Every toy, gadget and good thing you see on YouTube could soon be online for sale, not on Amazon, but on YouTube itself.
Recently, the world’s largest video website began requesting creators to tag and track items featured in their clips using YouTube software. The data would then be connected to Google’s parent analytics and shopping software.
The aim is to turn the bounty of videos from YouTube into a vast catalogue of items that, according to individuals familiar with the situation, viewers can search, click on and purchase directly. In order to sell products via YouTube, the company is also testing a new integration with Shopify Inc.
The company is testing these features with a small number of video platforms, a YouTube spokesperson confirmed. Creators would have influence over the items that are seen, the spokesperson said. The organisation described this as an experiment.
The movements have the power to turn YouTube from an advertisement powerhouse into a new e-commerce pioneer challenger, such as Amazon.com Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
“Andy Ellwood, president of e-commerce start-up Basket, said,” YouTube is one of the least used assets. “When they have decided they want to invest in it, it’s a massive opportunity for them.”
How YouTube is going to produce money from these sales is uncertain. The service, however, has started to sell creators subscriptions and takes a 30 percent cut from those fees.
With limited success, Alphabet Inc.’s Google has taken several stabs in online commerce. Instead of selling goods itself, the company has always opted to sell advertisements that takes customers to other digital stores.
However, the pandemic, particularly in the travel and physical retail sectors that are major Google advertisers, has hammered marketing budgets. Meanwhile, as individuals sit at home and buy more goods online, e-commerce has boomed. That left Google watching as rivals such as Facebook Inc. and its Instagram app became online shopping hotbeds from the sidelines. The U.S. e-commerce Goliath, Amazon, has seen sales rise, while in the second quarter Google suffered its first-ever revenue decrease.
Google executives have signalled for months now that YouTube will be central to their plan for e-commerce. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai indicated on a recent earnings call that YouTube’s sea of famous “unboxing” product videos could be turned into a shopping opportunity for YouTube. The video platform is full of other popular categories, such as beauty and cooking tutorials, where creators advertise on-air commercial items.
The company has also updated its division of e-commerce and payments. It unveiled a campaign in July to draw retailers to Google Shopping, its online store, which included an integration with Shopify so that their inventory could be handled by sellers.