Facebook Live Selling Changes & Alternatives: The Future of Live Selling

Facebook debuted its live shopping feature in 2018 as a way for merchants to connect with customers in real time. Live selling on Facebook allows businesses to showcase products and services, answer customer questions, and build a rapport with their audience during live-streamed events.  

This type of selling opened up a whole new world of possibilities for entrepreneurs and small businesses. When Facebook rolled out "Live Shopping Fridays," encouraging bigger brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and Sephora, it appeared Facebook was set to capitalize on a new and significant revenue stream.  

Facebook Live Selling Changes and Updates

The platform has since announced the removal of its live shopping feature, effective October 1, 2022, leaving many merchants scrambling to find a replacement solution.

While there's no direct replacement for live selling on Facebook, there are several alternative solutions, like Flux Panda, that can help you continue selling products and services online. This article will explore the many alternatives to Facebook live sales, how they work, and the options available to merchants in the future.

What Are Some of the Problems/Challenges With Facebook Live Shopping?

A deep review of Facebook Live Selling

The primary challenge with Facebook live shopping is that it is not a reliable or consistent revenue stream. For example, Sephora stopped using Facebook Live to sell products after just two months, citing a lack of sales. Similarly, many other businesses have found that Facebook Live selling is unreliable and often unsuccessful.

The challenges for merchants and shoppers with Facebook live shopping include:

Challenging technical aspects

Censorship

Live streaming vs. shoppable videos

Accessibility

The struggle for shoppers and merchants with Facebook live shopping is that it's not a very user-friendly system. Facebook's decision to remove the feature indicates that they don't see it as a viable long-term solution for businesses on their platform. Many companies are exploring alternative solutions that offer more reliable and user-friendly live selling experiences.

Challenging Technical Aspects

From a technical standpoint, Facebook Live can be challenging to use. For example, live streaming requires a strong and consistent internet connection, which can be difficult to maintain in certain areas. In addition, shoppers may have difficulty accessing the stream if they are not using a compatible device or have a slow internet connection.

Limited display capabilities can also be an issue. For example, shoppers on mobile devices may have difficulty viewing the stream if they are not using a compatible device or have a slow internet connection. Despite the increase of a live stream's peak bit rate from 2500 to 4000 Kbps in early 2020, many users still report issues with buffering and low-quality video.

Live Stream Censorship

Person being challenged by Facebook Live

Regarding censorship, the Facebook live selling rules are available to users, but not always clear. For example, there have been reports of live streams being shut down for unknown reasons, with no clear explanation from Facebook. In addition, there have been reports of live streams being censored based on their content.

This can be frustrating for merchants trying to sell legitimate products and services but are censored by the platform.

Live Streaming Vs. Shoppable Videos

Picture that shows Facebook Live vs Shoppable Videos

Shoppable videos are pre-recorded videos on a loop with 24/7 support features allowing shoppers to purchase products directly from the video. This is different from a live stream, which is a live broadcast that cannot be paused or rewatched. Shoppable videos are typically shorter and more polished than live streams, offering a more user-friendly experience for shoppers and merchants.

By including shoppable videos on their website, brands give viewers the option to buy products featured in the video through embedded links. These links redirect viewers to the purchase page without taking them away from the original video content.

Live streams, on the other hand, are live broadcasts that cannot be paused, and embedded products can often remove you from the live stream altogether.

Live Stream Accessibility

Person watching a live stream on Facebook

While shoppable videos present a better format for the US consumer, live streams are only available when they are broadcasted. This can be an issue for international shoppers who may not be able to view the stream due to time differences or those with a busy schedule who can't watch the stream live.

In addition, live streams are not always archived or available for later viewing, so shoppers may miss out on content altogether.

In addition, those with disabilities may have difficulty accessing live streams due to the lack of Closed Captioning (CC) options. CC allows viewers to read a transcript of the audio in a live stream, which can be helpful for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, Facebook does not currently offer CC options for live streams, making them inaccessible for many users.

Alternative Solutions to Facebook Live Selling

Picture showing sample of Facebook live show

Companies that offer alternative solutions to Facebook Live shopping are in a position to capitalize on the platform's shortcomings and the recent removal of the feature altogether.

Flux Panda allows you to create a virtual sales channel for your social media accounts and conduct remote interactions with consumers through interactive video. Your members may view your video material, participate in live selling events, or schedule a private video session with you. Flux Panda also gives you the opportunity to:

● Have direct access to the live show attendees

● Build and grow your own database, giving you direct access to your community

● Build a sales funnel through relevant and interesting content

● Boost social media sales conversion

The Flux Panda sales page allows you to turn your social media followers into a customer database, membership, or community area. Those who join your sales page will be notified about special offers, new product releases, and deals that you publish.

You can connect with potential and current customers in real time through events and online meetings. You can also turn recordings of these live events into shoppable videos.

Flux Panda provides a live selling setup that cannot be shut down, and you remain in control. You can connect your own payment options and receive payments directly via Stripe or PayPal. With Shopify integrations and other convenient features,  you can keep your business running smoothly without interruption.

While Facebook Live shopping may no longer be an option, there are alternative solutions that allow you to continue selling products and services through social media platforms. Flux Panda is one solution that allows you to create a virtual sales channel, conduct remote interactions, and build a sales funnel through interesting and relevant content.

With convenient features and integrations, Flux Panda is an ideal solution for those looking to continue selling products and services live online.

Live Streaming vs. Reels

Picture illustrating the difference between live show and reels

Reels are a feature on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, among other platforms, that allow you to create short, 15-90 second videos. These videos can be edited with filters, music, and other creative effects and can be shared on your feed or in your Stories.

Unlike live streams, Reels are not live broadcasts but are instead recorded videos that can be paused, rewatched, and shared.

Reels can be a more convenient and user-friendly option for those who want to create engaging content but may not have the time or resources to do a live stream. Reels can be edited and shared anytime and don't require as much planning or setup as live streams. In addition, Reels can be saved and shared later, whereas live streams are only available to watch while they're happening.

However, Reels do have some limitations compared to live streaming. For one, Reels are not live, so there is potential for them to be less engaging than a live stream. Content producers may use live content to build authenticity and a stronger customer connection. To interact with consumers directly, live is two-way interaction in real-time.

Live streams, especially for live selling applications, also have the potential to generate more sales than Reels. This is because live selling allows for a more intimate connection between the seller and the buyer and the ability to answer questions and provide customer service in real time.

Additionally, with live streaming, there is no need for customers to leave the site to purchase products, as they can be redirected to a payment page or checkout within the stream.

While Reels may be a more user-friendly option for some, live streaming still has potential advantages, especially for those looking to sell products and services. If you're considering using either Reels or live streaming for your business, consider the benefits and limitations of each before making.

What Other Live Shopping Platforms Are Available?

Comparison of different live streaming platforms

Live shopping platforms allow businesses to sell their products and services live online. These platforms provide a variety of features that make it easy to sell products and services, interact with customers, and take payments.

Some of the biggest live shopping platforms on the market include:

TikTok

Flux Panda

Shopee

Taobao Live

Each of these platforms has its own unique set of features and benefits. TikTok, for example, is known for its creative filters and effects that can be used to make engaging content. Flux Panda, on the other hand, is a live shopping platform that allows businesses to create a virtual sales channel, conduct remote interactions, and build a sales funnel.

Live Selling on TikTok

Live Selling on Tik Tok sample

Available in over 150 countries with over a billion users, TikTok is a social media giant that has taken the world by storm. The app is known for its creative filters, effects, and short videos set to popular songs.

In recent years, TikTok has become a popular platform for businesses to sell their products and services. This is because TikTok provides businesses with the ability to reach a large and engaged audience with their content. In addition, TikTok's creative filters and effects can be used to make engaging and visually appealing content that stands out from the rest.

TikTok offers many features that businesses can take advantage of to sell their products and services live. These features include:

● The ability to add product links in your bio

● Payments accepted directly through the platform

● The ability to go live with a co-host

● Creative filters and effects to make engaging content

In 2019, TikTok Shop was made available in the UK, its first market outside Asia. This venture allows companies and influencers to sell products through QVC-style live streams; however, it has not been successful internally or with consumers.

Flux Panda's Live Selling Platform

Flux Panda live show sample

Flux Panda is a live selling platform that allows businesses to create a virtual sales channel and community of potential customers. The platform also offers features that allow businesses to take payments, manage inventory, and fulfill orders.

Some of the features offered by Flux Panda include:

● Live selling on your eCommerce store, social, and apps

● Easily go live on multiple channels

● Uninterrupted video viewing

● Videos are shareable anywhere

● Easy integrations

● Integrations and add-ons

● Social restreaming and simulcasting

● Webcam or OBS support

With Flux Panda, customers can purchase items as you conduct live sales events, competitions, draws, countdown offers, and more. As a platform, it provides a way to take advantage of live selling without the headaches or limitations of other live stream apps.

Shopee

Shopee live show

Shopee is a top e-commerce platform based in Southeast Asia and Taiwan that offers customers quick, safe, and reliable online shopping. The platform provides customers with a user-friendly and convenient shopping experience through its various features.

Some of the features offered by Shopee include:

● A variety of payment options

● Convenient delivery options

● Shopee Guarantee

● Loyalty program & free shipping

● In-app chat function

● Easily search for products

Shopee also offers a live streaming feature that businesses can use to sell their products and services. This feature allows businesses to connect with customers in real time, answer questions, and provide updates on product availability.

Taobao Live

Man demonstrating a live show on Taobao

Taobao Live is an e-commerce platform that allows businesses to sell their products and services live. The platform offers several features that businesses can take advantage of, including taking payments, managing inventory, and fulfilling orders.

Shopping on Taobao Live is interactive and informative, thanks to the big-data analytics and technology employed by the site. Real-time updates from merchants let users learn about new products as they come out and give them a chance to engage with each other, their favorite merchants, and key opinion leaders.

Forms of Facebook Live Selling

Regarding formats, brands often utilize either the "one to few" or "one to many" shopping formats. "One to few" is where a brand live streams to a small group of people, usually no more than 50.

This can be done through private groups or even one-on-one sessions. The "one to many" format is when a brand live streams to a large audience, which can be in the hundreds or even thousands.  

With either choice, brands can utilize the help of influencers, a style team, or a mixture of both, but the key to achieving the highest number of social conversions lies in providing the most value to your viewers. Influencers can provide valuable insights, tips, or tutorials on how to use or style a product, while a style team can provide outfit inspiration and demonstrate how certain pieces can be mixed-and-matched.

The Future of Facebook Live Shopping

Chart showing the growth of live selling

The live shopping market is expected to grow rapidly in the coming years. A report by Retail Touchpoints estimates that the global live streaming e-commerce market will be worth $35 billion by 2024.

This growth will be driven by a number of factors, including the increasing popularity of live streaming, the emergence of live stream eCommerce platforms, the growing number of social media users, and the increasing purchasing power of consumers. As the live shopping market continues to grow, we can expect to see more businesses utilizing this format to sell their products and services.  

Platforms like Flux Panda are taking over spots for Facebook Live and TikTok Shop by quickly innovating to providing solutions like:

● Higher quality streams

● More user-friendly interface

● Better customer support

● Payment processing capabilities

● Inventory management features

● Improved search functionality

The growth of live stream shopping/selling is inevitably shifting how brands interact and sell to their customers. The key for any business is to adapt to these changes and utilize the latest technology and platforms to stay ahead of the competition.

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