YouTube announced earlier this year it would begin pilot testing livestream shopping with a handful of select creators. Now, the company is ready for a larger test of its live shopping platform, with plans to host a week-long live shopping event, “YouTube Holiday Stream and Shop,” starting on November 15. The event will allow viewers to shop new products, unlock limited-time offers and engage with creators and other viewers via Q&As and polls, the company says.
The company first unveiled its plans to invest in live shopping at the beginning of 2021, as part of a larger initiative around integrated shopping on YouTube. The initial tests had been focused on videos on demand before the livestream pilot kicked off this summer.
Since then, a number of YouTube creators have tried out livestream shopping with their fans, including Simply Nailogical, who launched her nail polish collection to 2.8 million fans on her Simply Not Logical channel; Hyram, who launched his “Selfless” skincare line to his 4.5 million fans; and Raven Elyse, who ran a livestream shopping session where she sold products in partnership with Walmart. (Walmart had earlier experimented with live shopping on TikTok across multiple events.)
Other retailers also participated more directly, YouTube notes. Sephora hosted a live Q&A and Target ran a live style haul using the new features, for example.
The upcoming Stream and Shop event, which kicks off with the Merrell Twins, will also feature products from top retailers, including Walmart, Samsung and Verizon.
As part of its panel at Advertising Week, the company shared a few details from the research it has invested in to better understand the live shopping journey and how YouTube plays a role. In partnership with Publicis and TalkShoppe, YouTube’s study found that 75% of viewers used YouTube for shopping inspiration — for instance, by watching creators’ #ShopWithMe videos. It also found that 85% of viewers trust creators’ recommendations and that viewers valued information quality and quantity over the production value of the videos.
Despite the steps it’s been making toward livestream shopping, YouTube hasn’t yet made the feature broadly available. Instead, it’s continuing to test live shopping with individual creators.
In the meantime, however, rival TikTok has moved forward with live shopping features of its own.
Earlier this year, TikTok began piloting TikTok Shopping in the U.S., U.K. and Canada, in partnership with Shopify. At an event last month, the company said it was expanding shopping with new partners Square, Ecwid, PrestaShop, Wix, SHOPLINE, OpenCart and BASE. It also introduced a suite of solutions and features under the brand TikTok Shopping, which includes ways to integrate products into videos, ads and LIVE shopping support.
Facebook also ran its own series of live shopping events this spring and summer, and now offers dedicated live shopping sections inside both its Facebook and Instagram apps’ Shop sections.
YouTube plans to share more about its upcoming live shopping event as the date grows closer.