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YouTube to pilot test shopping from livestreams with select creators – TechCrunch

YouTube will begin piloting a new feature allowing viewers to shop for products directly from Livestream videos. The quality 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 often had to promote affiliate links to online stores through the video’s description or in-video elements, like cards or end screens. In recent years, YouTube also introduced a merch shelf that would allow viewers to shop specific products the creator selected.

Meanwhile, the integrated shopping experience allows viewers to shop for the products shown in the video by tapping on a “view products” button, which brings up a list of featured items. 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, startups like Bambuser, Popshop Live, Talkshoplive, Whatnot, and others have raised multimillion-dollar rounds to invest in their 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.

YouTube’s interest in this space has been heating up, as well, as just this week, the company announced it was acquiring Indian video shopping app Simsim — an indication of Google’s interest in further integrating video shopping experiences into its platform. Google also integrated video shopping into its Shopping search business, which included one effort from Shoploop, a video shopping product that graduated from Google’s in-house incubator, Area 120. The expansion of YouTube’s integrated video shopping experience was announced today alongside other new Google Shopping features, including adding a new section that organizes deals and sales on Google’s Shopping tab, which will be free for merchants who want to list.


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