The partnership will help content creators move merchandise to over 2 billion monthly users.
Last week, YouTube announced a new formal partnership with Shopify with the purpose of helping Shopify merchants sell directly through the world’s most popular video website. As more and more digital content creators and social media influencers are beginning to launch their own eCommerce websites, Shopify aims to cater specifically to this new and bountiful market. This pairing stems from a previous existing partnership between the Canadian eCommerce platform provider and YouTube’s parent company Google from May 2021. YouTube was purchased by Google back in October 2006.
YouTube states that through Shopify, creators will be able to display products throughout their channels, like below videos, or during livestreams. Inventory will sync with the Shopify backend and viewers will be able to check if items go out-of-stock in real time. In addition to enabling on-site checkout for US-based creators, YouTube will also allow viewers to purchase products directly on the platform without leaving the site. Beginning this week, YouTube will also add a shopping destination to its Explore tab, which displays shoppable content for US, Brazilian, and Indian users.
Besides livestream shopping, YouTube is expanding tools to all eligible creators that allow them to tag products during livestreams. Several platforms, including TikTok, Facebook, Pinterest, and eBay, have introduced similar features in other regions, hoping live shopping will stick. However, this trend is yet to be seen in Europe and the US where it is severely lacking behind other places in the world. Even TikTok, which is able to promote product recommendations and have them sell out overnight, is scaling back its efforts in both Europe and the US as a result.
Google wants YouTube to evolve from a source of entertainment to a major player in eCommerce; they want users to look to YouTube as the avenue in which to purchase and where to purchase. The new features offered by YouTube and Shopify attempt to make this process as seamless and unobtrusive as possible. But this partnership with Shopify is not exclusive. Google wishes to branch out and offer these services to other eCommerce platforms; joining with Shopify just happened to be the first step but the hope between the two that it will be beneficial for both parties.
Shopify VS Amazon
Shopify has been on a tear lately as the company attempts to dethrone Amazon as the current reigning king of eCommerce. The initial May 2021 announcement saw Shopify team up with Google to help over 1.7 small and medium sized businesses on Shopify’s platform expand their customer reach through the use of Google’s services. Through Google, Shopify store owners can now sell their products through Google’s 1 billion ‘shopping journeys’ including Google Search, Google Maps, Google Images, and Google Lens.
On March 9th, 2022, Shopify and Shippo launched their new Shippo for Platforms integration. Together, Shopify and Shippo will provide users with both end-to-end shipping solutions and best-in-class carrier rates within the Shopify platform. As part of its partnership with Shippo, Shopify will also offer Shopify Shipping in select European markets; Euro Shopify merchants will now have direct access to shipping.
Also, Affirm became Shopify’s exclusive credit provider during the depths of the COVID pandemic in July 2020. At the time, Amazon did not have the option for multiple buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) outside of their own Prime service (on select items and item categories) and was at a considerable disadvantage over non-Amazon retailers who had such programs in place. This move was countered by Amazon with one of its own. Affirm and Shopify already had a partnership, however, Affirm partnered with Amazon on April 21st, 2022, when Amazon launched Buy with Prime. Whether or not they sell in Amazon’s marketplace, including Whole Foods and retailers who participate in Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, Buy with Prime promises third-party online merchants experience Amazon Prime’s benefits (expedited free delivery, easy returns, seamless checkout experience, etc.).
Other Post-Pandemic Ventures
Noting the increase in ad spend from small and medium businesses (SMBs) during the pandemic, both Shopify and Google took notice and began to court these independent companies. The pandemic also led Shopify to take on a new focused B2B initiative and earlier in June, the eCommerce software company unveiled a new array of tools designed to help Shopify merchants sell directly to other businesses.
Shopify also answered the demand for crypto payments and in May of this year, teamed up with Singapore’s Crypto.com to provide cryptocurrency payment options for Shopify merchants and customers. The partnership between Shopify and Crypto.com is not the company’s first venture into the world of cryptocurrencies.
Shopify and Strike partnered in April to enable Shopify stores in the US to receive Bitcoin payments faster and more efficiently through the Lightning Network. With low-cost payment processing services offered by Shopify, it hopes to expand into untapped markets and segments. In December 2021, Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke announced the company was entering the NFT market by allowing its sellers to mint and sell NFTs on its platform.