of products than what is available in-store. Endless aisle experiences are accomplished by using technology, such as in-store kiosks, tablets, or mobile apps, to connect customers to the retailer's full inventory, including products that may not be available in the store at that particular time.
Typically speaking, endless aisle orders can be completed either within the store, or within the digital experience (i.e. an app). Shoppers can arrange to pickup an endless aisle order in-store, or have it shipped right to their home.
An example of endless aisle shopping might involve a customer trying on a top in a fitting room, requesting a different size, and finding out it’s not available. A store associate may order the top in the customer’s desired size and ship it to their home, or the customer may use an in-changeroom app to order it themselves.
Facebook Live Shopping
Facebook Live Shopping was a feature that allowed businesses to sell products directly through a live video on their Facebook page. Viewers could purchase the products shown in the video without leaving the platform, using Facebook's built-in shopping and checkout features - although as a caveat, these features were available to U.S. customers only. Businesses could use this feature to give customers a more interactive and immersive shopping experience, and to drive sales through the social media platform instead of having to visit a retailer’s website.
However, Facebook Live Shopping was officially discontinued by Meta, Facebook’s parent company, in October 2022. Brands can still host livestream events, or even use a livestream shopping platform to cross-stream to Facebook, but native in-app checkout and sales are no longer supported by Facebook.
There are a few definitions of ghost commerce, but the most common one refers to conducting commerce sales without a physical or even digital storefront. Instead, an individual or business may sell products through social media platforms, chat, or private groups.
A secondary definition for ghost commerce refers to monetizing a digital brand, without offering specific products or services. In this instance, ghost commerce can be seen as akin to affiliate marketing, where someone provides a product recommendation with a trackable link that enables them to earn a commission off the sale of that product.
For example, someone may build up a reputation (and a following) for being an expert on cat toys. They could create a ghost commerce channel by creating a blog or site dedicated to their most recommended toys, with affiliate links embedded within. The cat toy expert isn’t directly selling any products, but instead, banking on their reputability to drive sales of a product that they’ll then earn a profit from.
Creators or affiliates may also generate revenue by offering exclusive content to subscribers or followers - similar to the model pioneered by Patreon, and since expanded upon by service providers like Substack.
Regardless of what type of ghost commerce you employ, recognize that the phrase ‘ghost kitchen’ is derived from ‘ghost kitchens’. A ghost kitchen refers to a ‘restaurant’ that only exists for the purposes of fulfilling delivery orders through popular apps like Uber Eats and Doordash. The premise of ghost kitchens was to offer quality food at a higher margin, but not dealing with the overhead of a prime restaurant location’s rent or staffing. Ghost commerce is similar in that it involves selling products without needing to do the work of maintaining the inventory or logistics of a typical retail or ecommerce business.
Ultimately, ghost commerce allows businesses to reach new customers, build personal connections, and create a sense of exclusivity and community around their products.
Ghost store / Ghost shop
A ghost store refers to a business that operates without a physical storefront, and in some cases, without an official website. Instead, a merchant or seller may employ a checkout tool to conduct transactions anywhere - such as via chat or over social media.
When it comes to live shopping, a ghost shop most often refers to a simulated version of a retail store. DTC brands may have a ghost store because they don’t have a physical location to sell out of. Omni-channel retailers with brick and mortar stores may create a ghost shop to minimize risk or overcome any barriers from selling in-store (i.e. web connectivity, mall hours, being busy with other customers, etc.)
Group buying, also known as collective buying or bulk buying, is a purchasing method where a group of people come together to buy a product or service at a discounted price. The idea is that by pooling their purchasing power, the group can negotiate a better deal with the seller.
Group buying can take place online or offline, and is often coordinated through group buying websites (such as Groupon), social media platforms, or messaging apps. The group buying process typically involves a seller offering a product or service at a reduced price, which is only valid if a certain number of people agree to purchase it within a specified timeframe. Once the threshold is met, the group purchase is completed and the group members receive the discounted product or service.
Instagram live shopping
Instagram Live Shopping is a feature that allows businesses to sell products directly through a live video on their Instagram page. This allows businesses to showcase products in real-time, answering customer questions and providing more information about the product. Instagram Live Shopping is integrated with Instagram Checkout, which allows U.S. customers to purchase the product while they are watching live video, without leaving the app. This feature is designed to make the shopping experience more interactive and engaging, and to drive sales through the platform, instead of requiring customers to visit a separate website. Instagram Live Shopping is available for eligible business accounts and is currently available in some countries only.
In January 2023, Instagram also announced it was removing the Shopping tab from their main navigation. While Instagram Live Shopping isn’t going away (at least for now - keeping in mind parent company Meta sunset Facebook Live Shopping just a few months earlier), it does mean limited access for the platform’s shopping feature.
Here are three examples of brands that have used Instagram Live Shopping:
- H&M: H&M’s Millennial fashion brand Monki used Instagram Live Shopping to launch a new clothing collection.
- Sephora: As of 2020, beauty giant Sephora has enabled purchases through Instagram, while showcasing new products and virtual makeup tutorials.
- Adidas: Sportswear brand adidas trumpeted a 40% lift in sales after integrating with Instagram’s checkout feature in a 2019 beta test, while providing exclusive looks at new products.
These are just a few examples of brands that have used Instagram Live Shopping. Other brands such as Zara, Under Armour, and Puma also use this feature to showcase new products, drive top of funnel awareness, and ideally, drive sales.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the interconnectedness of physical devices, such as appliances and other equipment, which are equipped with sensors, software, and connectivity. These devices have the ability to collect and transfer data over a network without human intervention, which can then be used to improve efficiency, track and monitor assets, and make autonomous decisions.
In retail, IoT devices can be used in a variety of ways to improve the customer experience and increase efficiency. Some examples include:
- Smart shelves: IoT-enabled shelves can track inventory levels in real-time, alerting store managers when stock is running low. They can also track customer interactions with products, providing valuable insights into customer behavior and how a retailer could adjust their merchandising.
- Smart dressing rooms: Retailers can use IoT sensors to track which clothes are taken into the fitting room and how long they are tried on for. This helps retailers better understand customer preferences and make more informed merchandising decisions instead of simply relying on purchase data.
- RFID tags: RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) tags can be placed on products to track their location and movement throughout the store. This allows retailers to quickly locate items that are out of stock or have been misplaced.
- Beacons: Retailers can use beacons, which are small, low-energy Bluetooth devices, to send personalized offers and promotions to customers' smartphones as they shop.
- Smart mirrors: Smart mirrors can be used to create an interactive experience for customers in the fitting room. They can also be used to allow customers to order items that are out of stock in the store.
All these IoT devices and technologies collect and transmit data back to the retailer's system where it can be analyzed to improve operational efficiency, inventory management, and personalize the customer experience.
Live selling refers to the practice of selling products or services through live streaming, typically on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube. During a live selling livestream, a seller will demonstrate and promote products, answer questions from viewers, and often offer special deals or promotions to drive more sales. Live selling allows for real-time engagement with customers, helping to both build trust and create a sense of urgency. It can also be a useful tool for direct-to-consumer businesses and for promoting products that are difficult to photograph or describe in writing.
Check out three examples of live selling brands below.
- QVC: Oftentimes people call live selling the ‘modern day QVC’, and for good reason. This home shopping originator specializes in live selling on live TV shows to showcase products and offer special deals and discounts to customers who purchase during the live broadcast.
- HSN: HSN is another ecommerce brand that specializes in live selling, often mentioned in the same breath as QVC. They use live TV shows to demonstrate and show off different products. Just like QVC, they also often serve up discounts to customers to motivate them to buy during their programs.
- Beautycounter: Beautycounter, a skincare and beauty brand that relies on independent sellers to market their products, uses live streaming on social media platforms, such as Instagram. While Beautycounter itself has held livestream events, their brand consultants (salespeople) have also taken to social media to host independent events that talk through the brand’s product lineup.
Livestream shopping [live stream shopping]
In a lot of ways, livestream shopping is very much the modern-day QVC. Live stream shopping involves selling products through live streaming video on platforms such as social media, ecommerce websites, or live streaming apps. The live stream host, who can be a brand representative, an influencer, or a celebrity, will present and demonstrate the products, answer customer questions and sometimes offer discounts, bonuses, or other incentives to make a purchase during the live stream event. The audience can interact with the streamer and often with each other, including asking questions. Of course, they should also be able to make purchases directly through the live stream, either on the platform or on the website where the live stream is being broadcasted. A live stream shopping event allows the customers to see products in real-time, get a sense of the quality, and ask any questions they may have before making a purchase, ultimately helping to increase conversion rates and build trust with a brand.
The definition of live shopping most often refers to any type of online shopping done through live streaming video, whether directly on a merchant’s website, through social media, or through a livestreaming app or website.
A key tenet of live shopping is that it is done ‘live’ - whether in a 1:1, 1:few, or 1:many scenario. This is where live shopping diverges from video shopping. Shoppable video can be prerecorded - including events that appear to be ‘livestreams’. But true live shopping means both the customer and shopping associate are able to connect and communicate over video in real-time.
Live shopping associate / host
A live shopping host is a person who leads live streaming sessions to sell products or services. Live shopping hosts can also be referred to as live shopping associates, particularly when they are offering one-on-one tailored live shopping support, as opposed to ‘hosting’ a livestream one-to-many event.
The main role of a live shopping host or associate is to present and demonstrate products, answer customer questions, and create a sense of urgency for purchasing. Of course, they need to do all of this while engaging the audience, entertaining shoppers, and creating a sense of community around the products being sold.
During a livestream event , the host will typically show the products, give detailed information about them, and demonstrate how they work. They may also take questions from the audience and respond to comments in real-time. Given the event-based nature of a live stream, the host may also offer special deals or promotions such as discounts or bonuses, to encourage customers to make a purchase.
A live shopping associate in a one-on-one situation plays a really similar role in terms of demonstrating products and answering questions. But because they’re in a more intimate setting, they’re able to provide more tailored product recommendations and responses - for example, by styling a look based on an item a customer is interested in, or recommending specific products for their exact skin type.
No matter what, a live shopping associate’s main goal is to create a sense of trust and connection with the audience, and to increase conversions by making the products more appealing and relatable.
On a practical level, live shopping hosts need to be able to handle any technical issues that may arise during the live stream, and be able to improvise if needed.
Omni-channel retailing refers to a strategy used by retailers where they offer customers a seamless shopping experience across multiple channels, including physical stores, online stores, and mobile apps. The goal of omni-channel retailing is to provide customers with a consistent and unified shopping experience, regardless of how they choose to shop.
Some examples of omni-channel retailing include:
- In-store pickup of online orders
- Mobile apps that allow customers to scan barcodes in-store and make purchases on their phone
- Websites that allow customers to see inventory levels at nearby stores
- The ability to return online purchases in-store
Overall, omni-channel retailing is about creating a cohesive experience for the customer across all channels and providing them with the convenience and flexibility they desire.
Participatory commerce, also known as co-creation or co-commerce, refers to a business model where consumers are actively involved in the design, development, and promotion of products or services. This type of commerce emphasizes the importance of collaboration and co-creation between businesses and consumers, with the goal of creating products and services that meet the specific needs and preferences of the target market.
Participatory commerce can take many forms, including:
- Crowdfunding: where consumers can pledge money to support the development of a product or service
- Crowdsourcing: where businesses solicit ideas and feedback from consumers on the design or development of a product or service
- Co-creation: where consumers actively participate in the design and development of a product or service
Participatory commerce allows businesses to tap into the collective knowledge and creativity of their customers, which can lead to more innovative products and services, and increased customer loyalty and satisfaction. Additionally, it can also help reduce the risk of product failure, by helping customers feel like they have a stake in the product’s outcome.
Live shopping can be considered part of a participatory commerce model where brands may use a live stream event to get real-time product feedback. There’s also the idea of a 1:few or one-to-few live streaming event. A brand may invite a select group of VIPs or consumers to attend a live shopping event or product drop; building buzz within a select group before launching more broadly.
Peer-to-peer sales platforms
Peer-to-peer (P2P) sales platforms are online marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers directly, allowing them to trade goods and services without the involvement of a traditional retailer or marketplace operator. These platforms allow individuals and small businesses to sell their products or services directly to customers, bypassing the need for an intermediary.
Examples of P2P sales platforms include:
- Amazon marketplace
- Facebook marketplace
In P2P sales, transactions typically occur between individuals or small businesses, rather than between a business and a consumer. This allows for a more personal, community-based shopping experience, and can also help to support small businesses and entrepreneurs. P2P sales platforms also offer a variety of payment options, shipping options and can even have the option of local pickup or delivery.
P2P sales platforms have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they offer customers a wider variety of products and services, and allow them to connect directly with sellers. They also provide an alternative for small businesses and individuals to sell their products and services, giving them more control over their sales process and potentially increasing their revenue.
Live shopping has started making inroads on P2P platforms. For example, in 2022, Poshmark launched the ability for their Posh Ambassadors to host livestream shopping events. Ebay Live is an ongoing live streaming experience that spotlights different product collections - such as luxury handbags or trading cards - hosted by influencers, hosts, and sellers. And of course Amazon Live is open to anyone selling on Amazon to help them sell more.
Personal shopping / styling
Personal shopping is a service where a professional personal shopper, also known as a personal stylist, assists customers in selecting and purchasing clothing, accessories, and other fashion-related items. Occasionally, personal shoppers may be contracted for other types of personal shopping services, such as sporting equipment or home decor.
No matter the category, personal shoppers work with their clients to understand their style, preferences, and budget, and then help them find the perfect items to suit their needs.
Personal shopping services can be offered in-store, online, or through a combination of both. In-store personal shopping typically takes place in a retail store, where the personal shopper works with the customer to select items from the store's inventory. Online personal shopping, on the other hand, typically takes place through a dedicated website or app, where the personal shopper will work with the customer to select items from a specific retailer’s collection, or across a number of ecommerce sites.
The goal of personal shopping is to help customers save time and effort when shopping, and to ensure that they end up with a wardrobe that is tailored to their specific needs and preferences. Personal shoppers may also help their clients to build a wardrobe over time, and to coordinate different items to create a cohesive look. Personal shopping can be especially useful for people who are busy, who have trouble finding clothes that fit well, or who need help building a wardrobe for a special occasion.
Personal shopping is one of the primary use cases for live video shopping. Whether a customer establishes an ongoing relationship with a personal shopper or books an appointment or requests on-demand service for a single session, the aim is the same: The personal shopping associate connects with a customer over video to look at a brand’s collections and make product or styling recommendations.
Phygital is a term used to describe the integration of the physical and digital worlds. It refers to the use of technology to enhance or augment physical experiences and interactions.
Here are some examples of phygital in retail:
- Use of a mobile app to enhance a shopping experience
- Providing in-dressing room monitors that allow a shopper to browse a collection and request items be brought for them to try on, or to purchase and ship to their home
- Adding QR codes to physical products to learn more about a product’s use cases or providing a product demo
- Creating an augmented reality (AR) experience that allows shoppers to project an item onto themselves or their physical space
The goal of phygital experiences is to create a seamless blend of the physical and digital worlds to enhance the user's experience.
Live shopping can be considered a phygital touchpoint when you consider that video shopping events or one-on-one sessions can be held in a retailer’s physical store; bringing a physical experience virtually to customers anywhere in the world.
Relationship retailing is a strategy used by merchants to create and maintain long-term, personal connections with customers. This strategy focuses on building trust and loyalty by providing personalized service and tailored experiences to individual customers. Businesses that employ relationship retailing may use customer data and analytics to better understand their customers' needs and preferences, and then use this information to create personalized marketing campaigns and product recommendations.
Additionally, relationship retailers may offer specialized services such as live video personal shopping or styling or a concierge service to build deeper connections with their customers. The ultimate goal of relationship retailing is to create a loyal customer base that is more likely to return to a retailer and recommend it to others.
Retail / in-store live shopping
Retail or in-store live shopping refers to any type of video commerce activities that are hosted out of a brand’s retail brick and mortar locations. For example, a retailer may equip their entire staff to answer live shopping calls on demand from anywhere in the store, or they may have a designated team member or two that take on-demand or appointments from a specific studio setup in a retail location.
The primary advantage to this type of experience is the ability to bring the theater of the store to customers anywhere in the world - giving associates easy access to merchandise and giving shoppers a taste of what the retail environment is actually like.
Alternatively, retailers may host livestream shopping events out of their retail stores, using the existing merchandising and store environment to bring life to their live shopping event.
Note that brands without a physical retail store always have the option of creating a studio environment that looks and feels like a store. Similarly, brands with retail stores may choose to create a studio for their live shopping experience to better control their associate availability, as well as the lighting, audio, and visual appeal of their live shopping experience.
Shoppable video is pretty well exactly what it sounds like: A type of video content that allows viewers to learn about and then purchase products directly from the video. This can be done through various methods, such as overlaying clickable links or product tags on the video, using QR codes, or integrating ecommerce functionality directly into the video player. Shoppable videos are often used in ecommerce, social media, and advertising to drive sales and increase engagement with shoppers. They can also be used to promote products, show off new collections or give a look behind the scenes.
Showrooming is a term used to describe the practice of customers visiting a physical store to examine products in person, but then purchasing the same products online, either from the retailer they browsed in-store, or from a different retailer, driven by the ability to buy items at a lower price.
This behavior is most commonly associated with customers using their mobile devices to compare prices and read reviews while in the store. Showrooming can be a major challenge for brick-and-mortar retailers, as it can lead to lost sales and can make it difficult for them to compete with online retailers on price.
Some retailers have tried to combat showrooming by offering price matching or other incentives to encourage customers to purchase in-store, while others have tried to create a more engaging shopping experience in-store to make it more appealing than shopping online.
Omni-channel retailers in particular can actually hurt in-store sales by making online shopping more enticing with incentives and discounts. Ideally, shoppers should be able to purchase products for the same price no matter what channel they’re shopping through.
Social commerce / Social shopping
Social commerce, sometimes referred to as S-commerce, is a form of ecommerce that takes place either directly on or strongly supported by social media platforms. It allows businesses to sell products and services directly to consumers through social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and others. Social commerce allows businesses to leverage the large audiences and engagement of social media platforms to reach and connect with customers in a more direct and personal way.
There are several ways businesses can engage in social commerce, such as:
- Social stores: Creating a shop or store on social media platforms that allows customers to browse and purchase products directly from the platform.
- Shoppable posts: Utilizing shoppable posts, which allow customers to purchase products directly from the post, by clicking on tags or links.
- Live streaming: Using live streaming or video chat to demonstrate products and answer customer questions.
- Messaging or chat: Facilitating direct messaging or chatbot interaction to answer customer queries, and provide customer service.
- Influencer marketing: Teaming up with content creators to create immersive and entertaining content that is shared or promoted on social media.
- User-generated content: Customers create content independently promoting a brand and its products, which can then be repurposed by the brand for on-site or in-app product validation or reviews.
It’s worth noting that social commerce is somewhat divided between two different objectives. In many cases, social commerce is more about product discovery or validation, with transactions happening off a social platform, and on a retailer’s site. However, social commerce can also be used to drive sales directly, with platforms like TikTok or Instagram.
The ultimate goal of social commerce is to allow customers to discover and spark interest in products in places where they’re already spending most time online.
Studio live shopping
Studio live shopping refers to live shopping experiences held out of a studio environment. The studio setting may be designed to simulate a retail store, or may be a more generic background or setup. Studios can be elaborate productions with professional-grade lighting and audio rigs, or as simple as a backdrop with a ring light and microphone.
The number one benefit of a studio setting for live shopping is the brand gets to control the entire experience, including the lighting, audio, background, and internet connectivity. Studios are also a great option for DTC brands with no storefronts; allowing them to create a shopping environment free of typical retail store constraints and costs.
TikTok live shopping
TikTok Live Shopping is a feature of the TikTok app that allows businesses to host live streams where they can showcase their products and allow users to make purchases directly through the app. The feature uses the popular short-form video format of TikTok, which is known for its creative, entertaining, and engaging content, to make the shopping experience more interactive and fun for users.
During a TikTok Live Shopping session, businesses can interact with customers in real-time, answering questions and providing more information about the products being showcased. Users can tap on the products in the live video to view more information and make a purchase. The feature allows businesses to reach a large audience on TikTok, increase sales and drive more traffic to their website.
TikTok Live Shopping is a relatively new feature and it is still being rolled out in selected countries and to selected partners, it is expected to be available to more businesses in the future.
User-curated shopping is a retail concept that allows customers to create and share product collections, known as "collections" or "lists", based on their personal taste and preferences. These collections can be shared with friends and other customers, who can then browse and purchase the products.
The goal of user-curated shopping is to provide customers with a more personalized and social shopping experience. It allows customers to discover new products based on the recommendations of people they trust and to share their own favorite products with others. It also allows retailers to showcase products in a more natural and organic way, by leveraging the personal interests and tastes of their customers.
User-curated shopping can be done through various mediums such as social media, ecommerce websites, or mobile apps. Many ecommerce platforms now offer this feature, allowing customers to create and share their own product collections, as well as browse and shop collections created by other customers. Amazon’s ‘storefronts’ are one of the primary examples of this.
Video chat for ecommerce is a way for businesses to use video conferencing technology to connect with customers and provide them a more personalized and engaging shopping experience.
This can include live video chat sessions with customer service representatives, virtual consultations with sales associates, or video demonstrations of products. The use of video chat in ecommerce allows businesses to provide a more human touch to their online interactions, making it easier for customers to get the information they need, ask questions, and make informed purchasing decisions. It also helps businesses build trust and loyalty with their customers by providing a more transparent and authentic experience.
Some ecommerce platforms are integrated with video chat features, others use third-party video chat software that can be embedded on their website, and others use video chat apps like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet to connect with customers.
A seamless example of video chat in ecommerce is Ghost’s one-to-one live video shopping platform, which allows shoppers to connect with a live shopping associate on demand, or via an appointment booking. Compared to external video chat solutions, Ghost’s live shopping enables consumers to co-browse the website with the shopping associate, add items to bag, and even check out during a call.
Video commerce, also known as v-commerce or video shopping, is a form of ecommerce that uses video content to showcase products and allow customers to make purchases directly from the video. It combines the features of traditional ecommerce and video marketing to create a more engaging and interactive shopping experience.
Examples of video commerce include:
- Product videos on e-commerce websites that allow customers to purchase the featured product directly from the video.
- Live streaming of product demonstrations or unboxing videos on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, where customers can purchase the featured products through links or tags in the video.
- Virtual try-on or virtual fitting room feature, where customers can use their webcam or mobile device to virtually try on clothing or accessories and make a purchase directly from the video.
- Video chat sessions with customer service representatives or sales associates, where customers can ask questions and make a purchase directly from the video chat.
Video commerce can increase customer engagement, providing a more immersive and interactive shopping experience, as well as increase conversion rates and sales for businesses. It also allows businesses to leverage the popularity of video content to reach and connect with customers in a more direct and personal way.
Virtual shopping, also known as virtual retail or virtual storefront, is a type of ecommerce that allows customers to shop in a virtual environment that simulates a physical store or marketplace. It uses technology such as 3D modeling, augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR) to create an immersive and interactive shopping experience.
Examples of virtual shopping include:
- Virtual tours of physical stores or marketplaces, where customers can navigate through the store and shop products using their computer or mobile device.
- Virtual dressing rooms, where customers can use AR or VR technology to try on clothing and accessories, and make a purchase directly from the virtual environment.
- Virtual product demonstrations or unboxing videos, where customers can see a product in action and make a purchase directly from the video.
- Virtual reality marketplaces, where customers can use VR technology to explore a virtual marketplace and make purchases directly from the virtual environment.
Virtual shopping can provide customers with a more immersive and engaging shopping experience, and can also help businesses to reach and connect with customers in a more direct and personal way. It also allows businesses to leverage the popularity of virtual reality and augmented reality technology to increase customer engagement, drive sales, and stand out from their competitors.
Virtual stores are digital storefronts that allow customers to shop in a virtual environment that simulates a physical store. They can be accessed through a website, mobile app, or virtual reality headset. The level of immersion varies wildly based on the type of experience a shopper is pursuing. For example, a virtual store in the metaverse may allow a customer to 'walk' through a digitally created space. A virtual store through live video chat may look and feel like a real store, but not require any kind of headset or the ability to move through a store at all (unless an associate on the other end moves the camera).
Examples of virtual stores include:
- Virtual department stores, where customers can browse through different sections and make purchases directly from the virtual environment.
- Virtual showrooms, where customers can explore and shop products from different brands and manufacturers.
- Virtual pop-up stores, where customers can shop products from a temporary store that exists only in the virtual environment.
- Virtual reality marketplaces, where customers can use VR technology to explore a virtual marketplace and make purchases directly from the virtual environment.
Virtual stores can provide customers with a more immersive and engaging shopping experience, and can also help businesses to reach and connect with customers in a more direct and personal way. They also allow businesses to leverage the popularity of virtual reality and augmented reality technology to increase customer engagement, drive sales and stand out from their competitors.
Here are a few examples of virtual stores:
- IKEA: The Swedish furniture giant offers a virtual reality app called IKEA Place that allows customers to visualize how furniture would look in their own homes. The app uses augmented reality to show customers how items would fit in their room and allows customers to make purchases directly from the app.
- Sephora: Sephora has a virtual try-on feature that allows customers to use their smartphones to try on makeup products. The feature uses augmented reality to apply the products to a customer's face, allowing them to see how it would look in real life, and then make purchase directly from the app.
- Lowe's: Home improvement retailer Lowe's offered a virtual reality shopping experience using the Oculus Go VR headset, allowing customers to explore a virtual store, visualize products in their own home, and make purchases. They also offered a virtual reality clinic called Holoroom How To that taught customers how to tile a shower in a fully-immersive virtual environment.
- Wayfair: Wayfair, an online furniture and home goods retailer, launched a virtual reality app in 2016 called WayfairView, which allowed customers to visualize how furniture would look in their own homes, using augmented reality to show customers how items would fit in their room and allows customers to make purchases directly from the app.
Webrooming, also known as reverse showrooming, is the practice of researching products online before purchasing them in a physical store. It refers to the act of using the internet to research products, compare prices, and read reviews, before making a purchase in a brick-and-mortar store. This behavior is the opposite of showrooming, which is when customers visit a physical store to examine products in person, but then purchase the same products online, typically from a different retailer at a lower price.
Examples of webrooming include:
- A customer researching a new camera on a website, reading reviews and comparing prices before going to a physical store to purchase it.
- A customer searching for a specific brand of running shoes online, reading reviews and comparing prices before going to a physical store to purchase it.
- A customer researching a new TV online, reading reviews and comparing prices before going to a physical store to purchase it.
Webrooming allows customers to make more informed purchasing decisions and take advantage of the convenience and immediacy of in-store shopping. It also allows businesses to leverage the power of online research to drive foot traffic to their physical stores, and can help increase sales and customer loyalty.
How to get started with video shopping
The long and the short of it is: There is more than way to offer video commerce on your site, or even in-store. Video is a massive part of how shoppers consume content in other parts of their lives, from video meetings at work to the rise of TikTok and video-based features on platforms like Instagram. Integrating video with ecommerce has never been easier, thanks to affordable apps and improved internet capabilities that make streaming video accessible from anywhere.
If you're wondering how to get started with video commerce, download our guide to creating a live shopping experience, or connect with us directly to start building out your video shopping capabilities today.