YouTube Shopping: What Brands Can Gear Up For With this new shopping feature, brands will directly engage with prospective buyers on the site and sell their products

By Kiran Patil

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With 2 billion active monthly users, YouTube is the world's largest online video platform. At the same time, it is also the second-largest search engine in the world, right after its parent company Google. Brands have been advertising on YouTube extensively and some D2C brands even get about 10 per cent of the sales on their website from YouTube. That is the power of YouTube! So it only makes sense for YouTube to take on the next big step—foraying further into the world of e-commerce. And as a brand to tap this opportunity to the fullest.

YouTube has been an effective marketing channel for years now through advertisements and affiliate links. However, with this new shopping feature, brands will directly engage with prospective buyers on the site and sell their products. The feature is currently undergoing initial testing with a limited number of video channels, according to information provided by a YouTube spokesperson. Once launched, it could become a tremendous game-changer in e-commerce and open up major avenues for retailers worldwide.

How will YouTube Shopping work?

YouTube has recently started asking content creators to use their software to tag and track the products they feature in clips. The data is to be linked to Google's shopping tools and analytics. Google has also been testing ways to integrate Shopify for selling through YouTube.

Online shopping has significantly boomed in the pandemic period, allowing social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to reap benefits through their shopping feature wherein users make purchases directly on the site by browsing through catalogs offered by sellers. Through YouTube Shopping, you can create video content that will be used to create catalogs for the viewers to explore and buy directly. It has been unclear so far as to how YouTube will earn revenue through the new shopping feature, but they will presumably make a cut from the sales made on their site by the retailers.

What does this mean for retailers?

As a retailer, there are several ways in which you will be able to take advantage of his new feature.

No more intermediaries: With the new shopping feature, you can actually do away with any intermediary and act as a direct call-to-action for customers to buy your product. Users will be able to shop your products after or even in between watching a video without having to leave the site.

Better opportunities for influencer marketing: This new feature will make marketing via YouTube influencers a more lucrative strategy for your brand. There is a diverse range of video content being uploaded on YouTube daily in the form of tutorials, unboxing videos, travel and lifestyle guides, hauls, etc., that push products. The shopping feature will allow vloggers and influencers to create conversions directly from YouTube. For instance, if you have a food and beverage brand, users can buy your products directly while watching a recipe video, if your products are among the ingredients. Instead of affiliate links, a buy button on the same site can be more effective in spurring users on to make an instant purchase.

Improved social commerce: Once the feature is launched, YouTube marketing will be completely revolutionized as you will have a much greater incentive to build your brand's social presence on the site. Joining Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, YouTube will emerge as a hub for social commerce and become majorly influential in what is called "social selling". Creating engaging social content for YouTube's giant user base will provide great exposure for your products. You will have full control over the visibility of your products across your videos. Videos will not be bound by the same limited time-frame as paid advertisements, allowing enormous flexibility in terms of the amount of content and information that you can convey to the buyers.

Higher scope for retail: Last but not least, YouTube Shopping has the potential to turn YouTube with its massive user base into a viable platform for e-commerce and pose a challenge for already established powerhouses such as Amazon, Walmart and Alibaba. It will mean plenty of new prospects for sellers and buyers across the globe.

Final thoughts

Whether the feature will actually perform successfully can only be determined once the finer details are worked out by Google and it is officially launched on YouTube. But there is no denying that it has the potential to become a major game-changer in the e-commerce arena. Therefore, your best move as an e-commerce retailer would be to gear up for this latest development and strategize ways to incorporate it into your marketing plan.

Kiran Patil

Founder and CEO of Growisto

Kiran Patil is the founder and CEO of Growisto, a rising e-commerce marketing and technology company. An alumnus of IIT Bombay, he has over 16 years of experience in e-commerce and digital marketing. His entrepreneurial spirit and unwavering attitude have helped online businesses grow to their full potential. When not absorbed in being a business transformation catalyst, he loves traveling, cycling and trekking in unexplored destinations.


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