YouTube in the US is kicking off the holiday shopping season with the Holiday Stream and Shop, a week’s worth of shoppable live streams from November 12 to 22.
The event will feature YouTube creators showing off new products and offering exclusive discounts. The Merrell Twins will kick start the week by presenting products on their wish list, including items from partners Walmart, Samsung and Verizon. Other participating creators include Patrick Starrr, Jackie Aina, Manny MUA, MrBeast, Gordon Ramsay and Donut Media.
Viewers can view new products and engage with creators and other viewers through real-time polls and Q&A sessions.
YouTube’s creators are at the heart of the experience, which aims to connect influencers to their fanbase in an authentic way while driving commerce through the platform.
“[YouTubers] are already creating videos organically [about] things that they're super interested in, whether it's technology or unboxing products or makeup and doing a how-to tutorial,” Bridget Dolan, YouTube’s head of shopping partnerships, told Campaign US.
And when creators talk, viewers are willing to open up their wallets. Seventy-five percent of viewers use YouTube for shopping inspiration, according to a study the platform conducted in partnership with Publicis and TalkShoppe. Additionally, 85% of viewers trust creators’ recommendations.
YouTube’s shoppable live streams are also appealing to brands, who are looking for ways to get into the social commerce sphere.
"We are always looking for opportunities to reach new and existing customers on the platforms where they are most actively engaged,” Tony Wells, chief media officer at Verizon, said in an email. “Partnering with YouTube on this shoppable livestream delivers an innovative and interactive experience that brings the products to life for customers. The event is the perfect opportunity to highlight Verizon as a destination for the most-wanted tech this holiday season and gives them a jump start on their shopping."
Ultimately, YouTube plans to use Holiday Stream and Shop as a test-drive for what the platform can accomplish in the future with e-commerce. According to Dolan, YouTube is “interently a shopping destination, and it always has been from day one,” but the platform has made a concerted effort to ramp up its shopping features over the past year.
Earlier this year, YouTube piloted live stream shopping with multiple creators. Simply Nailogical launched a nail polish collection on her Simply Not Logical channel; Raven Elyse sold products in partnership with Walmart; and Hyram launched his Selfless skincare line.
“We’re going into this with an open mind, and an appetite for learning,” Dolan added. “It’s this idea of offering a strong stage and opportunity, and then listening and learning.”