Amazon Live: What Is it, and Is it Right for Your Business?
Regardless of how familiar you are with Amazon, you may not have heard of Amazon Live. This lesser-known feature of the eCommerce giant’s platform is still developing, but it has the potential to become a much bigger feature in the future.
Whether you’re an Amazon seller or an influencer with an Amazon presence, Amazon Live is worth a look. Below, we’ll give an overview of the Amazon Live service and livestream shopping in general, its benefits and challenges, and whether it might be right for your business.
What Is Amazon Live?
Amazon Live is an interactive livestream shopping service hosted on Amazon.com and the Amazon app. These live videos feature brands or influencers who promote and demonstrate products available on Amazon, with a focus on entertainment. Viewers can ask questions and receive real-time answers from the brand or product-savvy ambassadors.
Many other livestream shopping platforms have developed over the past few years. They share many of the same features as Amazon Live, with a focus on demonstrating products, highlighting deals, and making the shopping experience more entertaining. Livestream shopping connects viewers directly with the hosts and with an eCommerce platform where they can purchase the products they see.
On Amazon Live, featured products appear on a carousel beneath the video, with direct links to purchase each product on the influencer or brand’s Amazon store. Creators are expected to discuss and demonstrate all the items they feature and engage with viewers’ responses.
The carousel of featured products under a livestream video on Amazon Live.
Based on your performance as a livestream creator, you can earn more prominent video placements, including Amazon’s homepage and the listing pages of featured products.
The most popular product categories on Amazon Live are lifestyle categories such as fashion and beauty, health and wellness, home, cooking and food, and pets. Product categories like electronics and gaming, which customers often research more before buying, also do well on Amazon Live.
The featured streams on Amazon Live’s “Browse” tab.
How Big Is Livestream Shopping?
Livestream shopping is a relatively new concept in the United States, though it has similarities with home shopping TV channels like Home Shopping Network and QVC, which have been popular since the 80s. Livestream shopping differs from these TV channels because of its interactive features and the ability to buy products with a few clicks.
Over the past few years, livestream shopping has spiked in popularity throughout the world, especially in China, where the industry is projected to generate over $600 billion, or 19.4% of retail sales, in 2023. In the US, on the other hand, livestream shopping may become a $25 billion industry by the same year. Time will tell if the US will follow the global trend and embrace this interactive, entertainment-focused shopping style more deeply.
Many tech companies with a strong presence in the country seem to think so. Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Pinterest have all invested in developing livestream shopping on their platforms. Amazon has been experimenting with the trend for a few years now and seems to be ramping up their efforts with the rollout of Amazon Live.
Livestream shopping has a lot to offer viewers and creators alike. Many viewers trust review videos more than written reviews, and about 90% of consumers discover new brands through videos. Viewers use product review videos to see a product in action or learn more about its features, help make final decisions on which brand’s products to purchase, and gain more confidence in their purchases. Live videos have the added benefit of interactivity: customers can ask questions and have them answered in the moment.
Meanwhile, for creators, livestream shopping not only has the potential to increase sales to informed consumers, but also to improve branding. Thanks to its entertainment value, livestream shopping commands viewers’ time and attention, two coveted intangibles for both brands and influencers. Live interaction with customers can also help creators identify what viewers like or want to see more of, which helps make content more relevant and effective.
Who Can Stream on Amazon Live?
For now, users who can stream on Amazon Live must be based in the United States and fall into one of three categories:
- Influencers in the Amazon Influencer Program with an active storefront on the platform
- Amazon Seller brand owners who use Seller Central
- Amazon Vendors who have an approved Amazon Store in Advertising Console.
Please note that if you’re an influencer, Amazon Live is not the platform to get started on. The Amazon Influencer Program requires you to already have a following on another social media platform before they approve you.
If you meet the criteria—or if you’re thinking about joining one of the programs above—read on to learn more about Amazon Live.
What Are the Benefits of Amazon Live?
Launched in 2016, with the addition of the Creator App in 2019, Amazon Live is still very much a fledgling livestreaming platform. Being a new and lesser-known platform comes with its own set of opportunities and challenges. Let’s look at the benefits first.
Improve Sales—For Free
Yes, Amazon Live is free to use, though you can pay to boost your video and be discovered by more viewers. However, it does take significant resources to pull off well.
A number of brands have heightened sales significantly with a combination of Live events and discounts. Since the service is so new, more conclusive data is hard to come by, but the possibility for success exists.
Amazon marketing experts have noted that, to see an impact on sales, creators have to stream consistently for months to grow their viewership and increase their ranking on Amazon Live. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure you have high-quality videos—including picture and sound quality as well as engaging content—to reap the benefits of the service.
Increase Discoverability and Brand Awareness
As we discussed in our post on visual commerce, video has higher conversion rates and ROI than any other type of media. If you stream high-quality live videos, you can increase the value of the format by interacting with your viewers in real time. If viewers have any questions, doubts, or hesitations about a product, you can address them right away in an engaging manner that builds trust.
Over time, viewers—both your audience from other platforms that you direct to your Amazon Live videos and the audience that discovers you through native Amazon traffic—will associate your brand with the high-quality, informative, entertaining content you create.
Interact with Your Audience
Unlike shopping TV channels, Amazon Live allows you to establish a rapport with your audience. Customers value brands that interact and develop a connection with them. Interacting with your customers in real time also allows you to offer them a more personalized experience and to optimize your content in response to requests or suggestions.
A livestream event in which customers ask questions, make comments, and follow the creator for more content.
Get in on the Ground Floor
Since Amazon Live is still a relatively small streaming service, and livestream shopping is a relatively small market in the US, competition is still low. If the platform and the market continue to grow, getting in on the action now could be hugely beneficial in the long run.
It can take a while to grow your following and master your content-creation strategy on the platform. But if you get started early, you’ll have a huge head start on creators who join once Amazon Live gets more popular.
Gain Better Placements Through Organic Growth
Amazon provides a relatively clear and simple roadmap to gaining better placement for your livestreams. Following their guidelines and best practices while providing high-quality, entertaining content and connecting with your viewers can generate organic growth.
Amazon Live creators begin as “Rising Stars” before having the opportunity to become “Insiders.” To gain this level, you must maintain a deeply engaged presence with high-quality streams. Livestreams by Insiders are eligible to appear on the product detail pages of products featured in your livestreams, like in the screenshot below.
Top creators on Amazon Live receive the “A-List” rank. To reach this level, you must offer consistently superb content and high engagement. Livestreams by A-List creators are eligible to appear on the Amazon.com homepage.
For more about the process of leveling up on Amazon Live, stay tuned for our next blog post, where we’ll break down the ins and outs of establishing and growing your presence on Amazon Live.
What Are the Drawbacks of Amazon Live?
For all the exciting potential benefits of Amazon Live, it’s still a relatively untested platform. It has a lot of issues to iron out before it can reach the heights of Taobao in China or even Amazon’s own game-focused streaming service, Twitch. It’s important to consider the drawbacks before deciding whether to dedicate the time and effort to build a presence on the platform.
It Requires Significant Resources
Again, though Amazon Live is free, there are important costs associated with using the service. If you don’t already have the creative team and video equipment to make high-quality content and the following on other social media platforms to direct traffic to your livestreams, getting started on Amazon Live might signify a big investment. Since the platform is so new, it’s unclear at this point whether that sort of investment will be worth it.
Additionally, Amazon Live requires a significant time commitment. Not only does it take time to build a following, but Amazon won’t give you prime placement on the platform until you’ve streamed for 1,000 minutes or sold 100 units in 30 days, or driven 5,000 sales overall.
Amazon also prefers longer videos (ideally 60+ minutes), since they increase overall watch-time and improve the chance viewers will make a purchase. Regularly creating these long-form videos is not easy, and you may not reap the benefits for weeks or months, if ever.
It Has a Smaller Audience
Amazon Live has much less competition than other platforms, but it also has a much smaller audience. While influencers on livestream shopping platforms like Taobao draw in thousands or millions of views, featured Amazon influencers often have only hundreds.
It’s still possible to turn a profit with smaller audiences. Amazon Live viewers, like Amazon browsers in general, are already primed to make purchases, unlike viewers on other platforms like YouTube, who are primarily searching for entertainment or information. When combined with timed discounts and promo codes, the sense of community, discovery, and exclusivity of participating in a live event can encourage viewers to buy more.
Its Effects Are Uncertain
Amazon Live still lacks detailed analytics of sales uplift thanks to livestream videos. While the platform has been adding features regularly since 2019 and may introduce these more in-depth analytics in the future, it’s currently difficult to track how much live video affects or drives sales.
For example, baby products brand Owlet recently ran a livestream event on Amazon Live in combination with a sale. The company saw a 9-16% increase in overall sales throughout the week of the event, while some individual products featured in the livestream received a sales bump of around 70%.
However, a number of bundles that included these products unexpectedly saw a drop-off in sales during the event. The brand was also unable to determine how much the Amazon Live traffic contributed to their increase in sales as opposed to other promotions.
Some creators, especially beauty and lifestyle influencers—and the brands who work with them—do see an increase in revenue as they build their Amazon Live following. However, the extent to which success on the platform drives business success is still uncertain.
It’s Geared Toward Certain Products
Not all categories are suited for Amazon Live. Not only do some categories perform better than others, but Amazon actually requires 40% of the items their top creators feature to be from the fashion/beauty, fitness, electronics, or home categories. These categories dominate the livestream shopping market overall as well.
If your brand doesn’t sell in these categories, it may prove difficult to find success streaming on Amazon Live.
Is Amazon Live Right for Your Business?
If you’re an influencer or a brand that works with influencers, you sell at least some products in the most popular livestream shopping categories, and you’re willing to deal with the growing pains of a relatively new platform, Amazon Live could be worth a shot. In a few years, you could be reaping the rewards of getting in on this market early.
There’s no guarantee of success, even if you follow Amazon’s best practices and produce high-quality content. But if you have all or most of the resources in place, you won’t lose much by trying it out. We’ll be going into more detail about how to improve your chances of success with Amazon Live in our next blog post.
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