The shopping season is seeing a gradual and steady revival as people across the globe have lived through, adapted, and are
seeking to move on with their lives amid the COVID pandemic. While the threat is far from over, the need to adapt and move
forward is resonating with many and with the festive season coming soon, consumers may very well resort to some Shopping
Therapy to celebrate. Moreover, even if you have had your fair share of shopping via Instagram, Amazon and Facebook, you still
might want to hold your breath, as another internet giant seeks to enter the online shopping domain! *Drum roll*….
presenting the new shopping sensation that could possibly conquer your imagination; YOUTUBE!
Yes, according to a report by Bloomberg, YouTube has been testing a Shopping ‘feature’ with some content creators to figure out
its feasibility. While things are at a nascent stage currently, the report states that the creators are being asked to tag and track the
products that they use in their videos. The creators can also choose the products that they wish to advertise and sell. The data
provided by the creators will be then sent to Google, the parent firm, to figure out the analytics and create a Shopping Tool for
YouTube. More notably, rumors are rife about YouTube testing out this integration with Canadian e-commerce platform, Shopify,
While the feature, if it comes to fruition, will surely cause quite a flurry on the web, it also raises some interesting questions right
now. Let’s navigate through some of them.
HOW WILL WE SEE CONTENT ON YOUTUBE?
Product placement is not a new phenomenon. We have seen it in several YouTube videos. But while it has characteristically been
a more subtle way of advertising and selling a product, with YouTube’s Shopping feature stepping in, what would it mean for
advertisers? Would we see a sudden surge in brands coming up with content that advertises their products without as much
subtlety, and with a popular YouTuber centering his/her content around them? How would this affect the ads that we see before
or in between YouTube videos? What would it be like to buy something from a video as you watch it? With all these questions
being raised, we are sure that the nature of the content on YouTube will never be the same. What it would evolve into is
something that only time (and YouTube) can tell!
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOUTUBERS?
To us, the possibility of YouTube introducing a Shopping Tool sounds remarkably similar to the wave of commercialization that
Instagram Shopping and the various bloggers and influencers have brought to Instagram. While once they both were dedicated
platforms for content creators, YouTube, much like Instagram, could see more commercialization. This could also translate into
more opportunities and moolah for YouTubers. Also, let’s not forget the increase in the number of Youtubers who would be
motivated to sell products via their videos. It could trigger a hyperlocal market, where YouTubers with a great local reach could
target and sell to audiences near them. Moreover, the creators have primarily relied on views on their videos to monetize them,
with YouTube taking a 30% share from their income. But with this Shopping Feature, that dependency could be diluted or
possibly done away with completely. Revenues from YouTube could become much more attainable with creators generating sales
for brands via their videos. But would YouTube take a share from the sales generated by the creators as well? We doubt it,
considering how YouTube will need to heavily incentivize creators to use this tool and stop them from switching over to other
platforms like Instagram, who do not take any share from their revenue.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT OTHER ONLINE SHOPPING PLATFORMS?
While several Online Shopping giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Facebook command their space and the wallet of their
consumers, the entry of a brand as well-known as YouTube could be significant enough to cause a disruption in the domain. And
considering how Amazon and Facebook have seen a significant spur in their sales, especially during the COVID pandemic, it
remains to be seen how Google will build in enough attractive features to entice creators and consumers to use their Shopping
Tool. It will be an exciting development, one to watch out for, if it happens.
COULD THE COVID PANDEMIC BE THE PERFECT TIME TO LAUNCH?
As we mentioned before, the Covid pandemic has brought about a big change in the way people live. They are living in a ‘new
normal’ and this new normal has extended itself to shopping. More and more buyers prefer to buy online instead of visiting brick
& mortar stores. YouTube launching its Shopping Tool in such a scenario could be a perfect case of getting the timing right. Along
with maintaining social distancing norms, the comfort of shopping from home and amenities like Cash on Delivery and options to
return products and getting them exchanged could help. Amazon & Facebook have widely reported soaring sales in the last few
months. We are sure that YouTube has been quietly noticing all this on the sidelines. So, if the new Shopping Tool is launched
during the pandemic, it could receive an encouraging response.
CAN GOOGLE REALLY CRACK THE CODE WITH THIS TOOL?
Once bitten, twice shy, says the proverb. But what if you have been bitten more than once? While Google is trying to make an
exciting foray into E-Commerce with this tool, this isn’t the first time it has tried to do so. Last year, the firm embedded shopping
Ware2Go to make Google Shopping deliveries faster. None of these ventures really clicked and the Google Shopping platform
hasn’t seen much success yet either. Moreover, companies like Amazon and Walmart have also tried their hand at shoppable
videos but haven’t been able to generate a steady revenue stream from them. However, Douyin- the Chinese version of the now-
banned Tik Tok app did see a silver lining as its influencers sold a variety of products, ranging from cosmetics to electronics.
With all these examples as references, it remains to be seen whether Google will be able to really crack the code.
While there are hardly any concrete reports on this development, a lot rides on the trials that are being conducted currently.
But can you picture this new YouTube?! Is it an exciting proposition for you as a brand, a creator, or a consumer? Watch this
space as we bring you more updates, as and when they are available. Till then, Happy Shopping!
Looking forward to reading more such articles & keeping yourself well informed about the latest social media trends? Stay
connected and contact us on email@example.com to craft out a comprehensive and efficient social media plan for your brand.