Earlier this year, Facebook acquired Packagd, a five-person startup that was building a shopping aspect for YouTube videos, according to a report by Bloomberg.
The company is now tasked with building a live shopping feature for Facebook’s Marketplace. Packagd was started by Eric Feng, who used to work with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The majority of the Packagd staff joined Facebook in September.
“Think of it as a re-imagination of QVC or a home shopping network,” Feng said about the startup in 2017.
Facebook didn’t announce the acquisition when it happened, but the plan is to provide a way for people to buy products during live video broadcasts. Facebook tested a similar feature in Thailand, although it was shut down.
“As we’ve shared in the past, we’re exploring ways to let buyers easily ask questions and place orders within a live video broadcast,“ a Facebook spokesperson said, when asked about the venture.
Live shopping is increasingly considered to be an important aspect of future eCommerce operation, and it’s already widely used in China. Alibaba holds a huge shopping day each year called Singles Day, and it used a lot of live selling this year. Amazon has also started to embrace the idea.
Facebook wants to increase its eCommerce footprint, and has been trying to do so for years. Its Marketplace product has almost 1 billion monthly users, and it only launched three years ago. Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, said it will increasingly try to integrate shopping into its platform in the coming year, with the ability for people to buy directly from the app.
According to a recent PYMNTS piece on the subject, the idea of shopping while watching TV is not exactly new or untrodden ground. The Home Shopping Network (HSN) has been around for over 40 years, QVC for over 35 and in the last decade or so the concept of shopping the digital stream has popped up all over the place. One can find traditional home shopping style content via HSN or the recently released Amazon Live; or for those looking for a more outré version of home shopping via streaming there is always Down To Shop, an operation premised on answering a single question — what would QVC for Gen Z look like?