For over a decade, links to purchase the products showcased in beauty influencers’ YouTube videos were relegated to the video caption. That era has come to an end, thanks to a recent Shopify integration that is the latest of YouTube’s social shopping initiatives.
Shopify and YouTube announced its partnership on July 19, allowing eligible creators to add shoppable product links through videos, livestreams and a store tab. The partnership is the most recent in Shopify’s social shopping platform integrations, as well as part of YouTube’s push to embed shopping within the site. As key drivers of product sales on YouTube, beauty influencers are key to this strategy.
Christen Dominique is the first beauty influencer in the pilot program, using it exclusively for her beauty brand Dominique Cosmetics. She did her first video with a shoppable list this week.
“It’s great because it’s super easy to engage with my followers and get them to instantly, easily grab the products that I’m talking about and visually see them and purchase them,” said Dominique.
For videos, creators can create a product “shelf” below their videos for users to click and purchase. On livestreams, links can be pinned in the video as the host is discussing a product. Creators and brands can also keep their entire product selection in an online store on their YouTube channel. In the U.S., shoppers can check out directly on YouTube.
The integration also means that product details will be automatically populated in product descriptions on YouTube. When a product’s product name, image, pricing or shipping information is changed on the Shopify backend, the changes will show up on the YouTube product description. Automatic removal from YouTube shops will occur when products sell out. On the Shopify side, merchants are able to view metrics on sales from YouTube videos on their shop admin page.
Shopify has been increasing its social shopping partnerships, announcing a new integration with Twitter in June 2022. In June 2019, it partnered with Snapchat for ads integration. Instagram Shopping also allows sellers to connect Shopify product listings to their business profiles.
According to a YouTube representative, the new integration is part of the rising power of content for sales and “blurring the line between merchant and creator.” David Katz, vp of shopping product at YouTube, said in the announcement release that, prior to this partnership, ”it hasn’t been as seamless” for creators to “reach their audience with these products directly on YouTube.”
YouTube has been rapidly pushing to develop commerce capabilities, with beauty a key component of that strategy. Last month, the platform used its annual YouTube Beauty Festival as the moment to unveil its shoppable livestreaming feature.
Dominique described the social shopping landscape as “totally different” from when she first started as a YouTube beauty influencer. “It’s definitely going to help small business owners or anybody who has a business that also is a content creator,” she said.