Amazon this week launched Amazon Live, a platform that lets merchants live-stream videos showing off their products. As first noted by TechCrunch, the new platform also features shopping videos hosted by Amazon talent.
Thee-commerce giant has made other investments in live-streaming, such as a deal with the NFL to bring Thursday night football to Amazon Prime.
Combining live-streaming and e-commerce puts Amazon in closer competition with QVC and its parent brand, Qurate Retail Group. Qurate -- which along with QVC owns HSN, Zulily and five other brands -- rebranded itself last year with a renewed focus on retail concepts that offer a "third way to shop" beyond physical retail and e-commerce. Last year, Qurate said it was No. 1 in video commerce with 370 million homes worldwide via its sites, apps, and television networks.
The new Amazon Live platform is open to US sellers registered in the Amazon Brand Registry. Through the Amazon Live Creator iOS mobile app, they can stream content on Amazon.com on desktop, mobile, and Amazon's mobile app. Sellers can stream content directly from their phone camera or through an encoder using a professional camera. They can choose to go live or stream their content at a scheduled time.
Amazon says the videos will appear on Amazon.com/live, as well as product detail pages and a seller's Store. Sellers can pay to promote their videos and reach more customers. They can also interact with shoppers in real-time during livestreams. During a livestream, Amazon will promote the featured product in a carousel next to the video, so shoppers can easily find it.
QVC also this week announced a new way of reaching customers -- it's launching a new iOS app called Q Anytime. The app complements QVC's flagship app with an ever-changing, customizable feed of shoppable videos. A customer can tap on a video to buy the featured product or get more details.
"In many cases, today's consumers are discovering new brands through video and social apps on their smartphones and other mobile devices," Alex Miller, QVC's SVP of Digital Commerce and Marketing, said in a statement. "Q Anytime represents our latest push into a video-first mobile experience, leveraging our unparalleled content production capacity with decades of experience in video shopping."
QVC says that about 60 percent of its US sales are ecommerce sales, two-thirds of which are happening on mobile devices. Meanwhile, more than 80 percent of new customers are coming to QVC US via its digital platforms.