YouTube to rival Amazon by turning platform into massive shopping network

YouTube to rival Amazon by turning platform into massive shopping network

YouTube is reportedly testing out features that will allow viewers to purchase products directly from videos. The goal, according to a Bloomberg report, is to turn the platform into a major shopping destination to rival Amazon.

Some creators are already testing tools on YouTube that allow them to tag products featured in videos. The data from these videos can then be tracked to see how these products performed. With the tools in place, viewers will be able to click on products that appear in videos and purchase them right there.

In addition to its own tools, Google is reportedly testing ways to integrate Shopify, a turnkey online store provider, into its platform. YouTube apparently tested Shopify integration last year, allowing some creators to list as many as 12 items for sale on a digital carousel below their videos.

It’s unclear how YouTube plans to generate revenue from direct sales, but creators will seemingly get a percentage of any sale that’s made through the new initiative, allowing them to diversify revenue beyond ads. The whole initiative provides the platform as a whole to pivot into a space that one expert told Bloomberg is underutilized by YouTube.

YouTube has apparently thought about turning the platform into a shopping destination for a while, but was unable to execute it in the right way. With the pandemic, however, Bloomberg claims that falling marketing budgets combined with growing e-commerce interest has made the initiative a priority.

YouTube is already a $15 billion-a-year business, so opening it up to e-commerce has the potential to raise that figure to new heights. The platform is already filled with creators who promote products through affiliate links, including from Amazon, and it sounds like pretty soon viewers could purchase products directly from the platform, taking out the middleman (Amazon) altogether.

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Brandon Russell
Brandon Russell

Brandon's love of technology can be traced back to his childhood, when he would obsessively watch Back to the Future. Since then he's followed the industry and its many innovations, from handheld consoles to powerful smartphones. He's still waiting on a hoverboard.