Live stream shopping for everyone: YouTube makes new social commerce features available

Just in time for the holidays, Google’s video platform is rolling out new features that are supposed to make shopping easier and more exciting.

Interacting with your favorite creators and discovering new, exciting products – that’s what live streams on Pinterest, TikTok, Instagram and now YouTube offer users. Because Google’s video platform has now announced that new shopping features will be rolled out for everyone shortly before the holiday season. The video platform had previously experimented with shopping functions. However, these were mostly only available for a selected user group.

Wendy Yang | and Lax Poojary, Product Designer at YouTube Shopping, explain on the YouTube Blog:

The exciting thing about live shopping, and shopping generally, is that we’re already seeing it happen on YouTube – with creators revealing a product line, dropping new merch, or discussing their latest shopping haul. People want to shop on YouTube and, according to a study we ran in partnership with Publicis and TalkShoppe, 89% of viewers agree that YouTube creators give recommendations they can trust.

This means that users are already actively using the video platform for product recommendations and shopping inspiration. In addition, according to Yang, consumers place more trust in the ratings of their favorite YouTube creators than on other platforms. Therefore, the company wants to meet user demands and expand the live stream shopping options.

Surveys, special offers and product presentations in the live stream: This is what YouTube’s new shopping features offer

Users can look forward to three major new functions in the live stream, which, according to YouTube, will bring them closer together with the creators and improve the shopping experience. On the YouTube blog it says:

We want to bring you closer to your favorite creators and make these live-streams interactive between creators and fans. Creators can offer their audience live product drops, exclusive discounts, and even poll fans during their shopping livestreams to interact with and get feedback from their fans.

This means that the viewers can, for example, have a say in real time about which products they would like to be informed about. For example, YouTube shows what the survey feature looks like in a mockup:

© YouTube

In addition, creators can offer exclusive products in the live streams and promote special prices for their articles. Here YouTube makes use of the so-called Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO). Because users who are fans of a creator will not miss the live streams with possible special offers. For the video platform, this means not only greater revenue from the products sold, but also more view time. This in turn has a positive effect on the ad business.

Teleshopping is back: In China, shopping in the live stream is already a trend

The new shopping options on YouTube are very reminiscent of the well-known teleshopping. Here, too, people present products that viewers can purchase in real time. The difference, however, is that the shopping experience – for example through surveys like on YouTube – is much more interactive. The fact that the creators are the focus is also new. These could only be two factors why the social commerce trend in China is already enjoying tremendous success. According to forecasts The live format alone is expected to generate sales of 300 billion US dollars in China in 2021.

It remains to be seen whether live stream shopping will also be so profitable for retailers and the platforms in Europe and the USA. You can find more information about the new live stream shopping features on YouTube here.

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