In November of last year, right before the holiday season, YouTube premiered its first sitewide shoppable Livestream, called Holiday Stream and Shop.
If you tuned in, you could watch YouTube creators like Patrick Starrr and MrBeast demonstrate new products from major brands like Walmart, Samsung, and Verizon in real-time.
And if you saw an item you liked, you could browse the product details, add it to your shopping haul, and purchase it without needing to leave the Livestream.
YouTube temporarily hosted these Livestreams on YouTube.com/Shopping. They featured celebrities and influencers like Gordon Ramsay and the Merrell Twins.
For YouTube, that Livestream shopping event represented the future of its social commerce ambitions. YouTube has already begun allowing select creators to beta-test shoppable Livestreams, and it hopes to roll these Livestreams out more widely soon.
“Our ultimate goal is to build a platform that allows anyone with a mobile device and a product to host a live shopping stream easily,” the company said. Given that YouTube has 2.29 billion users, brands need to be paying attention.
Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have built in-app shopping into an increasingly large part of their businesses.
According to one estimate, people purchased $36.6 billion worth of products on social media in the past year. It’s only going to grow from there: in 2025, that number is expected to hit nearly $80 billion.
YouTube has claimed that it is seeing widespread shopping demand from its users. The company said that 33% of all shoppers reported purchasing at least one product after finding it on a YouTube video.
While YouTube is still finalizing all of the details of its shoppable Livestreams, it has revealed several features that the streams will likely include:
On an unboxing Livestream, your favorite creators can show off products that aren’t available for purchase anywhere else.
Offering a sale in the middle of the Livestream only increases the motivation for people to tune in.
Through polls, creators can ask their audience what products they want to see next, what types of items they are interested in buying, and so on.
YouTubers can advertise shoppable Livestreams to their followers before they happen. YouTube said that, as live shopping rolls out more widely, “creators can even add a video ad or trailer to their upcoming live event watch page to stimulate users to set reminders.”
YouTube has a growing number of shoppable features. Brands can take advantage of YouTubes current offers:
In June 2020, YouTube released a new shoppable ad type in which brands can embed a catalog of their products beneath a “Shop Now” button. Those ads aim to drive sales conversions.
Aerie, one company that tested the ads, saw a 25% increase in its return on ad spend.
One of the big sticking points with e-commerce, especially for beauty and apparel brands, is that customers can’t try on products before buying them.
Snapchat has tried to fix this with its suite of AR ads, where users point their camera at their face or feet and can digitally wear a sneaker or a new lipstick.
Now YouTube is attempting to offer the same service. YouTube’s AR Try-On ads bring up a split-screen: one half features the pre-recorded ad, the other half records your camera and lets you try on products virtually.
According to YouTube, people who engaged with AR Try-On ads spent around 80 seconds on average trying on products.
For creators of YouTube channels that have launched their brands or small businesses, the YouTube Merch Shelf offers a way to showcase products at the bottom of each video.
Creators can display up to 12 of their products. Designed products and hosted on YouTube’s partner merch platforms, like Spring or Spreadshop.
As your brand prepares a strategy for YouTube shopping, ensure you have a customer service team to make the digital experience seamless for consumers.