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What Brands Need to Know About YouTube’s Upcoming Shopping Features

Michael Waters
February 15, 2022
YouTube sees Livestream shopping as the future of its commerce ambitions. Given that YouTube has 2.29 billion users, brands need to be paying attention.

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 They featured celebrities and influencers like Gordon Ramsay and the Merrell Twins.

Gordon Ramsay goes live on Youtubes Holiday Stream and Shop.

YouTube Views the Functionality of Livestream Shopping as the Future of Commerce

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.

Why Is YouTube Trying to Become a Shopping Destination?

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.

Example of Youtube's in app shopping features.

What Will YouTube Shoppable Livestreams Look Like?

While YouTube is still finalizing all of the details of its shoppable Livestreams, it has revealed several features that the streams will likely include: 

Live Product Drops

On an unboxing Livestream, your favorite creators can show off products that aren’t available for purchase anywhere else.

Exclusive Discounts or Discount Codes

Offering a sale in the middle of the Livestream only increases the motivation for people to tune in.

Fan Polls

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.

Coming Soon Trailers

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.”

The Livestreams Are in Beta at the Moment—so What Can Brands Do Now on YouTube? 

YouTube has a growing number of shoppable features. Brands can take advantage of YouTubes current offers: 

Shoppable Ads

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.

AR Try-On Ads

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.

Youtube adds AR product trails for beauty brands.

YouTube Merch Shelf

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. 

Customer Service

As your brand prepares a strategy for YouTube shopping, ensure you have a customer service team to make the digital experience seamless for consumers.

Chatdesk Teams provides knowledgeable customer support teams who respond to comments, ensuring that curious viewers can convert into paying customers. Schedule a demo here to see it in action.

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