Is TikTok Becoming the Next QVC? All About TikTok Live Shopping

When I was growing up, QVC was the channel my mother would watch to discover new products and deals. From hair straighteners to trendy blouses to jewelry, QVC would display everything during its 24/7 live broadcast.

Fast-forward to 2024, and I thought the live QVC era was long gone, thanks to the rise of online shopping. However, it looks like it is making a comeback via TikTok Live Shopping.

I can’t scroll for more than a minute without coming across a TikTok Live event showcasing products and services that viewers can purchase directly from the live broadcast.

So what is TikTok Live Shopping, and is it the new QVC? More importantly, should your brand give it a try? Here‘s what I’ve found:

What is TikTok Live Shopping

Why should brands experiment with TikTok Live Shopping?

TikTok Live Stream Shopping vs. QVC

Free Ebook: The Marketer's Guide to TikTok for Business [Download Now]

What is TikTok Live Shopping?

TikTok live shopping allows brands to showcase and sell products in real time during live streams on the platform. The experience enables TikTok users to purchase products without leaving the app.

Viewers can also wait until after the live stream to browse all the items mentioned during the event. This is done by tapping the shopping cart icon in the bottom left corner and selecting the items they want to buy.

Moreover, it allows customers and businesses to interact with each other during the process, fostering a connection between consumer and brand.

For example, I was scrolling through TikTok Live and came across a company called Wicked Misfit Shop, selling quirky handbags and purses.

Viewers commented on the live feed and asked the hosts to pick up different bags displayed in the background to explain to the audience.

The hosts answered questions, told viewers how to style the items, and gave vital information such as the items’ materials, features, and uses.

Why should brands experiment with TikTok Live Shopping?

The better question would be, “Why not?” There are so many benefits to selling products during a TikTok Livestream, so I can‘t see why a brand shouldn’t give it a try. Hosting a TikTok live shopping event can:

Expand your audience.

Many TikTok creators suggest going live at least a few times a week to boost reach and increase follower counts.

TikTok content creator Coach.Stone says going live on TikTok between 3-5 times a week is an underrated technique to expand your audience.

“I recommend going live about an hour after you post a video so that when that video is pushed out to people’s For You Pages, they see that you’re live,” he says. “If they’re interested in your video, they’ll want to learn more about you, pick your brain, and they’ll join your live.”

If your live stream is engaging and entertaining, viewers will want to follow your account to tune in for more. Ensuring your livestream offers your audience some value is critical to making it enjoyable.

In the case of live shopping, the value is your product and how well you showcase it. For example, I often see live shopping events from wig companies like the one below.

Hosts of the streams will typically try on the wig themselves, show how to style it, and discuss the kinds of outfits or events in which the wig would shine best.

And each time a wig is purchased during the stream, hosts often ring a bell or shout out the buyer by thanking them live.

They also answer questions from viewers in the comments.

All of this keeps your audience entertained and will attract followers.

Increase sales.

Most TikTok users are Gen Z, making up 44.7% of the platform’s users. Moreover, 46% of Gen Z consumers in the U.S. have participated in live shopping events.

And finally, 47% of Gen Z consumers in both the US and UK have made a purchase from a live stream. So, what does this all mean?

Well, it means livestream shopping can increase the sales and purchase potential of your products or services, especially since Gen Z’s buying power is growing yearly.

And let’s not forget about us millennials, who make up 33.7% of TikTok’s users. I admit I’ve been influenced quite a few times by social media when purchasing a product.

I bought my favorite skirt from Midnight Hour after seeing it pop up on my Instagram several times, and I’ve made a note to buy this adorable pink clock purse after seeing it promoted in a TikTok Live shopping event.

And I’m not the only millennial influenced. 38% of millennials in the UK and US have purchased via a social media platform.

TikTok Live Stream Shopping vs. QVC

Of course, it’s time to answer the leading question — is TikTok live shopping becoming the next QVC? To answer that, I need to do some comparing and contrasting.

Where They Compare

Both QVC and TikTok live shopping involve showcasing a product during a live broadcast. On both platforms, viewers can purchase the item immediately via the broadcast.

Perhaps the most crucial similarity is that QVC and TikTok Live Shopping feature genuine, conversational approaches to e-commerce. Look at the clip below of a classic QVC moment.

Host and stylist Nick Chavez speaks to a caller about his product, answers her questions, and even laughs off a live tumble.

Conversations and unscripted, authentic moments like the one above made QVC popular among consumers for decades.

And the same can be said about TikTok Live Shopping. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any funny video compilations to share in this post, but believe me when I say TikTok Live can be hilarious, random, and unhinged.

I always wonder what I’m going to see during a live broadcast. Will the host say something wild? Will they accidentally drop a product? Or, will a viewer join the live and completely change the atmosphere?

That’s the beauty of any live broadcast and what makes live shopping all the more fun.

Where They Contrast

Historically, viewers would have to call QVC viewers must call a number on display during the live event to make a purchase or ask the hosts questions. On TikTok, viewers can tap the item on their screen to buy it directly via the TikTok app.

TikTok viewers can join the live by requesting to do so, or they can interact with the hosts via the comments section.

Another difference is the quality of products and sellers between QVC and TikTok. Remember when I said some of my favorite clothing came from shopping on platforms like TikTok and Instagram? Well, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies.

To be a QVC vendor, a businesse must submit an application and meet specific requirements. The opposite is true for TikTok Live Shopping.

TikTok‘s business account and live shopping features are much more accessible and require no proof of the product’s quality.

This means shoppers have to take extra precautions when buying from a business on TikTok because there’s a chance the items may not be as advertised or could be of shoddy quality.

A fashion content creator who goes by Yves Saint Laurel voiced her concern in a recent TikTok.

“I know [live shopping streams] can be weirdly hypnotizing, and I even find myself watching them sometimes,” she says, “but most, if not all, of the brands I’ve seen doing this, are low-quality drop shippers that prey on your impulsiveness and manufacture a false sense of urgency.”

So, if you go the TikTok Live Shopping route, make sure to stand out amongst the scammers and the frauds by being honest about your products, their quality, and what buyers can expect.

OK, enough stalling, so is TikTok becoming the next QVC? In my opinion — yes!

Whether you‘re scrolling through TikTok Live, your For You page, the Shop tab, or the Following tab, you’ll come across someone selling you something, and you’ll have the opportunity to buy directly from within the app.

Social media e-commerce is a growing industry and will likely continue to grow as more consumers use social media on the buyer’s journey. TikTok is revolutionizing e-commerce with TikTok Live Shopping, or the QVC-ification of TikTok.

So, if you‘re a brand looking to expand your audience, boost sales, and further streamline your consumers’ buying experience — consider leveraging TikTok Live Shopping.

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