Facebook is shutting down Live Shopping on Oct. 1 to focus on Reels, the company announced in a suspension. After that date, you will no longer be able to host new or planned live shopping events on Facebook, the company says. The social media network notes that you’ll still be able to use Facebook Live to stream live events, but you won’t be able to create product playlists or tag your Facebook Live videos.
Live streaming video purchases became publicly available on Facebook two years ago, after a series of smaller trials and beta tests. The feature was designed to provide creators and brands with an interactive way to sell items, connect with viewers and potentially acquire new customers. However, Facebook says it is now moving away from live video markets to focus on Reels.
“As consumer viewing behaviors shift to short-form video, we are shifting our focus to Reels on Facebook and Instagram, Meta’s short-form video product,” the company said in the blog post. “If you want to reach and engage people through video, try experimenting with Reels and Reels ads on Facebook and Instagram. You can also tag products in Reels on Instagram to enable deeper discovery and consideration. If you have one cashier shop and want to host Live Shopping events on Instagram, you can set up Live Shopping on Instagram.”
Facebook debuted Live Shopping in 2018 and has been testing ways to make the feature more seamless and popular over the past couple of years. Last November, the company began testing “Live Shopping for Creators.” The launch allowed creators and brands to crossstream to both of their pages, as opposed to directing users to a single page. In addition, the company launched “Live Shopping Fridays” last summer to encourage larger brands to try live shopping as a medium and increase awareness of live shopping on Facebook. The program included brands such as Abercrombie and Fitch, Bobbi Brown, Clinique and Sephora.
A live shopping platform could eventually serve as a significant revenue stream for Facebook, thanks to sales fees applied to the fund. However, given today’s announcement, it’s clear that Facebook is rethinking its stance on live shopping.
Facebook isn’t the only digital giant looking to curtail its plans for live shopping, as it was recently revealed that TikTok has reportedly abandoned plans to expand its ‘TikTok Shop’ live e-commerce initiative to the US and elsewhere of Europe. The company launched TikTok Shop in the UK last year, its first market outside of Asia, allowing companies and influencers to sell products via QVC-style live streams. However, the venture struggled to gain traction with consumers and suffered from internal problems. The Financial Times reported that expansion plans were abandoned after influencers withdrew from the UK project
Live streaming markets are becoming increasingly popular in Asia, and especially in China. However, with both Facebook and TikTok abandoning their live shopping plans, it appears that general consumer awareness and adoption of live shopping is still low outside of Asia.