YouTube will begin pilot testing a new feature that will allow viewers to shop for products directly from Livestream videos. The part will initially launch with just a handful of creators and brands. The company says an expansion of the integrated shopping experience YouTube began beta testing earlier this year.
That feature was designed only for on-demand videos and allowed viewers to tap into the “credibility and knowledge” of trusted creators to make informed purchases, the company explained at the time. It said it would roll out to more creators throughout 2021.
More recently, YouTube tested live streamed shopping with a one-day shopping event focused on small businesses.
For years, YouTube’s video platform has been a powerful tool for product discovery, as its more than 2 billion logged-in users per month turn to the service to watch product reviews, demos, unboxings, shopping hauls, and other content that could inspire future purchases. But creators who wanted to sell from their YouTube videos would often have to promote affiliate links to online stores through the video’s description or in-video elements, like cards or end screens.
In more recent years, YouTube also introduced a merch shelf that would allow viewers to shop a set of specific products the creator selected.
Meanwhile, the integrated shopping experience allows viewers to shop the products shown in the video itself by tapping on a “view products” button, which brings up a list of the items being featured.
This feature allows YouTube to better compete with the growing number of video shopping experiences from startups and competitors, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Amazon, and Snapchat. Many of those include support for Livestream videos, too.
Over the past year, for example, startups like Bambuser, Popshop Live, Talkshoplive, Whatnot, and others have raised multimillion-dollar rounds to invest in their own live video shopping businesses. Meanwhile, Facebook recently launched Live Shopping Fridays to test live shopping within the beauty, fashion, and skincare space. And Walmart has partnered with TikTok on Livestream shopping events on multiple occasions.