Q&A with Munira Rahemtulla, Director of Amazon Live

July 15, 2020

Munira Rahemtulla is a 15-year Amazonian and the Director of Amazon Live. Munira has worked on Kindle with Special Offers, Product Ads, and Fulfillment By Amazon. We spoke with Munira about Amazon Live and how her team is working to democratize content creation for brands and influencers, and provide new shopping and viewing experiences for customers.

What is Amazon Live?

Amazon Live brings interactive live video into the Amazon shopping experience. This includes livestreams during our own events, such as Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Prime Day, and on our Deals pages, and allowing creators to stream product-focused video directly on product pages and other relevant areas of our store. Viewers can chat live with each other and the host throughout the stream, and products featured in the livestream are displayed alongside the video player making it easy for customers to shop while watching the stream.

We introduced the ability for brands to livestream directly on Amazon last year, and I’m excited to share that starting today, influencers who are part of the Amazon Influencer Program can livestream directly on Amazon—all while earning commissions from qualifying purchases of products featured in their streams.

What makes shoppable live video on Amazon so exciting is it allows brands to tell their story and drive sales, and influencers to showcase their favorite products. While they are doing this, they can interact with customers in real time, giving customers a fun and interactive way to discover, learn about, and purchase great products.

What makes Amazon Live unique?

About five years ago, we started Amazon Live with the idea to both modernize and take elements of popular streaming channels as a way to help customers shop in a different way.

It was also very important for us to democratize livestreaming and set it up in a way that made it easy and accessible for people to create content. To do this, we created the Amazon Live Creator app, which is self-service and free to use.

Vendors, sellers, and influencers can download the app onto their iPhones, point the camera at themselves, and stream their own shows. Viewers can ask questions in the stream’s chat room, and hosts can reply to their comments in the chat or directly on camera—allowing them to create a more personal connection with their audience. All the products that the brand or influencer talk about show up in a product carousel under the livestream, making it easy for customers to shop and purchase products.

How can brands use Amazon Live to help build their business?

With Amazon Live, brands have the opportunity to interact with customers directly in the shopping environment. We know that Amazon customers come to Amazon to discover new products and brands, and the exciting thing about livestreaming is that customers are able to learn about both the product and the brand simultaneously.

And this is more important than ever. How a customer feels about a brand and what they stand for is part of their decision making process. Amazon Live gives brands another medium to connect with Amazon shoppers, and the chat functionality makes this a conversation instead of a one-sided monologue.

We also introduced a ‘Follow’ feature on Amazon Live to help brands build their audience on Amazon and create loyalty. So once a customer discovers a new brand, they can follow them and be eligible for notifications the next time the brand goes live.

Finally, we know brands frequently work with influencers to engage customers and support their marketing efforts. With the launch of livestreaming for influencers, brands can give influencers promo codes to use while they are streaming live, and shoppers can easily add the promo code to their account by clicking the ‘Redeem’ button directly in the video player.

How can influencers use Amazon Live?

The same way brands do! Influencers have access to all the same livestream features as brands, including follow and chat, and with live promotions, influencers can surprise and delight viewers with special deals while they are streaming live.

What are some of the more creative streams you’ve seen so far?

We had a creator livestream during the space launch in May—his stream was a viewing party complete with launch countdown, and the carousel was filled with different products that spoke to space travel and exploration.

The Quikflip backpack, a product that can quickly ‘flip’ from hoodie to backpack, and Anker’s mobile charging stream are great illustrations of how live content can bring products and brands to life.

I’ve also enjoyed these livestreams by Jessica Alba and Beauty by Carla—the streams feature live makeup tutorials mixed with other fun elements, like cooking demonstrations and beauty hacks.

What excites you the most about the future of Live?

The possibilities. It’s still very early and there’s still so much we’re going to learn from both creators and customers. I’ve been awed by the creativity I’ve seen in these livestreams, and I anticipate we’ll see so much more there. How that evolves will both inspire and inform how we continue inventing in this space for brands, influencers, and shoppers.

How can brands and influencers get started today?

Sellers and vendors can download the Amazon Live Creator app here. Influencers interested in livestreaming can learn more about the Amazon Influencer Program and check eligibility by visiting amazon.com/influencers. For creators that may not be familiar with livestreaming (or need a refresher!) we also have resources including live Q&As, podcasts, and interactive webinars to provide guidance on how to be most successful with livestreaming.

Fast five:

  • What are you reading? I’ve been reading Sherlock Holmes out loud to my kids. We love the plot twists, and how Holmes always manages to get the upper hand in the end.
  • Dream vacation? National Geographic tour in the Galapagos with my kids, who LOVE animals.
  • Favorite Amazon purchase? Rain gear for surviving Seattle on my bike!
  • Most listened-to playlist? The Chainsmokers New Year’s Eve 2020 on Amazon Music makes a great running soundtrack for me.
  • Best song lyric?
    “The greats weren't great because at birth they could paint
    The greats were great 'cause they paint a lot”

    – Ten Thousand Hours by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis