Agora enables brands to host live shopping events and auctions

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Agora, the company that develops “real-time engagement” APIs, is making its livestream shopping technology widely available to help more brands build live commerce experiences, including shoppable shows, live auctions, personal shopper livestreams and more. The solution has been in beta since 2022.

With Agora’s live shopping API, any company can embed interactive livestreams into their platform and potentially increase sales by showing off their products in real time. The technology is also useful for providing assistance to customers via live chat. Other features include multiple camera angles, video captioning, reaction emojis, polling, co-livestreaming and custom filters.

Agora is also testing new capabilities, the company revealed to us. For instance, Agora has an AI-driven video content moderation extension in beta from trust and safety company ActiveFence, allowing sellers to protect their users from harmful or inappropriate content. Another experimental tool is real-time transcription, which provides live AI-powered transcription and subtitling services. The company is also working on new features for signaling to enhance synchronization.

“Agora’s real-time engagement platform has been selected by top retail brands and platforms and is powering the live shopping experience for hundreds of sites and apps, from fashion brands to professional sports teams,” Tony Zhao, CEO of Agora, told TechCrunch.

Zhao added that Agora’s clients have seen “up to 3x increases in conversion rates after implementation.”

One client using the new technology is CommentSold, a live selling platform that empowers over 7,000 small to mid-sized fashion retailers. The company leverages the functionality to allow sellers to invite collaborators into their shows with a link or QR code. When guests join the live shopping session, users can still maintain control over the livestream.

CommentSold has facilitated over $3.8 billion in lifetime gross merchandise value (GMV).

“We are absolutely thrilled to enable a paradigm shift in live selling with these features, which will open up new ways for CommentSold sellers to gamify live selling shows and drive engagement,” said Andrew Chen, chief product officer at CommentSold. “Now sellers can leverage professional hosts, celebrities and creators to co-host or host their livestream shopping events. Additionally, they can invite VIP customers to their live shows, further boosting interactivity, which eventually translates to higher sales for our sellers.”

In addition to live shopping, Agora has a broad product offering, including digital whiteboards for educational businesses, a voice calling software development kit (SDK), 3D spatial audio extension, telehealth technology and more.

Companies have tried shaping the narrative around live shopping booming in the U.S. — with the market estimated to be worth $31.7 billion this year — however, if we compare it to overall e-commerce sales, which was over $1 trillion in 2022, live shopping only makes up a small percentage of the online retail market. In relation to China’s success with live shopping, which is now a $327 billion market, U.S. has a long way to go.

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