What Can the Retail Industry Learn from Apple Launching Live One-to-One Video Shopping?

Apple live video shopping

As of March 2023, Apple announced the launch of ‘Shop with a Specialist over Video’, a new live one-to-one video shopping experience on their website for customers in the United States. Through a safe and secure one-way video shopping session, ‘Shop with a Specialist over Video’ connects customers looking to purchase an iPhone with an Apple brand ambassador. With this new feature, customers can browse the most recent models and their features, switch to iOS, learn about Apple Trade-In offers, carrier deals, and various financing options.

So, what can the e-commerce retail industry learn about Apple implementing live one-to-one video shopping on their website, and how will this impact the way in which consumers shop in the future?

In this article, we will cover the following:



An overview of Apple’s new launch of ‘Shop with a Specialist’


Apple live video shopping
Apple ‘Shop with a Specialist’


When searching for a new iPhone, customers in the US can visit the Apple website and instantly connect with a specialist online for service and advice when selecting the best model. Customers can compare features, colours, and sizes once they are connected and find the best deal through their carrier or the Apple Trade In program.

A member of the Apple team will share their screen with the camera during the session, but they won’t be able to see the customer. Customers can reach a Specialist via chat or phone any time of day or night if they discover that a session is unavailable or want to access the page after hours. The ‘Shop with a Specialist over Video’ is available to customers in the U.S. from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT every day.

Karen Rasmussesn, Apple’s head of Retail Online, commented on the launch: “We’re constantly innovating to deliver an even more personalized experience for our customers, meeting them where they are to deliver the best of Apple. With Shop with a Specialist over Video, our team members are excited to connect with customers and provide exceptional service as they learn about which iPhone best suits them.”


The difference between Apple’s one-to-one live video shopping experience and Meta’s livestream shopping services


Meta ceased offering livestreaming services on Facebook and Instagram in August 2022 and March 2023, respectively. These announcements came as part of Meta’s choice to zero in on Reels on the social media platforms, which are which are short-structure video content users are consumed with on TikTok, as well as siphoning their cash into virtual reality and the Metaverse.

Read more about what e-commerce can learn from Meta shutting down their livestream shopping services on Facebook and Instagram, as well as why this branch of social commerce has not reached the same success in the Western world as it has in China.

Now, of course Facebook and Instagram are social media platforms whereas Apple is an e-commerce store within its own right; the principles are still similar. Although they all fall under the category of live video shopping, Meta’s platforms worked on a livestream one-to-many sector, whereas Apple are now operating on a one-to-one sector.


Apple live video shopping
Apple ‘Shop with a Specialist’ vs Meta Livestream Shopping



  • Brand ambassadors showcase products to a large audience during a fixed livestream event
  • No direct interaction between the customer and the brand ambassador
  • Focuses on specific promotional events or product marketing


  • Replicates the in-store shopping experience by bringing the social and human aspect of in-store customer service over to e-commerce
  • Personalised shopping experiences
  • Focuses on high value products or considered customer purchases


Learn more about one-to-one vs one-to-many live video shopping.


What can companies learn from Apple?


This adoption of live one-to-one video shopping is an incredible launch for the category – if tech giants such as Apple are leveraging this field, why shouldn’t other brands and retailers? Apple are showing that investing in personalised and targeted shopping experiences for customers is key when it comes to leveraging the online shopping experience.


Apple live video shopping
What can companies learn from Apple’s live one-to-one video shopping service?


By shifting their attention to online consumers, Apple are able to direct more customers to their e-commerce website to complete sales. On iPhone launch day, many consumers now shop and pre-order online, so it is no longer common for customers to line up at Apple stores. What companies can learn from this is to listen to what their customers want: the personalised, one-to-one shopping experience from the comfort of their own homes.

The focus of this digital innovation is set to take off, more than traditional livestreaming in e-commerce. In fact, Forbes comment on livestreaming commerce, in particular one-to-one, stating: “In the long run, it may be that one-to-one livestreaming ends up being the most broadly adopted flavour of US livestreaming as retailers turn their in-store sales associates into omnichannel product specialists and micro-influencers.”


How will this launch impact the way consumers shop in the future?


Apple live video shopping
How consumers will shop online in the future


This launch showcases the true power of live one-to-one video shopping in the retail sector and is being recognised as such for its success. This will shift the way consumers shop in the future, beyond iPhones, in a number of ways:

  • Convenience

    • Consumers can interact with brand ambassadors on a one-to-one basis in real-time just as they would in-store, but all from the comfort of their own homes
  • More product options

    • Customers have become more discerning in their product selections and want to compare products easily based on price, reviews, and features. This is much easier to do with the touch of a button than venturing in-store or waiting for a product to be presented by a livestream host
  • Live support

    • High-touch brand ambassadors can provide customers who require support in considered purchases, resulting in increased trust between the retailer and the customer. This offers a great shift from the static e-commerce sites as we know them


In addition to this, Internet Retailing report that consumers are increasing e-commerce spending due to lower prices and a better customer experience: “Nearly three-quarters (71%) of US respondents expect to increase their ecommerce spending over the next 12 months as a result of finding better value online, pushing omnichannel businesses to double down on ecommerce investments to protect the bottom line.”


Key Takeaways


  • Apple’s launch of live one-to-one video shopping is a power move in growing the category
  • Customers require the personalised shopping experience on brands and retailer’s websites and are not willing to settle for less nowadays
  • On a broader spectrum, one-to-one livestream shopping leverages the omnichannel consumer experience

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