YouTube Gets a Bigger Shopping Cart: Pacts With Shopify, Expands Live Ecommerce Tools to All Creators

YouTube already soaks up billions of hours of the world’s attention. Now the video giant also wants to hoover up a bigger piece of consumers’ online purchases.

Looking to grease the ecommerce wheels, the platform is introducing new tools within YouTube Studio’s Shopping tab so that creators can more easily manage how their products are tagged and appear across their channel. In addition, all creators eligible for YouTube’s merchandise program can now access live shopping features, like the ability to tag products to a livestream directly from the Live Control Room panel.

And YouTube also has inked a partnership with Shopify, a provider of ecommerce services, to let creators and merchants feature their products across their YouTube channels and content. Creators can now link their Shopify store to their YouTube channel in just a few steps, according to David Katz, VP of of shopping product at YouTube.

In addition, starting next week YouTube will introduce a new shopping destination in the Explore tab that will feature “relevant” shoppable content from creator channels in three countries: the U.S., Brazil and India. That will roll out to additional countries later this year.

Creators “spend a lot of time building a business and developing their products, so we want to make it even easier for them to connect and manage their stores on YouTube and bring their products directly to their audience,” Katz wrote in a blog post announcing the Shopify pact and new shopping features for creators.

By linking a Shopify stores with their YouTube channel, creators will be able to benefit from Shopify’s real-time inventory syncing capability — designed to eliminate the chance a product will be out of stock. U.S.-based creators can enable onsite checkout through Shopify so viewers can complete purchases without leaving YouTube. Shopify’s pricing plans start at $29/month for a basic ecommerce package. The company also charges online credit-card processing fees, which start at 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.

“We believe creators are the next generation of merchants, and YouTube has been a longtime leader in powering this new cohort of entrepreneurs,” said Kaz Nejatian, VP of product at Shopify, in a statement.

YouTube has expanded access to shopping features to even more creators and has been focused on enhancing the ability sell products in livestreams. In 2022, YouTube has made live events — including Coachella, YouTube’s second annual Beauty Festival and from Brazil’s massive Paulistão soccer tournament — “completely shoppable for viewers,” according to Katz.

About 89% of viewers agree that YouTube creators provide product and service recommendations they trust, according to a YouTube-commissioned study conducted in August 2021 by Publicis Groupe and boutique research firm Talk Shoppe.

To be eligible for YouTube’s shopping features, user must meet certain minimum requirements. Those include: the channel must be approved for monetization; if the channel is a music channel, it has to be an officially certified artist channel; if it’s not a music channel, it has to have more than 10,000 subscribers; and the channel’s audience must not have a “significant number” of videos designated as made for kids.

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