YouTube partners with Shopify to expand social commerce tools

Major new pact opens Shopify commerce platform to 2 billion YouTube users, as Alphabet takes on both Amazon and TikTok in the new creator economy.

Shopify and YouTube have teamed up to launch YouTube Shopping, a new platform that  lets both retailers and creators sell to more consumers engaged on the popular video streaming platform.  

Shopify merchants can sell their full range of products on YouTube in three ways:

  • YouTube Live: Merchants can tag and pin products at key points during a livestream, and picture-in-picture playback means consumers can watch while they check out

  • On-demand videos: Merchants can show a curated list of products on a product shelf below on-demand videos

  • Store tab: A new tab will be added to a merchant’s YouTube channel, featuring their entire selection of products

The new channel gives merchants more ways to sell, sustainably monetise and build successful businesses, while still authentically connecting with fans and buyers.  

Shimona Mehta, Managing Director, Shopify EMEA comments: “YouTube has been integral in building the creator economy over the past decade, and Shopify has helped millions of merchants quickly start, run, grow, and manage storefronts. By partnering together, we’re accelerating the next evolution of social commerce by giving creators and merchants more ways to sustainably monetise and build successful businesses, while still authentically connecting with their fans and buyers.”

Going big on live commerce

The move signals a larger trend at play given China is seeing success in social commerce; debates continue over whether TikTok shop will continue to expand or not; and Pinterest are launching new features to make it easier for merchants to make their lifestyle ‘pins’ shoppable. Amazon also embraces Live Shopping as part of its latest Prime Day event.

The creator economy is booming and the bridge from content to commerce is getting shorter all the time. 

A movement of 50 million+ independent entrepreneurs, content creators, community builders and curators using social platforms to sell products and grow businesses, the creator economy is estimated to be worth $104.2bn globally. 

Shopify’s partnership with YouTube will expand the opportunity for independent brands in the creator economy, providing new ways for creators and merchants to meaningfully connect with their communities.

From mushroom farmers like GroCycle, football fan channels like The United Stand and fitness influencers like TeamRICHEY, UK YouTube creators are already tapping into live shopping through YouTube to engage, connect with and sell to their audiences. 

Mark Goldbridge, presenter for The United Stand, which has amassed a community of over a million football fans buying sporting merchandise, comments: “Ever since we started The United Stand seven years ago the most important thing to us has been our community and one of the best ways for our community to show their support and add an extra layer to their involvement with our channels is by purchasing and gifting the merchandise we sell through Shopify.

“Being a supporter of a channel like the United Stand means the world to us so that is why we are so grateful for every one of our amazing fans that buy a piece of merchandise from us as not only does it allow us to deepen the connection we have with our viewers but it also allows us to provide even great levels of content though the financial support it offer the channel." 

How Shopify works

Shopify acts as a merchant’s retail operating system, meaning product details including names, images, pricing, and shipping are kept up-to-date across channels.  

If a product sells out, it’s automatically removed from YouTube, and merchants can track performance of live and on-demand videos directly from their Shopify admin, with a full view of multichannel sales.

David Katz, VP of Shopping Product at YouTube, said: “For years, creators have built businesses around their YouTube content, often extending their entrepreneurship into building their own brands, but it hasn’t been as seamless to reach their audience with these products directly on YouTube. We’re excited to partner with Shopify to help creators easily bring their stores front and centre for their communities on YouTube, who are increasingly turning to them to shop.” 

Paul Rogers, Managing Director at Ecommerce Consultancy Vervaunt adds: "The level of adoption in other countries shows there is a huge interest from consumers in shopping video content, which in my opinion makes Live Shopping and Social Commerce in general a very promising new channel for ecommerce. Live Shopping connects merchants to consumers in a novel way and helps foster a relationship. We’re looking forward to seeing how UK merchants will use this new opportunity for their future success.”

View the new YouTube Shopping platfrom here