Google Might be Planning to Turn YouTube Into an E-Commerce Giant
Google might soon leverage its video streaming giant YouTube for venturing into e-commerce. Every gadget, toy, food item, apparel you see on YouTube could soon be purchased straight from the video, according to a recent report. A report in Bloomberg has said that YouTube is asking creators to use YouTube's software to tag products featured in their videos. The data will then be linked to analytics and shopping tools from Google.
The report says that YouTube is also testing a new integration with Canadian e-commerce platform Shopify. It also quoted a YouTube spokesperson as saying that the company is testing these features with a limited number of YouTube channels. The spokesperson also told the channel that creators will have control over the products that are displayed in their videos. This move has the potential of turning YouTube into a huge e-commerce contender such as Amazon and Facebook.
It is not known how YouTube will generate revenue from selling products, but the Bloomberg report says that YouTube has begun offering subscriptions for creators and takes a 30 percent cut from those payments.
Google executives have, for months signaled at YouTube being used as the center of their e-commerce strategy. The Bloomberg report also quoted Google CEO Sundar Pichai as earlier saying that YouTube’s sea of popular product “unboxing” videos could be turned into a massive shopping opportunity. The video site is full of other popular categories, like apparel, automotive, and jewellery.
In July, Google also announced a plan to lure merchants to Google Shopping, its online store, which also included an integration with Shopify. Late last year, YouTube began testing a similar Shopify integration for creators. The tool allowed creators to list as many as 12 items on a carousel below their videos.
Google has not really seen success in the e-commerce sector. The company has instead preferred to sell ads that send people to other stores, not sell the products itself. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has made things worse, as e-commerce has boomed with people staying home and ordering more products online. Other tech giants like Facebook and Amazon have seen sales soar via their platforms in the past few months and Google has been watching from the sidelines.
Facebook has leveraged its social media platform and Instagram as hotbeds of online shopping. We believe that YouTube will use a feature similar to Instagram's shopping option that lets users purchase items tagged in a post.