On March 14, 2023, Apple announced that it’s launching a new way for its US customers to shop online over an interactive video with an Apple specialist. Apple, known for its innovative technology, joins several other brands in leveraging live commerce to boost sales through its website.
The US live commerce market is still in its infancy
While live commerce has become the buzzword in several economies, the US live commerce market has only reached estimated sales of $17 billion in 2022. It is expected to touch $55 billion in sales by 2026. Comparing its sales with China, the Chinese live commerce market has represented sales of $514 billion in 2022. Though the pandemic catalyzed several US retailers to adopt live shopping, the effects were short lived, with Facebook and Instagram sunsetting their live commerce capabilities to shift focus on reels and Instagram ads.
Apple’s setting up its live shopping tech stack could be a bold move for the company as it tries to capture more direct-to-customer (D2C) sales through its e-commerce website. This feature is initially available to US customers looking to purchase iPhones. It covers interactive video shopping sessions where an Apple specialist provides information on new models, features, offers, and financing options on various devices. The feature doesn’t allow specialists to see the customer but instead share their screen and provide the information.
The new service aims to help customers experience the Apple ecosystem closely and address queries before they make a decision. This opens up a culture of authenticity and will help the company understand the customer’s actual pain points.
What G2 data says about the live commerce software market
G2’s Live Commerce Software category predominantly comprises cloud-based software that helps businesses integrate with their e-commerce platform and host interactive live shopping sessions.
In less than six months since its creation on November 16, 2022, the category has more than 70 products under its umbrella. However, it has only 28 approved reviews so far. Though the category secured a good number of products in this duration, the low review counts raise questions about the acceptance of live commerce software among the buyer or user community.
Live commerce is a predominant topic in the e-commerce space now, but it still has a long way to go in the US market.
The future of live commerce
The efforts to implement the same business model that worked in China for live commerce may not work in the US, as consumer behavior and way of doing business differ a lot in both economies. While platforms including TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram are pulling back their live commerce efforts in the US, it will be interesting to see if Apple can do things differently to achieve its goal.
Edited by Jigmee Bhutia