Step aside Quality Value Convenience (QVC) channel, social media is revolutionizing in-home shopping! Last week, YouTube and Canada's virtual storefront giant, Shopify, announced a collaboration that allows content creators to thrive in this constantly expanding digital economy.
Building on the success of “shoppable” ads on YouTube, the decision to integrate online stores supercharges direct-to-consumer (D2C) efforts from content creators and small business operators to bigger brands and business ventures that want to sell products directly to consumers.
When fully integrated, YouTubers who are already approved for monetization will be able to integrate their Shopify stores in live streams, videos, and with some markets allowing for in-platform checkouts, making it easier for their customers to buy merchandise without leaving the platform.
In the near future, YouTube will also introduce a feature that will allow consumers to discover virtual storefronts and purchase items from an “Explore” tab in markets across the U.S., Brazil, and India, with plans to extend this feature to more markets.
This could be a goldmine for established content creators with years and years of experience in monetizing their content and brand. Additionally, organizations such as those in the entertainment or advocacy space can also take advantage of this feature to expand their income streams while maximizing their reach to new audiences with branded merchandise.
With D2C offerings from competing platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest where products sell-out at a neck-breaking pace, YouTube’s decision to make purchases easier on the platform will no doubt reward entrepreneurial content creators who are able to effectively recreate their brand and voice into a consumable product.
An eMarketer study from this year found that only 14.4% of survey respondents said YouTube’s platform drove them to purchase during a live stream event compared with 15.8% for TikTok, 45.8% for Instagram, and 57.8% for Facebook. With this collaboration, YouTube can potentially increase its market share to compete with Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook if it successfully leverages its over two billion logged-in monthly users.
What's next for content creators
Make no mistake, this will not be an easy road for content creators looking to capitalize on their subscriber base. In a post-COVID virtual community where consumers are constantly raising expectations, content creators must be prepared to meet these high expectations by offering value and unique experiences.
Additionally, new virtual storefront owners on YouTube will have to comply with the minimum verification and eligibility requirements for YouTube Shopping before they can integrate their Shopify stores. Content creators must be able to plan and organize their stores to avoid hiccups within the customer’s purchasing journey. We also expect that advocacy style content and products to be heavily examined if not regulated in this space, given the rise in the polarization in political rhetoric around the world.
A few decades ago, QVC revolutionized the in-home shopping experience from catalogues to televised shopping. Now, the monetization on social media platforms will change how we shop—both for consumers and content creators alike.
One thing is for certain, the collaboration between YouTube and Shopify not only creates economic opportunities for content creators but the race to perfect content and shopping integration among platforms could very well set the standard for online shopping and D2C marketing as Web 3.0 comes around the corner.
While possibilities with this new feature are boundless, it's important to consider if merchandising is indeed the right choice for you and your brand. With the help of NATIONAL's digital communications and advocacy experts, clients can navigate emerging trends as they unfold and stay ahead of the curve in revolutionizing how they interact with the people who matter most.
——— Chloé Letellier is a former Senior Consultant at NATIONAL Public Relations