Why not? Everything else is becoming an e-commerce site.
According to a new report from Bloomberg, Google wants you to go shopping on YouTube.
What does that mean, exactly? I’ll go over it in this article.
The idea behind shopping on YouTube is to enable people to purchase products they see in review videos, unboxing videos, tutorials, and more.
Of course, YouTube is already a shopping destination. About half of consumers use videos to make purchasing decisions.
But in the future, Google wants to enable people to purchase items without even leaving the site. Just like they can do on Instagram right now.
That’s why Google is making some changes.
Bloomberg reports that Google is already gathering info about products featured in videos. The company is doing that by asking publishers to tag and track products in their clips.
Additionally, Bloomberg says that YouTube confirmed that it’s rolling out product-tagging features. They’re testing those enhancements in a limited number of channels.
YouTube also says that creators will have control over which products get tagged in videos.
Just an Experiment?
Another thing YouTube is saying: the whole project is just an experiment.
However, in the history of software development, plenty of great features start off as experiments. In other words, Google has to test it before they roll it out.
So of course it’s just an experiment.
But you can be sure if the experiment turns out well, YouTube will roll out the full feature set into production.
Google is also in the process of testing integration with Shopify. And yes, that integration will be used to sell products on YouTube.
But how will Google make money by offering shopping via video? Presumably, the company will take a cut of each transaction.
Additionally, Google will gather data throughout the shopping experience. Then, the Big G can use that data for shopping purposes.
For example, if people seem interested in videos selling treadmills, then the company can include those folks in an audience consisting of consumers who are likely to purchase a treadmill in the near future.
And then Google makes money off of that advertising and eventual purchases.
But how will publishers make money? That’s a more difficult question.
I’m guessing they’ll become affiliate marketers. In other words, they’ll take a commission for each product they sell.
Before they get to that point, though, they have to qualify to become affiliates. That’s often easier said than done for YouTube publishers who don’t have a huge following.
So if you’re interested in becoming a YouTube merchant, start building your following right now. Then, you’ll be in great shape if and when Google rolls out shopping via video.
Of course, you could also sell your own products on YouTube. Then you won’t have to worry about any kind of approval process.
A History of Shopping Integration
This isn’t the first time YouTube brought e-commerce into YouTube. Just last year, Google partnered with Merchbar to sell products via a bar underneath the video.
Although that gave publishers the ability to sell items, customers had to complete transactions on the Merchbar site.
YouTube also rolled out Shopping Actions last year. That also requires shoppers to visit a third-party site.
Wrapping It Up
It’s probably going to happen, but not any time soon.
If you’re looking forward to selling products on YouTube just in time for Christmas, you should probably prepare for disappointment. I don’t think it will happen that quickly.
Instead, look for a release next summer.