How to Sell on YouTube as an eCommerce Business
This article was last updated on July 30, 2023
Today’s crowded eCommerce marketplace has become a battleground for attention. And there might be no better way to capture shopper mindshare than YouTube, the planet’s second-most visited website, behind Google, and the second-best platform for user engagement, behind Facebook. Plus, the video-streaming service is uniquely effective at outperforming other channels in impacting consumer behavior. YouTube viewers are 2X more likely to buy something they saw on the platform.
It also stands out among its social media peers, with YouTube viewers 4X more likely to use the platform to get information about a brand, product, or service. For a more in-depth look at multichannel retailing, check out our guide.
The challenge with YouTube is in standing out on a platform cluttered with creators, eCommerce competitors, and distractions. Below, we provide some tips on how eCommerce businesses can effectively leverage YouTube to sell products and drive traffic to their eCommerce website.
Why YouTube is integral to eCommerce marketing
Rapidly increasing competition has made eCommerce marketing a critical component to any store’s long-term success. And as a component of eCommerce marketing, eCommerce content marketing is all about engaging prospects and customers in a way that will make your brand and business as sticky as possible in consumers’ minds. That way, when they’re ready to make a purchase decision, your business comes first to mind.
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And YouTube just so happens to be an especially potent content marketing tool due to people’s love of video-based information and its hyper-personalized recommendations system.
In a 2020 Nielsen study commissioned by YouTube, a third of consumers surveyed said that YouTube ads tend to be more relevant to them (compared to other channels).
YouTube also had a direct impact on respondents’ shopping behavior. Respondents who’d recalled a past YouTube ad had conducted more shopping trips, increased their overall spend per trip, and made more purchases versus those that hadn’t.
How to sell on YouTube
As it looks to further compete with Amazon, Google has been making it increasingly easier for businesses to sell on YouTube. To get started, you’ll need to do the following:
01. Set up your YouTube account
Create a YouTube account (if you don’t already have one). This handy 3-minute video from Google tells you how to set one up.
02. Create a landing page or online store
A landing page or online store. Wix eCommerce can help you with this one. 700,000 eCommerce merchants have found starting an online store with Wix extremely simple. (Note: you don’t need a website to sell on YouTube because you can promote products in your videos and sell in online marketplaces or from a physical storefront, but it sure makes things easier if you do).
Learn more: How to make a website
03. Plan your eCommerce content strategy
You'll need an eCommerce content strategy that incorporates video into its mix of tactics.
04. Figure out how to create high-quality videos
You'll need to find a way to create high-quality videos for your store. Sure, you can use your iPhone, but when using video to sell products, we recommend having a dedicated camera and tripod setup so you can take professional recordings of your products in use (and stand out from the clutter while you’re at it). After you’ve recorded your media, you can use the Wix Video Maker to add complementary music, eye-popping visuals, and attention-grabbing fonts to your videos to ensure a professional finish.
05. Set up Google Ads
A Google Ads account is necessary if you want to run paid ads on YouTube. YouTube ads are managed through Google’s advertising platform, so you’ll need to open a Google Ads account if you want to advertise. (LearnCan you promote products on YouTube without advertising them? Yes, you can. Read on to learn how.
How should I market my eCommerce business on Youtube?
It might sound obvious, but marketing your eCommerce business on YouTube starts with creating a thriving YouTube channel. Those wondering how to start your own YouTube channel should read on.
First, focus on building a strong “About” section with a keyword-rich channel description.
Make sure to add links to your website and/or social media accounts. Keep the description short and relevant. Here’s an example from our own YouTube channel.
Next, create a compelling channel trailer to pique viewer interest and encourage them to subscribe. Channel trailers are a great way to introduce your brand and channel to new viewers. Here’s our channel trailer (which we’re quite proud of).
Now you now how to start uploading videos. Answering customers’ product-specific questions is a great way to start populating your channel. According to data from the Pew Research center, over 50 percent of people visit YouTube to figure out how to do things they haven’t done before. Something to keep in mind when thinking of what content to produce.
Here are some other topics and tactics to consider when marketing your eCommerce business on YouTube.
01. Customer testimonials
Customer testimonials and reviews help showcase your products, highlight your brand, and establish trust for viewers who may not be familiar with your business.
Vlogs, short for “video log” are video versions of the (written) blogs we all know and love. Vlogging about your online store is a creative way to showcase and promote products. Vlogs can take the form of product demos, how-to videos, product “hauls” that highlight multiple products with a common theme (e.g., ten great holiday gifts for teens), and any other relevant topics you can think of.
Influencers, a.k.a., people with large social media followings, are a great source for promoting your business and products (think how to sell on Instagram and how to sell on Facebook Marketplace). It’s not typically free to work with influencers, but partnering with them has the potential to get your products and store in front of many-a-viewer. Alex Garza, a YouTube influencer with nearly 900,000 subscribers, frequently partners with retail brands. This video by Garza for Walmart was viewed nearly 35,000 times and showcases different outfits, all of which are from Walmart.
Co-marketing campaigns are another way to get in front of new viewers. Brands like Nike and Purina use comarketing to reach new and/or large audiences. For example, Purina’s Puppyhood campaign featured a series of (extremely cute) videos about a man and his brand new puppy. These videos were shown on Buzzfeed’s website and reposted to YouTube. At their core, these were just puppy food commercials, but they were also wildly popular and, thus, widely shared. The original video got nearly 30 million views.
05. Optimize for search
Optimizing YouTube videos for search can help viewers find you when they search on YouTube or Google—Google shows YouTube results on their main search engine. When uploading a new video, make sure you fill out all the video’s parameters like title and description using relevant keywords.
06 Create ads
If you have a Google Ads account, you can create shopping ads for YouTube that connect viewers directly to your products. TrueView for Shopping campaigns pulls your Google Merchant Center product data into shopping cards that appear in video ads. Get the details from Google Ads Help, including how to create a TrueView Shopping campaign and how to select what products to feature.
Driving traffic back to your site
Building an audience on YouTube is a great way to sell products, but it’s not the only way. Think of your website as your digital storefront. It serves as a destination for visitors who learn about you from YouTube and other channels like Facebook, Google, and via offline sources too.
If you’re wondering how to drive traffic to your online store using YouTube, one of the easiest ways is to include a link to your website or product pages on your channel page and within each video’s description. You can also mention your website and feature your URL as a graphic in your videos.
YouTube also has a feature called “cards” that creators can use to link to playlists, videos, and channels. There’s a “link” card that allows users to link to an external website, but you must be part of YouTube’s partner program to use it.
Partner program members can also add end screens to videos that are at least 25 seconds long. Among other things, end screens allow users to link to an external website.
Don’t have an online store to link to? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. You can create an online store and run your business with Wix eCommerce. Check out our video with details about building an online storefront here or on Wix’s own YouTube channel.
Head of Outbound Marketing, Wix eCommerce
Bogar leads thought leadership and outbound marketing for Wix eCommerce. He has an extremely soft spot for all things eCommerce, retail, tech, content, and marketing.