By Macdara Duncan, International Sales Director at Sprii
The news that Paris Hilton has partnered with X, formerly known as Twitter, to bring live shopping features to the platform is certainly interesting. At Sprii, we obviously advocate for live streaming being the future of e-commerce, and this development seems to validate that belief. However, while the potential is there, I don't believe X is the right platform for brands to embrace live shopping - at least not yet.
As I’ve written before, Live Shopping represents a major opportunity for brands to engage with consumers in new ways. The ability to showcase (and sell) a brands product in real time while interacting with customers initially proved unbelievably successful in China, and this new ‘trend’ is growing steadily in the West. It is important to note that social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, are still leading the way by rolling out live shopping capabilities to the greatest success currently.
And it’s for the reasons above that, on paper at least, Hilton's deal with X makes sense. Despite the platform’s recent controversy and backlash, the platform still has a large user base and adding live shopping could open new revenue streams. However, X faces some major hurdles if it wants live shopping to thrive on its platform:
Reliability Issues - X has struggled with stability and uptime, especially for large live video streams. If shoppers can't depend on the streams to work consistently, it defeats the purpose.
Lack of Shopping Focus - People visit X for news and conversation, not shopping. While some may stumble upon live shopping content, it's doubtful that X will become a destination for it. Instagram and Facebook are better positioned given how social they already are around commerce.
No Direct Shopping Integration - Unlike Sprii which allows direct checkout from live streams, X will reportedly only allow browsing a selected ‘catalogue’ and then clicking through to external sites. It is our belief that this extra friction hurts conversion rates. TikTok struggles with this same issue.
For these reasons, I believe brands interested in exploring live shopping should still look to Facebook and Instagram as the front-and-centre platforms. The tried and tested community, features and reliability are still far superior there for social commerce.
Could this change down the line if X makes live shopping more of a priority? Absolutely. But the company has given little indication that commerce is a major focus right now. While Paris Hilton's star power brings attention to the possibilities, brands would be wise to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to live shopping on X for the time being.
The foundations just aren't sturdy enough yet to warrant shifting significant resources and ‘marketing dollars’ there. But time will tell.