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Instagram is set to shut down live shopping in March.
The Meta-owned social platform shared the following on Tuesday:
Beginning on March 16, 2023, you will no longer be able to tag products in live broadcasts on Instagram. This change will help us focus on products and features that provide the most value to our users.
You will still be able to set up and run your shop on Instagram as we continue to invest in shopping experiences for people and businesses across feed, stories, Reels, ads and more.
Other live broadcasting features will be unaffected, including the ability to schedule a live broadcast, to invite guests to join your live broadcast, and to hold a live Q&A.
The move comes amid a wider rethink of shopping at Instagram. In January, the platform opted to remove the Shop tab from its homepage navigation, prioritizing the Compose button.
It’s not the first time a live shopping feature has been cut at Meta, either. Facebook ended its live shopping feature in October.
This move will no doubt add fuel the debate over whether live shopping can succeed in the U.S. at the same scale it has in China. To detractors, it will be a point to the column that it cannot succeed. Yet TikTok, Amazon and YouTube have all rolled out more extensive live shopping features over the last year, indicating that there is still plenty of energy being marshaled to make it work.
The move may say more about where shopping is heading on social platforms in general rather than a particular feature’s viability.
The last generation of social commerce was marked by features that made shopping a section within an app. With a shopping section, features to direct users there such as the Shop tab for browsing and the ability to tag products on a livestream run from a user’s shop are important.
However, social commerce is moving to become more embedded in the primary social experience. Pinterest recently said it would integrate shopping on the most-used areas of its app.
Similarly, Instagram said it will still integrate shopping across its popular feed, stories, Reels and ads. Look for shopping to play a bigger role within those experiences, rather than being a standalone feature within the app. The next wave of change seems to be betting that people will want to shop within the posts and stories that they’re already scrolling.
We’re not witnessing the end of social commerce, but rather a shift in strategy. This will mean change at the product level. Brands should pay close attention to the releases.
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Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”