This Week in eCommerce, July 5, 2021

Brittany Blackman
Jul 1, 2021

YouTube Small Biz Day

YouTube has launched a new event as part of International Small Business Week, which showcased how SMBs are making use of YouTube for promotion. The event will also introduce a new live shopping experience on the platform, featuring a range of selected fashion, beauty and food businesses.

The insights and workshops provided will be focused on creating “engaging” YouTube videos for businesses and how to showcase sellers’ products on video in this creative workshop. In particular, the event showcased skills of major interest to social media marketers and those looking to use YouTube for business promotion.

YouTube is taking a page out of TikTok’s (massively successful) book, by utilizing live virtual shopping events. If the experiment works out, and users have a good experience with live-stream YouTube shopping, it could potentially normalize the feature, making it a more widely used “first choice” to a lot of consumers. Eventually, the goal is to allow all channels the ability to create their own live shopping experience, with purchase options available in-stream. 

Sound familiar? 

YouTube may have borrowed the live-stream shopping experience from TikTok, but they’re also peeping at Instagram's tagging strategies. The company is developing more advanced eCommerce connection tools in alignment with videos, like product listings beneath video ads and the option for creators to tag products within video clips. 

At this point, consumers are used to these types of ads.

What else is on the horizon for YouTube based off of the event? The ability to automatically tag products in videos based on object identification, a highly sought after feature. This could very well transition YouTube into an eCommerce powerhouse, giving viewers the capacity to see an item, then make a purchase, in-stream and direct.

TikTok Rolls Out ‘Jumps’

TikTok is launching a brand new feature that will let users embed mini apps, called Jumps, into their videos. 

The Verge points out that Jumps work in the way that if someone is making a cooking video, they could embed a link to the recipe app Whisk, which would allow viewers to pull up a recipe sheet inside of TikTok with the tap of a button. Easy peasy. Creators can also link to third-party owned mini-programs and services from their video clips, including recipes, quizzes, and more.

This launch may seem a tad familiar, since it’s very similar to Snapchat's recent expansion of its developer tools to facilitate support for third-party apps within Spotlight, which acts as its own version of TikTok.

TikTok has been privately testing Jumps for the past few months, but it’s now rolling out to a wider group. During the beta period, TikTok worked with a select group of companies to develop Jumps, including Whisk, Quizlet, and Tabelog

TikTok also said that companies like BuzzFeed and IRL will have Jumps coming soon, and it’s opening up applications for developers who want to create their own experiences.

The company is also giving more developer access to its Jumps creation program, which could help TikTok add in more engaging tools, while also giving developers a means to promote their own apps to its ever-expanding audience. Which, again, is similar to the strategy that Snap is using. 

Renee Vafa, director of social strategy at Reprise Digital, said Jumps could also let advertisers more easily measure “actions taken in-app” as Apple restricts access to third-party data.

Like most new TikTok features, Jumps is currently being tested among aselect group of popular creators having the ability to embed a Jump into their videos, but said it will be rolling out the feature after more testing.

Facebook will expand Shops to WhatsApp and Marketplace

Facebook sure does love making it easy to buy stuff on their platform. While Instagram Shops and Facebook Marketplace are already displayed front and center on the apps’ bottom navigation tabs, you can now shop on WhatsApp too, along with other new updates.

Facebook will provide companies in some nations the choice to highlight their Shop in WhatsApp in the near future. In the United States, it will let companies take Shops merchandise into ‘Marketplace’, which will help them in reaching the over 1 billion people around the world who visit monthly.

The planned expansion comes as Facebook speeds up the rollout of Shops, since the pandemic shuttered local economies in 2020, which helps stores reach merchants digitally. 

Other expansions aim to help speed and efficiency. On Whatsapp previously, it could take weeks to set up a business account, but now, businesses can sign up in just a few minutes. Though WhatsApp has around 2 billion global users, only about 175 million people message with WhatsApp Business accounts daily for customer support, clearly a large discrepancy. Since Facebook has been pushing an omni-approach to e-commerce on platforms like Instagram, this initiative will expand to WhatsApp too.

The next feature, Shops Ads, allows for a more individualized, futuristic shopping experience based on people’s individual shopping habits. AR Dynamic Ads are available in the United States, and popular beauty companies like Huda Beauty and Laura Mercier are using these ads to let customers test lipstick shades with AR before making a purchase (in our opinion this seems long overdue). These AR try-on experiences are made available through API integrations with Modiface and Perfect Corp

All of this to say that Facebook has a lot going on right now, all pointing back to eCommerce integration. Will Facebook eventually start to resemble Amazon’s storefront? We’re not too sure, but they are surely trying, at the very least, to compete.

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