YouTube has announced the creator lineup for its first live shopping event next week, as it lays out a larger vision for on-platform shopping, which is being shaped by new global managing director for YouTube Shopping Bridget Dolan.
YouTube’s first event touting its ecommerce tools, the Holiday Stream & Shop, kicks off on Nov. 15. During the weeklong event, creators will be selling new products at special discounts from their own brands. Participants include Donut Media, Gordon Ramsay, Patrick Starrr, Jackie Aina (pictured above), Manny MUA, and MrBeast.
That said, the event will kick off on Monday with The Merrell Twins hosting a sponsored gift guide of sorts in partnership with Samsung, Verizon, and Walmart.
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While creator-founded brands are at the heart of YouTube’s shopping ambitions, Dolan tells Tubefilter, the company also envisions helping brands and retailers sell their wares in collaboration with creators (who could then be compensated for their participation in shoppable content).
As for whether YouTube will take a cut of sales, Dolan said that the company is “in the process of figuring out all of the aspects of monetization and how we build this business model.”
A gradual, global rollout
The Holiday Stream & Shop marks the mainstage debut of YouTube’s shopping tools, which it began rolling out in February. These tools enable product pop-ups on VOD and live content, from which viewers can browse and even checkout without leaving the platform.
YouTube is rolling out these shopping tools in waves to hundreds of mid-sized creators in the beauty and tech verticals in the U.S., India, and Brazil, Dolan tells Tubefilter. The company has also prioritized creators whose channels lend themselves to commerce. Until the holiday event, YouTube hasn’t opted to work with its biggest stars, she says, given it’s still working out the kinks.
“We wanted to shine a light on some of our biggest and brightest creators and give them this opportunity for the holidays,” Dolan says of Stream & Shop. “Overarchingly, the idea is to bring viewers unique products that they’ll have early access to, and the feeling like they’re along for the ride — that they’re part of an experience with a creator that they love for the holiday.”
YouTube will continue to roll out its shopping tools to more creators and product categories, with the goal of making shopping a self-service feature available to all.
A soon-to-launch ‘/Shopping’ discovery hub
Dolan joined YouTube in August after a 20-year tenure at Sephora, where she worked in digital marketing, social media and video — at the intersection of technology and retail, she says. At YouTube, she works alongside VP of product management David Katz, who joined the company in June after having served as the chief product officer for fintech company AfterPay.
Going forward, the company is assembling a Shopping team that is focused around three main pillars, Dolan says: making all video shoppable whenever possible, taking live to the next level in terms of production value, and getting relevant video recommendations within shoppable video.
“We internally talk about it as shop-a-tainment,” Dolan says. “How do we help people shop — but really add that entertainment value that that these YouTube creators are so great at producing day in and day out.”
Another part of the plan, which will debut during the holiday event, is YouTube.com/Shopping. The new landing page — not unlike the dedicated page that YouTube operates for fashion content — will host the event, and then eventually come to serve as a discovery hub for all shoppable video going forward.
Building the /Shopping destination is part of the company’s next-year roadmap, Dolan said.