The Future Of Live Shopping eCommerce In 2023 And The Impact Of AI

TLEP 59 | Live Shopping eCommerce

 

In this episode, Whitney and Nicholas discuss the future of live eCommerce shopping in 2023. Plus, we also share our experience and thoughts about artificial intelligence (AI) tools, like ChatGPT and Descript. The conversation begins with a review of what we predicted for 2022, including what did and didn’t happen in the live-streaming and digital marketing industries. For instance, we reflect on the role of women in business this past year and the potential for more funding for female-led businesses in the years to come. Hear our thoughts on recent challenges like inflation, tech industry layoffs, and global events. Then we delve into the impact of AI on content creation and consider the importance of being mindful of the risks and benefits of trendy tools. We consider the pros of using AI services for customer service, as well as cons like the ethical implications. There’s a lot to consider as we end the year and transition into 2023!

 

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The Future Of Live Shopping eCommerce In 2023 And The Impact Of AI

This is our very last episode of 2022. We had some scheduled shifts in which we ended up not having a guest as we usually do for these episodes. When we first started the show, it was me, Nicolas, and MJ on the team, and then we started adding in a lot more guests and that became most of the format. I’m grateful that it’s you and me, Nicolas, because we put together an outline for this episode based on what happened in 2022. We talked a little bit about this a few episodes ago. For those that haven’t tuned in to that episode yet, you can go back to eStreamly.com or you can go to your favorite platform and check out some of those previous episodes in which we summarized some of our biggest takeaways with the guests that we have had on this show.

You may also find the episode we are going to reference, which we did in 2021, talking about what we were thinking was going to happen in 2022. We thought it’d be interesting to see if we were right, see if our predictions came true, and see what didn’t happen or hasn’t happened yet. We are going to go through that summary and we are also going to talk about what we think in terms of the future of 2023. Again, that was discussed in a previous episode a little bit, and we are going to build upon that and focus specifically on something that’s been evolving at the end of 2022, which is artificial intelligence.

We have seen this huge discussion online around a specific tool called ChatGPT. There’s been so much buzz in December 2022. We wanted to share our thoughts on it and share our thoughts on AI in general and how that impacts live streaming, content creation, marketing, etc. Weigh out the pros and cons, and the fears that are coming up, and share some of our predictions because we are at the beginning with that. This episode is going to be looking at the past, the future, and also being grounded in the present moment. I’m excited to dive into this. Before we do, Nicolas, is there anything that you want to summarize in terms of eStreamly from 2022?

That’s a big question. 2022 has been incredible overall. We launched the community where we have some insightful folks that are in the live shopping space that are sharing, I won’t say Delhi, but close to Delhi about their experiences and what they see and so forth. It’s cool. On the side of the technology, we made a big jump, but we also had the opportunity to support some fantastic clients. The show also grew thanks to the audience tuning in to us.

We grew also our knowledge and having the chance to have so many of the different guests all sharing different perspective experiences from the QVC world, TikTok world, and all those different places where people are either trying to do things differently. eCommerce space is also doing things differently. It has been a fantastic journey so far and a fantastic 2022. I’m pretty excited about what 2023 has to come for everyone.

It’s important to acknowledge that for you Nicolas as a startup co-founder. I remember when we first met. There’s been such a big journey that you have taken and that’s not an easy one. We have perhaps some startup founders tuning in to the show. We have a lot of content creators, retailers, and people that might be in that new early stage of their business or maybe a little bit farther along re-evaluating it. Especially at the end of a year and the beginning of a new year, people are thinking through how they want to do things differently, what they can learn from, and even do they want to keep going. Nicolas, you have been such an amazing person to watch for me being on this team because you persevere so much and you are constantly experimenting as we have talked about so much on this show.

That is incredibly important. You are committed to learning. I have been impressed. I want to give you a little pat on the back right now. Also, with this show, it’s our 59th. That’s a big accomplishment too because as we said from the very beginning, most podcasts don’t make it past eight episodes. To make it through past 58 as we have already done, that’s huge. To be going forward over the years as we cross that mark, I’m not trying to give us a pat on the back from an ego standpoint, but hopefully, to give some inspiration to people who are wondering if something is worth it. As you pointed out at the end of your little summary, knowledge is so valuable and that’s going to tie into our episode nicely.

Let’s kick it off and dig into our little summary and reflection on this episode we did in 2021, which for anyone who wants to go back to it, it’s called eCommerce Trends and Predictions for 2022. Nicolas and I plus MJ shared some trend data in our predictions for this year that we are in. We referenced Instagram, Hootsuite, and eCommerce Insights. We had a few different documents that we went through and those are listed in the description of the episode for anyone who wants to go check them out and see was HubSpot is for example.

What did Instagram thing was going to happen? I’m so grateful that we did that episode because it makes it interesting to look back on. Nicolas, as you were going through our transcript that we generated from that episode, what were some things that stood out? What were some things that came true and didn’t come true, at least not yet?

One of the things that were predicted was authentic is going to be here to stay in 2022, like creating authentic content and genuine content. I think that’s true. If you look at Reels, TikTok, and everything, everyone is talking about doing that authenticity. That is exciting to see. It’s much more about who you are as a person removing the barrier of production or lowering down the barrier of production. Now it’s not lowering down the standard of production in the sense of you should have poor-quality video or poor audio or things like that. It’s more about the notion of the content should be a little bit more about who you are as a person as opposed to the projection of the miracle of yourself that sometimes social media has been trying to sell us.

TLEP 59 | Live Shopping eCommerce
Live Shopping eCommerce: The content should be a bit more about who you are as a person as opposed to the projection of the miracle of yourself that social media has been trying to sell us.

 

It’s no longer about photoshopping your picture so much. It’s more about if your skin is this way then you should show that way. Maybe the tuning down a little bit on all those filters and all that stuff. For me, what resonates with authenticity is being more genuine and truthful. We saw that and major brands have embraced that more and more. Some have even celebrated it with some common creators. Huge brands have taken on onboard creators that are on TikTok doing some authentic content. Those guys were parachuted to the rock stars.

I’m so glad that you brought that up because we have discussed this a few times on the show and examined what it means to be authentic without being too contrived. For example, on one of our most recent episodes with Jake, he talked about how there’s a fine line between doing something to make a sale and being too salesy or perhaps even manipulative versus doing something with transparency that’s benefiting you and the viewer.

With authenticity, if it’s fake then it’s no longer authentic. It’s fake authenticity. You have to dig in to figure out who are you authentically and how can you express that. That ties into these snackable content themes which we talked about in our 2022 episode prediction-wise because that was becoming a trend with short-form videos and that come true.

You have to dig in to figure out who you are authentically and how you can express that. Click To Tweet

It’s interesting to look back because, at the end of 2021, TikTok was still not as dominant as it became. Now looking back, in this year 2022, TikTok made a massive breakthrough, and businesses and creators started to take it a lot more seriously. We started creating more professional clips for TikTok. Nicolas has been experimenting on there for quite some time and playing around. I then dove in and started taking the clips from the episodes and spending more time on them. I developed all of these processes, researched, and software. We ended up going with Descript because it is such an amazing tool.

You suggested this to me initially and at first, “I don’t know if Descript is the best platform for making videos,” but I have to say that one thing I discovered in 2022 is that Descript is fantastic for that. They made a ton of changes in the last few months at the time we are doing this. For anyone who has used Descript in the past, try it again because they have evolved as a platform. I think that’s because of this trend of snackable content. They are understanding that not everybody wants to watch or listen to a long video or podcast episode. I started putting our content in there. I have already been using it to edit the show and adding the video into that mix. I was able to use Descript’s AI tools.

A little preview of the AI we are going to discuss now. A lot of tools now have this feature where they can go and cut out filler words and pauses. They can go and start to edit your video before you even get in as a human and then you can go through and make the rest of the changes. It’s shortening the time that you spend doing something like that. Right now, Descript is powerful for creating short-form videos if you already have long form because you can easily see what you want to work on.

In Descript, my favorite part is that you can edit the text so it transcribes your video and you are editing through the text versus the visuals of the video timeline. For those that are used to doing video editing, we are going to see more and more tools. This is my prediction for 2023 that we are going to build upon this 2022 of snackable content. Through AI and the popularity of platforms like TikTok, we are going to see more and more ways to make it easier and faster to make that content.

TLEP 59 | Live Shopping eCommerce
Live Shopping eCommerce: Through AI and the popularity of platforms like TikTok, we are going to see more and more ways to make it easier and faster to make that content.

 

What we are seeing is the legalization of the video in some way. Until 2021, we used to be everything was horizontal. You had YouTube that was completely horizontal. You had so many of those platforms. With TikTok and Instagram that have pushed for Reels more and more, people are crazy posting Reels now. All those platforms had to adapt. We are seeing that vertical is the new standard in many instances which it’s an acknowledgement that we are spending more time. We are already spending a lot of time on our phones and consuming videos on our phones. It has to be adapted for that format and that’s a perfect format to do. YouTube implemented the Shorts without the short forms and the vertical format.

You have got Descript. I was playing with Restream and figured out that they did their studio. Now they have a vertical format for their studio, which they didn’t. I’m like, “This is cool to push on a vertical format.” Everyone is pushing toward a vertical format as well. 2022 has been interesting for that. The thing that also resonated with me versus what we felt the year was going to be is we were thinking it’s all about going to be social commerce, the explosion of live shopping, and all that. Did it grow certainly? Was it the explosion that a lot of people were projecting? I don’t think so. When I say that is I don’t want to be pessimistic about the space or anything.

There’s still a lot of learning curve. There are a lot of brands that went on interested to have their formats like eBay or whatnot completely exploded in terms of growth. You have got Poshmark now that’s doing that. Walmart is expanding quite significantly. Also, JCPenney and so many of those other brands. TikTok started to introduce its live shopability as well. What we have seen is a lot of shopability on the site and then different marketplaces trying to take on this.

It hasn’t been that huge growth because at the same time, there has been a lot of rumor about Facebook or Instagram dropping it. Maybe they drop it, maybe they don’t. A lot of social media have been trying to search themself around livestream shopping so that didn’t help the whole narrative altogether. As brands are continuing experimenting, no one has still found the real true answer to what is the content that people want to consume in live shopping at least. There’s still a lot of experimentation, which is great because it’s a lot of opportunity for growth. We have seen sales. There have been awesome sales but it hasn’t been to the level that people were predicting.

TLEP 59 | Live Shopping eCommerce
Live Shopping eCommerce: As brands are continuing experimenting, no one has still found the real true answer to what is the content that people want to consume in live shopping at least.

 

There are so many great insights. That reminds me of the last one that I will share before we do a quick summary on artificial intelligence, which was a little disappointing because MJ predicted that 2022 was going to be the year of the woman, specifically in the business realm. I’m not sure I saw much of that happen aside from the episode that we did on this show with your co-founder Smitha.

We were talking about each of our journeys growing into the tech world and the challenges that we faced. I have to say I don’t think that there’s been a huge influx of women in business or at least a big highlight of it. I could be wrong about that. I don’t have the data to back it up and maybe it’s not as big and bold as I thought it was going to be as MJ was predicting. Did you notice any of that on your end?

I did not notice a big movement, but there have been some major fund and capital that has been starting to deploy specifically focusing on women. That makes me hopeful that capital has to be deployed. From the deployment to having some success, it’s going to take a couple of years but at least funding is here and people are funding, specifically women-led businesses. I think there’s more and more capital doing that way. I don’t know dear readers what time you are reading this episode. Maybe you are in 2022 and you remember very well or you will read this a few years from now.

We went through a pretty significant crisis from the crypto winter to the inflation. 2022 has troubled water in the town in many different aspects. The tech industry went through some massive layoffs. Twitter is right now a super mess. People will agree with that. The world has been checking up. There was a war in Ukraine and the world has been checking out. At the beginning of 2023, a lot of people were super bullish on many things and 2022 was not as bullish as many expected.

That’s very humbling because my relationship with Web3 changed a lot throughout 2022 and wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. At the end of 2021, I was all pumped up about this. In mid-2022, we saw a lot of changes with cryptocurrency and the metaverse did become as big, at least from my perspective. I don’t know if artificial intelligence falls into the Web3 umbrella. I see it as a very similar or adjacent tool at least. That is something that surprised me because it wasn’t on my radar. I was thinking about Virtual Reality, VR, not Artificial Intelligent, AI. Maybe the two are going to go hand in hand. AI reminds me a lot of the Web3 boom that we saw.

I have felt a little cautious about it in that sense because as NFTs we are so big at one point, everyone is talking about it like, “This is the next big thing. Everyone should create and sell an NFT.” People were trying out all of those things. I’m wondering with tools like ChatGPT and other AI tools out there if they are going to be as big and bold or if they are going to fizzle out. Are they going to pave the way for something versus are they going to change everything? I found the article and I shared it in our private community for live eCommerce. It was about the TikTok conization of everything, but it was specifically around AI and how we are already seeing so much AI and using it. We might not even have noticed it.

For example, Facebook and Google use AI to predict what you want and what you want to say, or they will tag people in pictures. That’s already been part of our life for a while, like more behind the scenes. TikTok could be said to be using AI through its algorithm in terms of showing you content and learning what you like.

What’s shifting right now is these tools like ChatGPT are allowing us to take more control and be more involved with AI versus those examples I gave where big companies are using AI and we were part of it. Now we can use it instead of experiencing it. I have been paying very close attention. There’s a lot of sensationalization around AI, especially because ChatGPT grew so fast. I read that they gained a million signups or user registrations in six days and that was one of the biggest successes, if not the biggest of all time. Did you read anything about that?

TLEP 59 | Live Shopping eCommerce
Live Shopping eCommerce: What’s shifting right now is these tools like ChatGPT are allowing us to take more control and be more involved with AI.

 

No. I didn’t read about the number of people signing up, but I feel that if you don’t talk about this, you are out of the loop in somewhere. You can hear that everywhere. There’s certainly a big conversation and narrative around AI for sure. It’s coming all across. It’s a big thing that people are talking about right now. What surprised me the most, which we share GRP and I will share that is there’s this personality that I follow on LinkedIn. It’s not so much a personality, but it’s followers, maybe like an influencer of LinkedIn. He’s very strong with SEO and he used ChatGPT to screen one website and make recommendations for that website.

In literally five minutes, he was able to draft a whole diagnosis, what they should be doing, why they should be doing it, what is the thing, drive some actionable action blog title, and everything in five minutes. The guy’s conclusion was to say this is the result of what will be 1 or 2 years of experience in the SEO world of someone that has 1 or 2 years of experience work. That person did the result in five minutes with AI.

It is astonishing when you think. You have all the haters, but all the people that will say, “This is not the real thing.” Still, it’s a pretty astonishing result. When you think that a machine is able to take a very complex topic, memorize it, make it actionable, start to produce insight and action that you can take right now, and even give you the things you should be doing in literally five minutes. That is to the level of what someone would have taken two years of experience to get it. It’s pretty astonishing because this is where we are now. Where are we going to be in 3 or 4 years from now?

It will be interesting to look back on this episode and we could do a much deeper dive into these tools given that we are getting close to the end of this episode. I would say, for now, I’m impressed with tools like ChatGPT. I have been using Descript, as I mentioned. I’m obviously on TikTok all the time, so I’m immersing myself in AI. I haven’t tried that art app. It’s Lensa that a lot of people were doing where it would take a picture of you and turn it into art. It made me uncomfortable based on some of the downsides to it. There were privacy concerns and there were artists being taken advantage of and you had to pay for it, but it was interesting to watch. I don’t know if you came across this, but there were so many people playing around with that tool.

I started to wonder, “What are we agreeing to? What are we risking when we try out these tools?” We do need to understand how our data is being used and what we are losing, not just what we are gaining with these tools. I also tried out Quillbot, which was great for things like plagiarism because that has been an issue. At least, as of the time of this recording, who knows? A few days from now this could completely change and be irrelevant. An issue people were finding with ChatGPT is that it was using text that was flagging Google and saying this was done by a chatbot or it was flagged for plagiarism. People were then using another AI tool like Quillbot to check for plagiarism and rephrase it. You have to stack things on top of each other.

TLEP 59 | Live Shopping eCommerce
Live Shopping eCommerce: We do need to understand how our data is being used and what we are losing, not just what we are gaining with these tools.

 

It’s not always going to be as simple as it seems and it’s going to take a level of savviness. One of the biggest takeaways I have found is we have access to great tools. Some of them are free or low-cost. some of them seem easy, but at the end of 2022, we still need humans to quality control. We still need humans to use our brain power and understanding of the world. We still need people involved.

It’s not like machines are going to take over things and all these fears around, “My job is at stake.” I would say you can enhance your job by using AI. That’s how I have been using it. I have been saying like, “How can this help me?” To your point, how can this shorten time and getting work done that might take me an hour, if it only takes me five minutes through AI? Great, but that doesn’t mean that I’m done. That means that I have just started and my first draft is done, but now I need to go and edit it and put my human spin and unique touch on it.

The human, as you say, will be always needed. Looking in the space of livestream shopping, video shopping, and all that, when you see what is happening in 2022. Even Amazon is launching Inspire, which is a short-form content video for shopping. Everyone is going after that. There’s no place on Earth where content is not going to become predominant and that content now has to be produced by human. It’s also a big encouragement for all those creators out there that are tuning in.

Your value is increasing by the day because there will be always more and more need for content. If you know how to produce content, you have an edge in this world because that’s something that AI can’t produce. We have seen Facebook raise on their Discovery Lab an app where you can create a video from a text. There’s no way. We say no way. It’s not no way, but there will still be far away an actual cool video from text or AI can produce. We still have time for that. There will still be a lot of opportunities for us humans to create content, tell our story differently, be authentic, and keep on sharing about our products and journeys.

If you know how to produce content, you have an edge in this world because that's something that AI can't produce. Click To Tweet

What a great way to wrap up this episode and to wrap up 2022. I can’t wait to look back on this episode maybe in a few months or maybe next year we will do. If we are still doing this show, which I hope we are. It would be fun to do the same thing that we did with 2021’s episode and see what has changed and what has come about in 2023. It is an exciting feeling. There’s so much going on all the time and truly we never know. Thank you for discussing this with me. Thanks to the readers for tuning in.

You can subscribe to this show to stay informed about future episodes. Also, check out Nicolas’s amazing newsletter where he summarizes some of the things that we have been talking about so you can stay in the loop. You don’t have to wait for the next episode. You can get it through text every week from him. He’s been doing such a great job. We are wishing you a wonderful end of 2022 and a great beginning to 2023. We will see you next time with another episode. Bye for now.

 

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