Google wants YouTube to become a major ecommerce platform

How to make money on YouTube
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Google is reportedly planning to turn YouTube into a major ecommerce platform (opens in new tab) by allowing viewers to purchase the items they see showcased in unboxing and other videos from their favorite creators directly on the site.

As reported by Blomberg (opens in new tab), the world's largest video hosting (opens in new tab) site recently began asking creators to use YouTube's software to tag and track products featured in their videos. This data will then be linked to Google's analytics and shopping tools in an effort to make it easier for consumers to purchase items they've researched on the site.

The end goal of Google's YouTube ecommerce push is to convert the site's 5bn+ videos into a catalog that users can browse and buy directly from, according to people familiar with the situation. At the same time, the search giant is also currently testing a new integration with Shopify (opens in new tab) that will make it easier for creators to sell items through YouTube.

Bloomberg reached out to a YouTube spokesperson who confirmed that the company is currently testing these new features with a limited number of channels on the site. Under the plan, creators will have full control over which products are displayed on their videos but at this point the project is still an experiment.

Shopping on YouTube

By adding ecommerce features directly to YouTube, Google has a chance to take on the world's top ecommerce giants including Amazon (opens in new tab) in the US as well as China's Alibaba (opens in new tab). It is still unclear as to how the company will generate revenue from sales made through its video hosting site but the service did recently begin offering subscriptions to creators while taking a 30 percent cut.

During a recent earnings call, Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai suggested that product unboxing videos on YouTube could be the perfect shopping opportunity for viewers. There are also numerous makeup and cooking tutorials on YouTube where creators show off the latest commercial products.

Turning YouTube into an ecommerce site is not a new idea as last year, the site began testing a Shopify integration that allowed creators to list up to 12 items for sale on a digital carousel displayed below their videos.

We'll likely hear more once Google irons out all of the details but being able to buy items directly on YouTube could certainly bring a much needed boost to Google Shopping (opens in new tab) as the search giant tries to compete with Amazon and even Walmart in the online shopping space.

Via Blomberg (opens in new tab)

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.