How to take your business to the next level with livestream shopping

Hand holds a cell phone in front of a pink background with a dress, shoes, FunkoPop, chair, heels and lipstick.
Livestream shopping allows business owners to show products to customers in real-time.

  • Livestream shopping is about to get a lot more popular in the US.
  • Real-time shows let you tell the story behind your brand and products.
  • We break down what livestreaming is and how to use the technology for your business.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Livestream shopping in the US is estimated to become a $6 billion market this year and $25 billion by 2023. Originally popularized in Asia, this method of ecommerce is like a modern QVC show meets Instagram live.

Small businesses, resellers, and collectors are using livestream shows to make thousands of dollars in sales. Boutique owners can show off their latest products or auction off collectibles in real-time, establishing a new way to reach customers at home. Now a store located in one city can reach viewers across the country, vastly widening its net of loyal customers.

See how business owners are using livestream platforms to broaden their customer base and sell their products.

How to get started selling on livestream platforms

You can start livestream selling by either launching a new business or incorporating it into an existing company. Either way, it’s important to identify the niche you’re serving by looking at what your customers and followers are interested in, livestream entrepreneurs told Insider.

You don’t need much more than a smartphone to start livestreaming, but there are a few tools you can purchase to elevate the experience for viewers.

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Apps and platforms to know

There are several apps and platforms that offer livestream shopping technology, but it still hasn’t quite reached mass adoption in the US. Plus, building up a loyal following is imperative to seller success. Before you get started, learn which platform best suits your needs and audience. Some platforms cater to niche communities of fans or collectors, while other offer special features and tools.

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Sellers give their tips for success

Insider talked to sellers who average $1,000 to $9,000 in sales per livestream. They gave their tips and advice for getting started, building your audience, and hosting an engaging show.

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A beginner’s guide to graphics cards and how they help power your computer’s images

teen playing desktop computer game with headphones graphics
High-quality graphics cards can significantly improve the visuals on your favorite computer games.

  • A graphics card is an expansion card for your PC that is responsible for rendering images to the display.
  • High-end GPUs are used for gaming, ray tracing, graphics production, and even mining cryptocurrency.
  • Here’s a brief overview of everything you need to know about graphics cards. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

At the birth of the computer era, the IBM PC became the standard computer in large part due to its modular architecture with interchangeable components.

Like the original IBM, now every PC’s motherboard has slots in which any third-party manufacturer can insert the components needed to make the PC run. Among those components: the graphics card, which is responsible for displaying all the images you see on the screen. 

What is a graphics card 1
Modern Nvidia graphics cards are large and require lots of cooling because of their vast processing power.

What to know about graphics cards

A graphics card looks like a smaller version of the computer motherboard – it’s a printed circuit board that has a processor, RAM, and other components. A graphics card is sometimes commonly referred to as a graphics processing unit, or GPU, but in reality the GPU is just a component (albeit the primary, defining component) of the graphics card.

In fact, GPUs come in two major forms:

  • An integrated GPU is built into the motherboard and cannot be upgraded or replaced. You’ll find this in laptops and inexpensive desktop PCs. These graphics typically have modest performance and don’t perform well for tasks like games or professional graphics production.  
  • A discrete GPU is mounted on a graphics card that slips into a computer’s expansion slot on the motherboard. This kind of graphics card is replaceable so it can be upgraded as newer graphics cards are developed and helps keep a PC from becoming obsolete. 

Modern graphics cards are extremely sophisticated devices that in some ways behave like stand-alone computers. They perform an enormous number of calculations and are typically the most sophisticated components in a computer – particularly high-end graphics cards optimized for gaming and advanced graphics processing.

 

Not only are they responsible for drawing ordinary 2D graphics such as windows and documents, but the best modern graphics cards can generate realistic, high-resolution 3D graphics in real time without needing that content to be pre-rendered. They’re essential for graphics production, such as photography and video production, because they’re able to manipulate and process an enormous number of pixels in real time. 

Increasingly, graphics cards are also capable of performing a technique known as ray tracing. Ray tracing is a form of 3D graphics in which scenes are rendered by tracing the path of each light beam in a scene and accurately modeling its effect on materials and textures in the image. Ray-traced graphics are incredibly realistic and previously could only be rendered in advance with copious amounts of processing power. As graphics cards with ray-tracing capabilities continue to drop in price, video games will increasingly rely on ray-traced graphics to deliver cinema-quality visuals, rendered in real time. 

What is a graphics card 2
Real-time ray tracing is widely considered the holy grail of modern computer graphics rendering.

Types of graphics cards

Virtually all graphics cards are developed by two rival brands: Nvidia and AMD. No matter what kind of graphics card you purchase or find inside your PC, it’s almost certainly sold directly by one of these companies or by a third-party company that has licensed the technology. 

That makes it easier to purchase a graphics card because, while there are a lot of companies selling graphics cards, you can always compare them directly since they are all using the same underlying architecture. In other words, an Nvidia GeForce 2070 GPU will behave more or less the same no matter if you buy it from Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, or Nvidia. 

AMD is a close competitor to Nvidia and the two companies sometimes leapfrog each other in top performance. But as a general rule, the best AMD cards offer similar performance to the best Nvidia cards. 

Applications for graphics cards

The sophistication and processing power of modern GPUs means that graphics cards are often the most complex and high-performance component in a computer, rivaling or exceeding the computer’s CPU (central processing unit). 

High-end graphics cards do all the traditional tasks that they have always been responsible for, including rendering the ordinary graphics you use daily. They also render advanced 3D graphics in real time for computer games.

Graphics professionals rely on high-end graphics cards as well. These days, photo, video, and graphics production applications rely on the graphics card, not the computer’s CPU, to perform advanced image processing, including computational photography, which uses artificial intelligence and computer processing to achieve results that previously could only have been done “in the lens” when photos or video were taken.

The GPUs in graphics cards are also sometimes used for their raw processing power to perform non-graphics work. Cryptocurrency miners, for example, rely on computers with high-end graphics cards to perform the sophisticated mining process for coins.

Product Card (small)

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