Late Night YouTube Shopping

Back in 2015, YouTube introduced its TrueView for Shopping, which allows viewers to shop for products directly from its corresponding video. A card is displayed on the screen of the retailer’s video, usually at the top right-hand corner, displaying the name of the product. People can click on the card to view or order the product–as well as all related products—pulled from the Google Merchant Center product feeds of the advertiser. This integration may be responsible for the sudden increase in ecommerce video production and distribution. It may also be the very thing that turns ecommerce video from merely a marketing medium to a brand new sales channel.


Tubular Insights dived deep into a 2014 Future of Retail study conducted by Walker Sands Communications. Titled “Reinventing Retail,” the report contained, among other things, a survey of 1,046 consumers asked about their past spending behaviors and future spending preferences. Tubular Insights zeroed in on one particularly interesting statistic; 53% of consumers purchased a product at least once thanks to a YouTube video.

Not a specific marketing video or ad either, no. They were influenced by a simple product video on YouTube. What does this mean for marketers? Several things. Content marketing, for one, is stronger than we may have initially thought. It lacks the in-your-face, buy-this-now format that advertisements have, which is probably why it’s so appealing to casual consumers and viewers.

Video content is particularly consumable, which may be the biggest reason why viewers have been led to purchase through them. Showcasing the product through video is both unassuming and highly effective, seeing as it gives potential customers an unscripted example of how the product can serve them in real life.


Ecommerce video production may have given rise to this era’s most customizable virtual shopping assistant. A 2014 survey—conducted by Google this time, not Walker Sands—revealed that people turn to online videos for research on a product their looking to buy. Most of them now consider their smartphones to be their own personal shopping assistant. Another study by Google, this time about in-store shopping experiences, reveals that one in every three shoppers will consult with their smartphone instead of asking a saleslady or store employee.


More statistics from Google only serve to support the idea that the future of retail rests on ecommerce videos. Search data for July to September 2014 shows that a third of all shopping searches happen between 10:00 PM and 4:00 AM. In other words, retail therapy no longer has closing hours. Today’s avid shopper has a whole shopping mall’s worth of items available at their fingerprints, with sites like YouTube and Pinterest as the (very attractive) window displays. Bonus; the mall never closes.

Google’s Industry Development Manager Beth Thomas summarizes it quite nicely; “we’ve gone from midnight snacking to midnight shopping.” Whether it’s via smartphone or laptop, today’s consumers are following their friends and influencers up until the wee hours of the night, and they want to have what their influencers have. With YouTube videos now as interactive as a website’s checkout page, it’s easier than ever to achieve it. It may seem odd thinking that ecommerce video production could soon follow the format of haul videos, makeup videos, and fashion videos, but if the data is anything to go off of, these formats may very well soon become the norm.

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