YouTube is set to expand its e-commerce capabilities with the introduction of new shopping features on YouTube Shorts, as reported by the Financial Times and TechCrunch. These features include affiliate marketing and the option to purchase items directly through Shorts, offering creators additional monetization opportunities.
The video-sharing platform is currently testing these shopping features with creators in the US, India, Brazil, Canada, and Australia. Influencers will be able to tag their products in Shorts, allowing viewers to make purchases. Alongside this, an affiliate marketing program is being introduced for select US influencers, with YouTube, the creator, and the merchant each receiving a portion of the sales revenue.
Although YouTube has not yet commented on these developments, it is evident that e-commerce is becoming an increasingly attractive area for platforms that rely on advertising revenue. Competitors of Shorts, such as TikTok, are also looking to expand their e-commerce offerings.
The announcement of YouTube’s new shopping features comes shortly after TikTok unveiled similar capabilities. TikTok recently began testing its Shop program, allowing users to buy products directly within the app. This feature was previously available in the UK and parts of Southeast Asia, and the company plans to continue integrating shopping into its app. TikTok is also considering the construction of fulfillment centers in the US to handle customer service, warehousing, and returns as part of its Shop program.
The addition of affiliate marketing and other shopping features could make YouTube more appealing to content creators as it competes with TikTok. The company has shown that it is willing to invest in this area, as demonstrated by its decision in September to give 45% of ad revenue to Shorts creators while retaining the remaining portion. The integration of e-commerce capabilities into YouTube Shorts not only benefits creators but also strengthens the platform’s position in the market as it seeks to capitalize on the growing intersection of social media and online shopping.