YouTube & Shopify: Video selling [.blue]is here![.blue]

September 21, 2022

min read

From cooking cats and screaming goats, to a 10-hour looped clip of Gandalf head banging to saxophone music, there’s not much you can’t find on YouTube. 

When this online video giant was just a few months old, its users were reportedly consuming the equivalent of an entire Blockbuster store each month. Today, 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, making it the world’s second most-visited site after its parent company, Google. And Blockbuster? Well… Blockbuster has become nothing more than a footnote in the pages of history. 

Video content revolution

YouTube was originally created to allow anyone to upload, share, and view any video content they desired without restriction. It is now a destination of its own, having put an end to an era of passively consuming the limited content that traditional TV broadcasters and channels provide. YouTube has evolved into a sophisticated platform with a premium subscription model and live video features that supplement its traditional legacy video hosting capabilities. Its success lies in harnessing users’ creativity, whilst democratising content creation and consumption, thus nurturing active audiences with greater choice. 

In fact, there is such a broad range of content to choose from on YouTube that it’s no wonder the site’s usage is high. YouTube now has over 1.7 billion unique monthly visitors, which makes sense considering 92% of internet users watch some kind of video content online each week. Unsurprisingly, it is the digital native 18- to 34-year-olds that use YouTube the most, constituting approximately 35% of global usage. The influence of YouTube on young people is such that it is used by 95% of teens, many of whom prefer it over traditional TV programmes and frequently use it as a source of news.

The elephant in the room

It’s impossible to talk about YouTube without mentioning the elephant in the room: TikTok. With TikTok reaching one billion monthly active users in just 5 years, YouTube gained a mighty competitor in the online video space. Both platforms boast huge user bases and are constantly competing for our attention. Whilst it can be argued that we only have the attention span for short-form video content, it is clear from the figures that there is still plenty of appetite for what YouTube has to offer. You can find videos designed to entertain, but you can also find educational videos or even full-length films and TV programmes.

For viewers, the broader range of content available on YouTube facilitates a better experience, as you’re not restricted to specific content with a time limit. TikTok only caters to one type of audience, and it isn’t enough to better YouTube. Moreover, platforms like TikTok need to work harder to incentivise creators – none have yet done so to the scale and success that YouTube has with its 2.6 billion global users and a robust, long-established monetisation programme that is incredibly appealing to creators and influencers alike. As it stands, YouTube creators currently out-earn TikTok influencers each year. 

Tapping into social commerce

As well as transforming video content consumption, YouTube was among the first online platforms to fundamentally change our shopping habits. We all know of shoppers that have stumbled across a product they didn’t know they needed or wanted, simply because they saw someone on YouTube using and/or recommending it – perhaps you are that shopper! The magical moment of finding something that fits your needs perfectly used to be common in brick-and-mortar stores, but now this happens more often on the world’s biggest video storefront.

Indeed, 75% of shoppers agree that YouTube enhances the traditional shopping journey by delivering unexpected inspiration. It is thought that this is due to consumers having a shopping discovery mindset when they’re watching videos, helped along by the sheer volume of content that is available for them to explore. The inspiration to shop can lead to bigger carts and upsells, with 87% of consumers saying that when shopping or browsing on YouTube, they feel they can make a decision to purchase or not purchase faster. Music to any brand’s ears! 

One could argue that YouTube ultimately paved the way for TikTok Shop to begin capitalising on social commerce opportunities. The launch of TikTok Shopping through a Shopify partnership has huge potential for online retailers and creators, who can sell products directly to users via in-feed TikTok videos, LIVEs, and the product showcase tab, creating a frictionless, in-app shopping experience. 

Not to be outdone by its biggest rival, YouTube has also partnered with Shopify to bring YouTube Shopping to users, supporting purchases without the need to leave the platform. Eligible YouTube creators that link their Shopify store can display their products across their channel in the following ways:


  • Livestreams – Creators can tag and pin products at specific points during a livestream. Picture-in-picture playback means shoppers can continue watching the livestream while they check out. 
  • Videos – Creators can show a curated list of products in a “product shelf” below or at the end of on-demand videos.
  • Store tab – A new tab will be added to a creator’s YouTube channel, featuring their entire selection of products.

Partnering with YouTube is just one of many strategic moves that Shopify has made in a bid to revitalise the company’s future following a decline in growth after the COVID-19 boom. Shopify appears to be placing even more emphasis on creating deeper connections between merchants and consumers, with social commerce firmly in its sights as an effective means to do that. With the value of global social commerce sales predicted to reach £2.5 billion by 2026, it’s easy to see how leveraging the power of the social media giants could pay off for Shopify and, in turn, the eCommerce brands that use the platform to sell their products. 

Multi-channel selling is a must

There’s no doubt that YouTube has created a unique relationship between creator and viewer, fostering trust that helps to inform viewers’ online purchase decisions. Indeed, 89% of viewers agree that YouTube creators give recommendations they can trust. With additional YouTube Shopping features expected to roll out across more regions in the coming months – and with most consumers now using online videos for product discovery, research, and recommendation – it makes sense for YouTube to align with this shift, whilst also fending off another potential challenge from TikTok.

For eCommerce brands, the importance of selling on multiple channels – including social media platforms like YouTube – is becoming increasingly clear. However, any online brand’s multi-channel selling strategy should be backed by a reliable fulfilment solution in order to drive sales, revenue, and continued customer loyalty. For fast-growing businesses looking to simplify their eCommerce operations, it can be extremely beneficial to partner with a trusted 3PL provider like Zendbox, who is highly experienced in delivering an award-winning fulfilment experience that keeps customers returning to their store.

Discover how Zendbox can integrate with your sales channels to take responsibility for your eCommerce fulfilment. Get started with our friendly team today.

Micah George
Marketing Specialist at Zendbox

Micah assists in developing and implementing innovative marketing campaigns that promote the products and services at Zendbox. She also produces articles, eBooks and other useful resources to help online retailers optimise their eCommerce operations and grow their business.

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