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Launching video commerce, YouTube wants to become a shopping destination

By Don-Alvin Adegeest



Image: YouTube via Pexels

With clickable content soon to be the norm at Netflix, online shopping may have a new contender in the mix, with YouTube launching a Holiday Stream and Shop livestreaming event as part of its e-commerce ambitions.

The move into online shopping would see YouTube users sell a mix of their own merchandise and select brands directly via the platform. Most often YouTube is a gateway to product research and showrooming, with users searching videos for product recommendations and subsequently making the purchase on other platforms and channels such as Amazon.

YouTube now wants in on the action. “We’re making their jobs harder,” David Katz, YouTube’s vice president for shopping, told Bloomberg. “YouTube has an enormous shopping opportunity.”

Shoppable video

With selling and purchasing possible via its platform YouTube could grow to be a giant shopping destination, especially with Gen Z. Last year, YouTube began asking creators to track the items they featured in footage in an initial step to build buying features directly inside videos, as Bloomberg News first reported. This summer, YouTube hired Katz, an e-commerce veteran, and Bridget Dolan, an executive with beauty chain Sephora, to lead a new division focused on shopping.

Social media platforms have become high grossing shopping channels, with Facebook, TikTok and Snapchat all morphing into shoppable platforms, said Bloomberg.

With Google’s Alphabet as its parent company, YouTube has enormous amounts of data at its fingertips.

Back in July Alphabet said: “As we announced earlier this year, we’ve been beta-testing an integrated shopping experience that allows viewers to tap into the credibility and knowledge of trusted creators to make informed purchases on YouTube. This test was first available on videos on demand, and we’re now piloting this experience on live-streams with a handful of creators and brands. So if you’re watching a supported live-stream on YouTube, you can browse and shop products in real time, without interruption.”

According to Social Media Today, consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to seeing and buying items within social apps, based on content displayed (which is also part of Facebook’s broader shopping shift), which will see habitual behaviors change, and expectations of platforms shift as a result.

shoppable content
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