YouTube is introducing a slew of new shopping features for creators, including the ability to link storefronts and sell products directly on the platform through a partnership with Shopify.
In a blog post published today, YouTube says its partnership with Shopify will allow creators to display products throughout their channels, like below videos, during livestreams, or at the end of videos. Inventory will sync with Shopify so viewers can see in real time if something is out of stock. YouTube will also give US-based creators the option to enable on-site checkout, meaning viewers can purchase products directly on the platform without leaving YouTube.
In addition to the Shopify integration, YouTube says it will dedicate a section of the Explore tab to a “shopping destination” that will display shoppable content for US, Brazilian, and Indian users beginning next week.
YouTube is also pushing forward with livestream shopping and is expanding tools to all eligible creators that allow YouTubers to tag products during livestreams. Live shopping is popular in countries like China, and platforms including TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, and eBay have introduced similar features in other regions, hoping live shopping will stick. Results, though, could be mixed. Even TikTok — where product recommendations go viral and sell out overnight — is reportedly scaling back its live shopping expansion in Europe and the US, where uptake is apparently lagging.
YouTube wants to be a place where users find things they want and where they purchase them, and these new features are an attempt to make that process more seamless. But other platforms want in as well. Instagram, for example, announced this week that shoppers will be able to place orders for products via direct messages with businesses as well as track their orders and ask questions in the same thread.