YouTube and Shopify launch game-changing ecommerce partnership

YouTube Shopping will enable retailers and creators to sell to consumers during livestreams and across their channels, revolutionising the social shopping game.

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Ask any online merchant, brand, or influencer which digital platform they would love the functionality to sell on, and you’ll find YouTube at the top of their wishlist.

Well, now that wish has become a reality, thanks to an exciting new partnership between Shopify and YouTube’s parent company, Google, announced earlier today.

The Shopify partnership will enable YouTube’s 2 billion monthly users to shop while they watch videos from their favourite brands and influencers.

Discussing the partnership, Shimona Mehta, managing director of Shopify EMEA, says:

“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.”

What this means for ecommerce businesses

Thanks to the new partnership, Shopify merchants will now have the functionality to integrate their online store with YouTube, selling to consumers through a variety of avenues, including:

  • YouTube Live – video creators can tag and pin products at key points during live streams, with consumers even able to continue watching the stream whilst they make their purchase
  • Store tab – consumers can now access a merchant’s entire product catalogue through a new tab that will be available on the brands YouTube channel
  • On-demand videos – businesses can now display a list of products on a ‘product shelf’ below on-demand video

youtube shopping live stream

The news will be particularly welcomed by brands such as gin distillery Jim & Tonic, which has a huge following on YouTube, yet can’t sell its products on other social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook due to certain alcohol restrictions.

Chris Godwin, head of marketing at Jim and Tonic, says that selling on YouTube will be the perfect solution for alcoholic beverage businesses.

“YouTube will be an ideal sales channel for us considering we put a lot of energy into creating popular recipe videos and reels, which get tens of thousands of views.

YouTube will be an ideal sales channel for us considering we put a lot of energy into creating popular recipe videos and reels, which get tens of thousands of views.

“For food and drink brands, it would be a logical next step for YouTube to allow brands and channel owners to tag and sell products during their videos.”

And because Shopify acts as a merchant’s retail operating system, product details including pricing and shipping are seamlessly kept up-to-date across channels. So, if you change your pricing or promote a deal on your core store inventory, these changes will automatically show on YouTube, too.

Merchants can also track performance directly from their Shopify admin, much like when they sell on already integrated platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.

To find out more information about Shopify’s multi-channel capabilities, visit our review of the Shopify ecommerce platform.

How to ‘set up shop’ on YouTube

Shopify has made it simple for merchants to get selling on YouTube. All you need to do is follow these steps, and you’ll be converting to your loyal YouTube followers in no time.

  1. Install the Google channel in the Shopify app store
  2. Connect your YouTube account in the YouTube Shopping section of the Google channel
  3. Choose the products you want to feature on your YouTube channel – consider these carefully and start out with your bestsellers
  4. Add products to your YouTube videos via clicking on Monetisation > Shopping

The importance of multi-channel selling

The power of selling across platforms such as YouTube should not be underestimated, particularly when the creator economy is estimated to be worth $104.2 billion globally.

Tony Preedy, managing director of online marketplace Fruugo, believes that independent sellers can remain competitive during a cost of living crisis, by expanding their marketplaces and selling on a variety of platforms. He says:

“The challenges over the last few years have highlighted the danger of only having one digital platform or route to market. For independent retailers to take advantage of cross-border transactions, they need to focus on generating more reach and visibility for their products by increasing the number of marketplaces where their product range can be discovered and purchased.”

According to recent stats from a survey of 2,000 consumers conducted by marketing platform Emarsys, 23% of consumers surveyed have used Facebook marketplace at least once to purchase a product, while 11% have used Instagram.

With the support of one of the largest ecommerce platforms on earth, YouTube Shopping could soon rival Meta’s platforms for online shopping.

Written by:
Ross has been writing for Startups since 2021, specialising in telephone systems, digital marketing, payroll, and sustainable business. He also runs the successful entrepreneur section of the website. Having graduated with a Masters in Journalism, Ross went on to write for Condé Nast Traveller and the NME, before moving in to the world of business journalism. Ross has been involved in startups from a young age, and has a keen eye for exciting, innovative new businesses. Follow him on his Twitter - @startupsross for helpful business tips.

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