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YouTube Outlines Plans to Bring Live-Stream Shopping to All Users

Live-stream shopping has become a key focus for social apps, with Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest all running their own shopping live-streams with high-profile creators as they seek to maximize their respective commerce potential.

YouTube is also looking to get in, with a series of upcoming shopping live-streams for the holidays that will enable viewers to interact with influencers and celebrities in real-time, while also facilitating direct shopping in-app.

And today, YouTube has provided some more insight into its longer-term ambitions for live-stream shopping, which YouTube hopes will eventually “allow anyone with a mobile device and a product to easily host a live shopping stream”.

In an interview on the YouTube blog, Wendy Yang and Lax Poojary, product designers working on YouTube Shopping, have provided some notes on the platform’s evolving shopping processes, and how they’re planning to advance the platform’s live-stream commerce initiatives.

YouTube Live Shopping

The main idea of live-stream shopping is to provide an extension of existing user behaviors, with influencers already recommending products and creators within their uploads already, often through endorsement deals and paid partnerships. Given this is already common practice, live-stream commerce simply builds on the same.

As Yang notes:

“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.”

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Yang also notes that 87% of people say they get the highest quality information about products when shopping or browsing on YouTube.

YouTubers are now trusted voices for many, especially younger viewers who are just as aligned to YouTube stars as they are to traditional media celebrities. As such, the connection between in-stream recommendations and buying makes sense, with live-streams providing a more immediate linkage between the two.

But it goes further than that. The rise of eCommerce over the past year has opened new doors, which will facilitate significantly more digital browsing and buying this holiday season and beyond. Which is where YouTube sees ongoing, and expanding opportunity.

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.”

As you can see in the above examples, YouTube’s looking to build in more functionality and interactive capacity to improve the live-stream buying experience, with a view, eventually, to enabling all users to create their own shopping streams.

That will provide more opportunity for more creators to monetize their products via streams, with the immediate, interactive capacity of live broadcasts helping to increase the FOMO-factor and build community around certain brands and creators.

YouTube will be looking to play a key role within this, with its initial slate of live-stream shopping events set to provide more insight into what users want to see in these streams, and which features creators find most useful.

It could be a significant development, which could facilitate significant opportunity in future.

You’ll be able to view YouTube’s upcoming live shopping events

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