E-commerce in the U.S. is on the cusp of big change.
A quarter century after Amazon’s founding, shopping online in America is largely the same experience: People click around a website and buy stuff. But this next phase promises a major evolution, by intertwining streaming video, social media and celebrity into a shopping experience that has the potential to further disrupt an already-battered retail industry.
So-called streaming e-commerce—or live selling—allows almost anyone (celebrities, influencers or your local store owner) to quickly create their own shopping television channel that’s also a social network and e-commerce platform—at a tiny fraction of the cost. Another way to think about it is imagine if Instagram was where you made a lot of your discretionary purchases from live video appearances by people you follow, like buying Cardi B’s purse. Or instead of just liking a picture of a fashionista in a cute dress, she’s selling