Interactive video shopping, popularized by TV networks like QVC, has moved online. – The New York Times

Interactive video shopping, popularized by TV networks like QVC, has moved online.

Matt Granite, who goes by The Deal Guy, streams daily on Amazon Live, covering everything from kitchen gadgets to snowblowers. Under each video is a carousel display of the products he’s discussing. When a viewer clicks that item and buys it, Mr. Granite gets a cut, with commissions varying from 10 percent for luxury and beauty products to 1 percent for Amazon Fresh items. Mr. Granite’s YouTube channel still brings in more revenue through ad rolls and sponsorships, but he said the revenue and audience numbers for his Amazon Live videos have grown over the past year.

This type of shopping, called e-commerce livestreaming, lets brand representatives, store owners, influencers — and really, just about anyone — stand in front of a smartphone and start a conversation with viewers who tune in, Jackie Snow reports for The New York Times.

Amazon isn’t the only company trying out this type of hawking on an American audience.

“Everybody is thinking about this,” said Mark Yuan, a co-founder of And Luxe, a livestream e-commerce consulting company based in New York. “But they are rushing to it because of the pandemic. Before they had a choice. Now they have no choice.”

E-commerce livestreams are still a niche enterprise in the United States, but they are big business in China, where they drive about 9 percent, or about $63 billion, of the country’s online market. Kim Kardashian West went on a popular Chinese influencer’s stream and sold out her perfume stock within minutes after 13 million people tuned in. At least one Chinese college offers e-commerce livestreaming as a degree. Chinese retailers have also innovated during the pandemic lockdowns, with more streams focused on one-on-one consultations and store walk-throughs.