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Instagram to Retire Live Shopping in March

Instagram to Retire Live Shopping in March

Ivana Shteriova
Starting March 16, 2023, livestream shopping on Instagram will no longer be available due to failure to gain traction among US shoppers. The feature was introduced in 2020 and allowed brands and creators to tag and sell products on live videos.

Instagram, a subsidiary of Meta, announced a stronger focus on advertising as a primary way for users to discover businesses and shop through the platform. Businesses can use the Shop ads and Advantage+ shopping campaigns to promote their products and drive sales.

Meta is taking a step back from social commerce and reevaluating strategies. Earlier this month, the app removed the Shop tab from its navigation bar. Facebook, which is owned by the same parent company, shut down live shopping in October last year.

The retirement of livestream shopping comes after parent company’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg deemed 2023 a “year of efficiency” for Meta amid quarters of revenue declines and a few rounds of layoffs. The company has struggled to keep users interested in social commerce in the post-pandemic world.

The pandemic contributed to an e-commerce boom, but online shopping sales went down as pandemic restrictions lifted and people returned to brick-and-mortar stores. Sales made directly through social channels account for only a tiny fraction of the total e-commerce spending in the US.

Livestream shopping, on the other hand, is a popular activity in Asian Markets, especially in China. Apps like WeChat, Douyin, and Taobao contributed to 84% of consumer engagement in social commerce and generated $374 billion in 2021 alone.

In the hopes of replicating this success, companies like Meta, TikTok, Amazon, and YouTube invested in livestream shopping. Still, no tech giant managed to replicate China’s social commerce success in Western markets, where consumers have different digital habits and shopping preferences.

For now, Instagram users can continue to go live on the platform, host Q&As, and feature guests in their live broadcasts. Businesses can continue to sell through the platform as usual, except they won’t be able to sell directly through live online events.

Instagram will continue to invest in shopping experiences across reels, stories, ads, and feeds. A better checkout experience is already in development, where people can complete a purchase in just a few clicks from their Instagram and Facebook feeds, stories, and reels.

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