Social media is an increasingly important channel for brands and retailers to nurture customer relations and attract a broader consumer base, particularly as mobile devices flourish. The ascent of social media has also catalyzed the expansion of live streaming. This opens up an opportunity for companies to showcase their identity and products in innovative ways, coupled with a number of benefits: engaging with customers, cultivating an interactive community, driving and accelerating sales and informing product development and inventory decisions.

This report delves into the phenomenon of live streaming, highlighting the different ways that brands, retailers and real estate professionals can and have used the channel. It also raises questions about the purpose, limitations and future of live streaming, which can open up new opportunities for brands, but whose effects can fall flat without deliberate calculation.

This report also includes a Playbook, How to Use Live Video, which features actionable directives and questions for brands, retailers and real estate professionals that you can take back to your business to drive positive change.

Read the playbook

1.

As China embraces live streaming, the U.S. is catching up but still lagging.

Live streaming has existed in the U.S. and China for more than a decade. But in 2015, it skyrocketed—particularly in China—giving players across the consumer landscape a reason to capitalize on the tool.

The rise in mobile payments has merged live video with commerce, a service that Alibaba is monetizing.

In China, a single app called WeChat is centralizing an ever-growing list of mobile activities for its 1 billion users: messaging and calling, ordering food and taxis, paying bills and transferring bank funds, making mobile payments, booking doctor’s appointments, searching the internet and reading the news, online shopping, and most recently, accessing a government-issued digital I.D. card—all without leaving the app. Perhaps most tangibly, the predominance of WeChat is illustrated by the popularization of mobile payments, which accounted for 92% of all mobile transactions in China in 2017—more than 90 times the size of the respective market in the U.S.

WeChat’s parent company is Alibaba Group Holdings, which owns two mobile payment apps—WeChat Pay and Alipay—as well as sites like Taobao, the Chinese eBay, and Tmall, the largest Chinese online retailer. As Alibaba continues to monetize its ever-expanding ecosystem, online—and specifically mobile—shopping has become essentially frictionless. These ecommerce developments are appealing to the growing class of Chinese consumers with greater disposable incomes and growing credit opportunities.

The advancements have also activated the growing importance of live video in China. Huachuang Securities, a Chinese financial services company, estimated that in 2017, the mobile live streaming market in China was a $1.8 billion industry—by 2020, the value is expected to expand to $15.9 billion. On Taobao, live streaming has helped the platform stand out from other retailers selling the same products, allowing viewers to watch as sellers describe their merchandise, discuss product reviews, announce new product launches and provide limited-time discounts—customers don’t have to exit the stream to make a purchase. Taobao has a sales conversion rate of 32% and for some of its stores, 90% of sales start with a live streamed video. Tmall also combines discovery and purchase with social media functions including live streaming, which is one of the most popular tools brands use on their channels.

Chinese personal shoppers are using live stream to sell foreign luxury products.

The popularity of live streaming in China spurred a gray luxury market where “daigou,” or personal shoppers, stream live to their Chinese clients from foreign warehouses. The most successful daigou can ship $15,000 worth of imports each week to more than 20,000 unique clients seeking authentic luxury goods that evade Chinese taxes. Though a new policy established in December 2017 reduced the tax rate on imported items, which the Chinese government hoped would abet more domestic purchases, the value-added tax remains the same, suggesting that daigou will remain relevant.

Some foreign luxury retailers like AuMake have begun to take advantage of this sales channel. With a warehouse specifically designed for live streaming, the Australian retailer uses a professional crew to shoot videos in which suppliers introduce and tell the stories of their brands through a daigou. Instead of a customer going to a store, the store comes to the customer: The stream lives on AuMake’s dedicated Taobao channel so that viewers can interact, ask questions and place orders to the daigou in real time. One possible disadvantage for AuMake, however, is that the live stream experience must change significantly over time to keep viewers engaged, especially as the videos are filmed in the same location.

For the Chinese consumers, tapping into the daigou network is not only about lower prices and authentic products, but also about knowledge—they want to know more about what they are buying before making a purchase, and when the time comes, they can do so with the click of a button. The daigou streams are similar to those on its precursor QVC, the televised flagship shopping channel catering to home shoppers.

Brands that live stream in the U.S. have a number of platforms to choose from, each with its own pros and cons.

Unlike in China, brands that are using live video to sell to U.S. consumers are largely doing so on social media platforms—not on ecommerce sites. However, part of the quandary of live streaming lies in the sheer number of social platforms at each brand’s disposal. The vast majority of brands utilize Instagram Live—a low-cost, mobile-friendly tool on a highly visual app. But one pitfall of Instagram Live is that live videos disappear from a brand’s profile 24 hours after airing—YouTube live videos, on the other hand, can be replayed for a few days. Live videos on YouTube and Facebook tend to be longer than those on Instagram, and don’t have to rely on mobile devices for shooting or consumption. Additionally, both platforms recently rolled out automated closed captioning and chat replay for live videos—for Facebook, this vastly improves the experience for the 85% of viewers who watch videos without sound.

Even so, U.S. live streaming platforms are significantly less developed than Chinese ones, and often lack the commerce infrastructure for shoppers to seamlessly complete transactions. Many brands have remained reluctant to employ live streaming or forced them to build their own experiences outside of these platforms.

2.

Brands are using live streaming to interact with consumers, evolving the customer relationship from a monologue into a dialogue.

Live streaming can provide consumers experiences they might not be privy to otherwise, and are particularly successful when the stream pertains to the brand’s target customer base.

The Sephora Virtual Artist app uses live video for personalized makeup tutorials.

The Sephora Virtual Artist app, which launched on Facebook Live and YouTube in April 2017, connects makeup artists and brand consultants with app users, using augmented reality (AR) technology from a company called ModiFace to virtually apply a variety of beauty products on the client’s image. The app also features AR-based video conversations via Skype and other video chat platforms, allowing brand consultants to provide a virtual makeup consultation to customers based on their photo. This way, customers can go online to “sample” eye, lip and cheek makeup, test out different looks, learn from customized tutorials, color match products based on other images, and inspect virtual arm swatches to compare different shades. When a product is sampled, the app notifies the user of its name, color and price, and includes a “purchase” button so that she can seamlessly buy it without leaving the app.

Now potential and existing Sephora customers don’t have to locate or travel to a brick-and-mortar location to test out different makeup; if they can more conveniently make their purchases on the beauty chain’s ecommerce site, it makes sense that they can also try on different products online. An added bonus to the Virtual Artist app is the tutorial—this was already a huge advantage of the Sephora in-store experience, now made accessible to those who can’t or don’t want to visit in person.

The app is digital-only, which provides some caveats—products like fragrance, for example, are not something a customer can test virtually. In March 2018, L’Oréal—another ModiFace partner—also announced it would acquire the company, threatening the future of Sephora’s app, as well as the tools being developed between ModiFace and its other beauty industry partners, Allergen, Unilever and Coty. While many of the big beauty brands sought to compete in an ever-saturated beauty market with products co-created alongside a promising, tech-savvy company, the acquisition of ModiFace elevates L’Oréal, forcing its competitors to navigate now precarious partnerships.

Glossier’s Top Shelf Live gives consumers access to experts in the cosmetics industry, both in person and online.

Glossier and its Into the Gloss beauty blog launched Top Shelf Live in September 2015. A live streamed event, Top Shelf Live is an extension of a blog vertical that began in 2010 to discuss beauty through the lens of personal style. Like Top Shelf on the blog, each live videocast features guests joining Glossier from across the industry. The talks, loosely framed as panel discussions, are held at Glossier showrooms in front of a live audience and moderated by Glossier Founder and CEO Emily Weiss. In the past, Glossier has combined the event with the release of a new product, which audience members can shop before the talk begins. Afterward, all of the live videos are housed on Glossier’s YouTube and published on Into the Gloss.

Top Shelf Live is a way for anyone to tune in and get insights from experts in the beauty industry, which many Glossier customers already want. Because these talks are filmed live, they lend themselves to off-the-cuff conversations, anecdotes and insider scoops, building on Glossier’s approachability as an ongoing conversation between friends—for example, at the first live streamed Top Shelf Live in September 2015, Elaine Welteroth, the then-editor-in-chief at Teen Vogue, discussed the best beauty products she was discovered on a recent trip to Seoul. The events are announced on Into the Gloss and attendees can ask questions at the end of the talk. Overall, Top Shelf Live effectively merges an event with live streaming and a product release—a trifecta that attracts customers interest and keeps them engaged on a number of levels, both online and offline.

Outlier uses Instagram Live videos to inform shoppers about the brand’s dedication to quality, while providing a first look at new products.

Outlier, an apparel brand specializing in functional performance wear, recently hosted “shirt day” on Instagram Live. The stream, narrated and shot by co-founder Abe Burmeister, highlighted the fit and the handiwork that goes into various shirts, both old and new releases. As Burmeister walked viewers through a number of styles, both on a rack and on a model, he discussed the type of fabric used, its color offerings and the supply chain that led to the final product. Mentioning a lighter linen shirt, Burmeister explained the rationale behind its higher price, which is linked to the shirt’s certified long-staple albini linen. He also mentioned how to care for the shirts—washing, drying, etc.—which he illustrated with live examples. Outlier’s other co-founder popped into the video wearing a shirt that isn’t wrinkle-proof, but relaxes out as its worn. He explained that he had balled up the shirt overnight, but that today, only slight creases were noticeable, demonstrating the shirt’s resilience.

Live video works well for Outlier as an apparel brand that prides itself on its products’ extreme detail and durability. The flexibility of a smartphone camera allowed the Burmeister to zoom in and out as needed to showcase the design of the shirts—the weave, the dyed buttons, the natural stretch, and so on—which sets Outlier apart from other brands. It also provides a channel that Outlier can use to tell the story of how its items were created, giving shoppers a rationale for spending their money on the higher-priced apparel. The “shirt day” feed also began 15 minutes before a new shirt’s release, adding excitement and purpose to the video.

Instagram Live also acts as an equalizer between brands and consumers. Burmeister not only narrated, but took questions from viewers as the stream transpired, conversing with them in an approachable way—he acknowledged new features on Instagram like the “wave” button, for instance, and talked about shooting (and the bane of using a smartphone to do so). Shot in Outlier’s headquarters and warehouse, the video was also marked by an element of spontaneity—Burmeister stumbled upon different “characters,” which invited a few comedic moments and combined an otherwise informational video with entertainment and a way for Outlier fans to peer into the world of one of their favorite brands.

In January 2018, Outlier also used lnstagram Live split screen chat to launch a new coat, putting the brand’s co-founders in conversation with a writer from the streetwear site Highsnobiety. Leading up to the release, the company sent an email to its customers, telling them to tune in to Instagram for some big news. After the conversation, Outlier dropped the coat—less than an hour later, the brand had sold 80 of the 100 $750 jackets produced, ranking in $60,000. Outlier wanted to use Instagram to test out a new product—and a more expensive item—and using Instagram was a way to de-risk the entire process, something that the company is increasingly doing as it monetizes its R&D.

Gatorade created a live stream series to broadcast high-school basketball, using entertainment to engage part of its customer base.

In January 2018, Gatorade launched a live series called the #TheDebut on Twitter, which filmed high-school basketball games across the U.S., showcasing the beverage on the sidelines of the court. Hosted by YouTube influencer Rachel Demita and two former NBA players, Gatorade worked with Twitter, VML, a digital agency, and Intersport, a production house, to execute its vision and distribute the series on social media. #TheDebut appeared on Gatorade’s Twitter page and Twitter’s live video page, but viewers only needed an internet connection to watch the games.

Gatorade’s goal was not growing revenue, but enhancing brand awareness and consumer engagement, similar to Nike’s live broadcast of a marathon in May 2017. But Gatorade’s campaign continued for more than a month, establishing the series as a mainstay on Twitter and bringing in as many as 3 million viewers per game. Throughout the season, Gatorade intermittently posted highlights from various games, trivia questions about players, and even created an award: the 2017-2018 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Because most brands don’t have in-house video content teams and live streaming can be expensive, the partnership with Twitter, VML and Intersport allowed Gatorade to broadcast high-quality, professionally produced content to Gatorade drinkers, who are predisposed to sports, and to sports fans, many of whom naturally enjoy Gatorade. #TheDebut made Gatorade more discoverable to a wider audience, providing easy access to high-school basketball games, which are not typically available online despite the growing popularity of live online sportscasts, especially among younger generations. The series was not only a great fit for the brand—with the help of its partners, Gatorade was also able to play the role of a broadcaster, moving away from the traditional sponsorship model.

3.

Many influencers are naturally good at marketing products, but for now they are mostly sticking to recorded video on YouTube.

Christen Dominique, a vlogger known for her makeup tutorials, has 3.6 million YouTube subscribers and also regularly posts on Snapchat and Instagram, which works well for beauty-centric content. During one Instagram Live video in March 2018, Dominique walked her viewers—upward of 1,700—through a 15-minute makeup tutorial. While chit-chatting about her process, her cat, and the brunch she was attending that day, Dominique asked streamers about their social media preferences (Snapchat or Instagram?) and answered questions about her favorite brands and her ethnicity. Similarly, the lifestyle blogger Kyrah Stewart (447,000 YouTube subscribers) used Instagram Live to show her makeup application process while talking about and answering questions on her pregnancy—the video brought in upward of 1,300 viewers.

Though a small percentage of these influencers’ Instagram followers, the unique number of viewers who tune in to their live videos is high enough that they are often featured on the Top Live page on Instagram’s Explore tab, making them more discoverable. Compared to Outlier’s “shirt day” video, which reached approximately 67 viewers, or 0.35% of the brand’s Instagram followers, only 0.09% of Dominique’s followers tuned in, but the video was still recommended on Top Live. Additionally, influencers tend to frequently respond to streamers’ comments in real time, and even strike up personal relationships with some individual viewers—something that further sets them apart from brands.

Shopping platforms like Talkshoplive are helping influencers and vloggers sell products.

More recently, business platforms are beginning to apply the product placement and reviews naturally found in influencer videos and vlogs to broader ecommerce models. One company, Talkshoplive, launched in March 2018 as an app and website that provides unlimited commerce-based live streams. Each seller—ranging from small business owners like Dixie Longates, a tupperware seller from Alabama, to mainstream influencers and brands like Julie Mollo, a dressmaker who has worked for Katy Perry—is set up with a personal digital storefront and can link the live videos to her social media and email accounts to alert followers about upcoming streams. During the stream, which can last up to 15 minutes, a seller can display preloaded product features and benefits on a ticker that scrolls across the screen. Sellers must sell new products—not used or vintage—valued at a minimum of $10 and their videos remain on their storefronts until the item has sold out or for 30 days.

Shoppers who tune in can also ask questions in real time to the sellers. Those who sign up to the site save their shipping and billing information on their profile, so when they want to make a purchase, they can simply click a “buy” button, even while a video is ongoing. Talkshoplive then provides a prepaid shipping label to the sellers and oversees the orders.

It’s too early to tell the broader effects, but Talkshoplive is steering influencer marketing away from the social media giants and taking an approach to influencer marketing that moves away from the number of impressions an image or video garners to focus on driving sales. The challenge, however, will be for the platform to build an audience from scratch. Maybe it can use influencer audiences to jumpstart the process, but the hundreds of millions of users on Instagram give existing platforms a big advantage over new ones.

4.

Brands have been hesitant to utilize live video, but as influencers increasingly rely on it, both parties can meet each other halfway, as younger and more modern brands have shown.

Despite the success of influencers, both in video and in marketing products, many brands have remained hesitant to make their mark on the live video space. Their reliance on using live stream for product launches suggests that brands continue to employ live video as a live ad and haven’t yet conquered the personal conversation piece. Lessons from brands that are navigating rapid change in the consumer sphere suggest that those who simply use new technology to power the same sales and marketing models fall behind those that have managed to completely disrupt the existing model with the help of this new technology—the same will go for live video.  

As video personalities, influencers can help brands take their products live.

Live videos conducted by influencers can more easily craft a person-to-person connection and dialogue with viewers, providing a way to dilute the otherwise overt corporate quality inherent to brands and retailers.

Marshalls launched a live video campaign that featured influencers putting its products into action.

In May 2016, Marshalls launched a live stream campaign called “Surprise Yourself!” which stemmed from the results of a survey of its female customers—92% of respondents expressed interest in switching up their daily routines to try something new. To target this audience, Marshalls teamed up with influencers, filming them trying something new via live video while featuring the retailer’s products—from beauty and fashion to food—in action.  

The beauty influencer Teni Panosian, dressed in Marshalls athletic attire, kicked off the campaign trying out aerial yoga in a Facebook live stream. The video was informational, advertorial and inspirational, and directly after her yoga session, Panosian spoke about the experience and answered questions from viewers, mentioning that she shops at Marshalls for inspiration.

Maybelline launched a lipstick campaign in China featuring influencers and sold out of the product.

After announcing the Chinese influencer Angelababy as its new brand ambassador in China in 2016, the beauty brand broadcasted a live show called “Make it Happen,” featuring the influencer and other Chinese internet celebrities trying on and discussing different shades of lipstick via the video sharing app Meipai. Viewers were able to comment on a live message board to the influencers and Maybelline directed those interested in making a purchase to Tmall to finalize the transaction. In result, Maybelline sold 10,000 lipsticks in only two hours. Because Maybelline had the influencers sample makeup using VR technology, it later added a page on its website with the VR content so that visitors could experience the makeup application process in a celebrity’s shoes.

Sephora is using “experts” and in-house staff to engage viewers on-screen.

In August 2017, Sephora launched a live video series called the Weekly Wow, which airs each Wednesday around lunchtime. In each video, a spokeswoman announces a handful of products that will go on sale the next morning, both in stores and on Sephora.com for a week, or while supplies last. Over the course of the video, the host samples each product, describes its ingredients and specific benefits, and talks about how it meets her preferences or could work for other skin tones. Then, she mentions the marked-down prices and directs viewers to the Beauty Insider Community page on Sephora’s website if they want to take the conversation further.

The Weekly Wow combines many successful elements of live video in the form of a short-form internet television series or an infomercial with personality. Because it returns every week, it gives customers something to look forward to—in addition to the marked-down prices—and since the on-sale products go live the next day, it instills a sense of urgency among viewers to watch and gain as much information as possible about each product, so they don’t miss out on a great deal on a great product. The series is hosted by an affable and easy-going but informed personality, who walks potential customers through the backstory of each product in a very short amount of time, keeping them engaged.

Like other live videos, part of the thrill is seeing someone rattle off this information in real-time, weaving in aspects of her own beauty routine and life alongside more overt marketing rhetoric. Sephora also pinned a comment to the bottom of the screen—“The Weekly Wow”—so that as viewers popped into the feed, they would be able to orient themselves more quickly. The approximately 10-minute series is also jam-packed with information, intensifying interest and attention to each video and the limited-time-only discounted products. The flexibility of a smartphone camera allows the camerawoman to zoom in and out to highlight the look or texture of each product. At the same time, hiccups remain: in this particular video, the shooter was sniffling from a cold, and it took a few moments for the smartphone camera to focus when she zoomed in and out on various details.

Using Instagram Live makes The Weekly Wow an innovative and inexpensive sales model with an accompanying press program. The sales are also announced via email to those customers who don’t or aren’t able to catch the stream live, as well as with an accompanying Instagram ad campaign. A number of beauty-oriented websites and blogs also note the featured products each week—notably BuzzFeed, which publishes listicles of the items and collects a small share of profit if readers click its links to buy the products on Sephora’s site. If Instagram reduces ecommerce friction even further in the future, customers might be able to click an icon within a live video to see product information or get redirected to the product page on Sephora’s site, much like how clicking a shopping bag icon at the corner of a still Instagram post gives the name, price, and link to buy the product on Sephora.com.

5.

Live streaming facilitates greater sales conversion with “see now, buy now” option and flagship product testing, which helps feed a brand’s business by responding to customer interests.

As luxury brands like Burberry live stream their runway shows, they are democratizing luxury and informing product development.  

Though the rise of smartphones and social media has pressured the traditionally exclusive luxury industry, some brands like Burberry have embraced the narrowing gap between runway and retail to their advantage. In February 2016, Burberry partnered with Apple to live stream its first “consumer-facing, immediately shoppable runway collection” on Apple TV. Also available on Burberry’s site, the live stream allowed viewers to request a call through Apple TV to Burberry customer service reps and pre-order select pieces from the collection.

In February 2018, Burberry also partnered with Farfetch, a luxury online retailer, distributing its global inventory online for the first time and launching the “Show to Door” program—“an immediate around-the-clock London delivery service from Farfetch for 24 hours after Burberry’s February 2018 Show,” including a capsule collection of pieces from Burberry’s archive.

The steps Burberry has taken both accelerate the timeline of high-end fashion and reflect consumer interests. With its “Show to Door” program, for example, the brand allows those streaming the show to make immediate purchases, adding a sense of urgency and accessibility to the runway that did not previously exist. In fact, Burberry’s actions are rejecting much of the legacies that luxury is built upon. The brand’s new tactics allow it to lean into a direct-to-consumer approach, be more transparent with inventory and build a more flexible supply chain. This allows Burberry to keep up with fast-paced changes in the media infrastructure, while simply broadcasting the runway shows they have always done, which can act as marketing campaigns that can deliver immediate sales, or at the very least help a brand gauge interest on collection previews and more efficiently produce its inventory.

Though other luxury brands like Gucci’s owner Kering SA feel that Burberry’s model dilutes their aspirational edge and negatively disrupts the traditional fashion calendar, Burberry CEO Marco Gobetti believes that the company can preserve its image while allowing customers to buy the latest styles sooner. “Our aim is to increase frequency with delivery: We will look to collections that are more edited, but more frequent, as well as more capsules and product initiatives, almost always with a direct-to-consumer approach,” Gobetti said on a November call with investors.

Despite social media and live streaming, which open up what was once a sacrosanct sphere to viewers around the world, luxury remains largely aspirational. While the “click-to-buy” options with some of these livestreams allow for easier and immediate pre-order and purchase options, it seems that it’s the fashion houses that will more readily benefit from the live video. Viewers will still be barred from luxury given the brands’ consistently high prices and creation for scarcity. But fashion houses—which can use live streams to glean more information and gauge interest from potential consumers and buyers on collections—will pour these insights into product development, making their supply chains leaner and more efficient.

With its channel on Apple TV, Burberry will also be able to enhance the notoriety of the brand, allowing viewers to watch previously aired shows and beauty tutorials. Some department stores are following the same path. In November 2015, for instance, Saks Fifth Avenue unveiled “The Winter Palace” at its flagship store via live stream, complete with holiday windows, a light show, and 200-person choir. The live stream was available on Saks’ site and broadcast as an event at other Saks locations, but the legacy department store also extended its Winter Palace live stream well beyond the time frame of the original video—anyone who went on SaksHoliday.com could download holiday-inspired emojis, share photos of their own “winter wonderland” experiences, and participate in contests, games and quizzes. This allowed Saks to celebrate a holiday, but make its livestream last an entire season, converting shoppers from online into its stores and engaging them with activities related to the Winter Palace.

Other luxury brands, like Rebecca Minkoff, are also feeding the data gathered from its live streamers to craft a more consumer-facing inventory. In 2015, one particular pair of trousers didn’t interest wholesale buyers, but received rave reviews on social media, which eventually convinced the buyers to stock the pants in department stores. Examples like this are beginning to challenge the role of customers and how and when brands should access and engage with them. Live video can facilitate communication between brands, wholesale buyers, department stores, and customers, streamlining production and satisfying customer demands.

Yveline Kay’s Votre Paris is live streaming salon runway shows to U.S. department stores, giving new French designers a stake in the global consumer market and helping U.S. buyers inform their inventories.

In spring 2018, the nascent French brand Yveline Kay Atelier will launch Votre Paris—a partnership with U.S. department stores to introduce incipient parisian designers to American customers. From France, Votre Paris will host fashion shows, showcasing the work of designers to an international audience via live video—in the U.S., department stores will stream the video, both online and in-store as runway-related events. The goal is to receive feedback on the collections from department store visitors. This information will advise buyers about inventory purchases from the designers, which will help the newcomer brands a) gain a footing in the industry and b) expand to foreign audiences early on in their lifecycles.  

With the partnership, Yveline Kay will receive a revenue share for each inventory purchase made by a U.S. department store—for the department stores, the campaign will freshen inventory and drive new foot traffic. The model also provides a way for younger luxury brands to enter the market on their own terms; just as heritage brands like Burberry are beginning to spin runway shows and pre-orders to their own advantage while responding to the interests and needs of retailers and consumers, the nascent brands—whose collections are often small and distributed on a monthly basis—will live stream their shows independent both from the time constraints of fashion week and from the luxury calendar altogether; the collections will not abide by a seasonal time frame, allowing the department store partners to add new inventory any time without taking long-term risks on new designers.

Going Forward

Live streaming remains a territory largely untapped by players in the consumer industry, but many of the brands and retailers that have used it have paved a new way to creatively and effectively market their products and convert sales. Still, the place for live streaming in retail remains murky and to combat falling foot traffic, retailers and real estate developers will have to find ways for livestreaming to be supportive, and not antithetical, to the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Opportunity beckons, and those that will succeed will do it with experimentation and intention at the forefront.