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Influencers’ next frontier: their own live shopping channels

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Carla Stevenné’s first live stream terrified her. As part of Amazon Live’s influencer beta group, she needed to find stuff to sell, and she needed to figure out how to fill her allotted hour. She had never tried to hawk products live before, let alone fill 60 minutes talking to herself and a camera. She looked around her house. A few things stood out: a waterproof Bluetooth speaker, Crest 3D Whitestrips, and a Bluetooth karaoke machine.

“I’m looking at the time, I was 15 minutes in, [and] I’m like, ‘O. M. G., 45 more minutes to get to an hour — I do not know how I’m going to do this.’” she says.

Almost no one tuned into Stevenné’s first stream, but now, more than 200 streams later, she says an hour is nowhere near as daunting, and hundreds of people can tune in at a time.

2020 has been the year of live shopping for US tech companies. Amazon launched Amazon Live for influencers in July, and Instagram and Facebook launched live shopping features in August. Google’s R&D division, Area 21, also launched Shoploop, which isn’t live but offers shoppable stories, and smaller startups continued their efforts to make live shopping not just a thing, but the future of retail. On every platform, it ends up looking like a modern twist on QVC — but with influencers instead of celebrities, and those influencers getting a cut of the sales.

Carla Stevenné showed off beauty products on a recent live stream.

There’s good reason for tech companies to believe live shopping could be big in the US: it’s already massive in China. In March, 60 million people tuned into shopping live streams, an increase of 126 million compared to last June, according to a report published by the China Internet Network Information Center. Even Kim Kardashian West partnered with a prolific Chinese influencer on a live shopping stream and reportedly sold 15,000 bottles of perfume almost instantly.

“Live shopping is this really fantastic one-two punch of discovery and consideration in one-go, and it naturally is a medium that lends itself to entertainment, so shopping as entertainment,” says Layla Amjadi, Instagram’s product lead for shopping. “You get to not only discover that product but then you get to hear about it, you get to see it in motion, see it in action.”

Plus, with a pandemic shutting down retail storefronts, the transition to online shopping has only intensified. Live shopping could become a tenet of retail, especially when coupled with the reach and enthusiasm of influencers.

Hélène Heath shows mascara in one of her Shoploop videos.

Amjadi says that 40,000 people tuned in when makeup YouTuber Nikita Dragun hosted a live shopping event on Instagram. Five thousand items were added to shopping carts throughout the segment, she says. And the sales were all a boon for Dragun since she only sold her own branded products.

“There’s a lot of latent demand for discovering brands and products from the people that you look up to and want to emulate,” Amjadi says. “Creators can show up on Instagram in multiple capacities, though. They can show up in a marketing capacity or a selling capacity, and they’re oftentimes, increasingly, doing both.”

Influencers who don’t sell their own products could make money off affiliate links, depending on the platform. Amazon accepts affiliate links for its live events, while Instagram requires brands to register with Facebook before going live. Only brands can make money on Instagram for now, and Facebook gets a cut of the transaction.

Crucial to live shopping’s success, influencers have already gained their followers’ trust and admiration, says Lauren Beitelspacher, an associate professor of marketing at Babson College, making them the perfect salespeople.

“This live shopping with influencers, it’s basically like you’re shopping with a friend or somebody that you really aspire to be like,” she says. “I see that trend only escalating.”

Communication between streamers and viewers is a major component of live shopping. Like with Stevenné’s stream, viewers can ask questions to learn more. Facebook emphasizes the interaction aspect of live shopping in its best practices guide. Replying to everyone who DMs or comments can help “turn them into new customers,” the guide says.

Not every creator has had great success yet, however. Google hired Hélène Heath to create beauty content for Shoploop’s launch, but Heath hasn’t made any money off the affiliate links she included with her nine videos. She also hasn’t made more videos since that initial deal ended. Stevenné says she’s been able to focus on influencing full-time, thanks to her success on Amazon’s live shopping service, but she still has to buy all of the products herself, hoping to make the cash back with sales. Heath still sells products on her Instagram, too, through traditional branded posts and affiliate links to products.

“There’s definitely a balance between sounding like a friend who’s genuinely in love with the products, and then trying to get your audience to buy it so that you can make some money off of it,” Heath says.

Once every influencer starts going live, the onslaught of product marketing likely won’t stop.

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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Apple will replace AirPods Pro for free with faulty noise cancellation, static or crackling

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Today, exactly one year after Apple first launched the AirPods Pro — and thus the same day the very first AirPods Pro owners will see their one-year warranties expire — Apple has launched a repair program that offers free repairs or replacements for another whole year if your AirPods Pro experience issues with noise cancellation or static.

Specifically, Apple will fix:

Crackling or static sounds that increase in loud environments, with exercise or while talking on the phone

Active Noise Cancellation not working as expected, such as a loss of bass sound, or an increase in background sounds, such as street or airplane noise

Apple says only a “small percentage of AirPods Pro” are affected by the issues, but it apparently wasn’t just an early batch — Apple says affected units were manufactured “before October 2020,” meaning every AirPods Pro ever made might be eligible. That’s quite a recall if so. Apple says it will repair faulty AirPods Pro for two years after you first buy them.

We’ve heard complaints about degraded noise cancellation before, and at least one Verge editor has replaced their AirPods Pro under warranty. It’s nice to hear that Apple isn’t just cutting buyers off as soon as that warranty expires.

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