YouTube announced a new feature to ramp up live shopping. Here's why and how it works

Live shopping is incredibly popular in other parts of the world. Could YouTube be the first app to make it popular in the U.S.?
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
YouTube on computer and on phone
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YouTube announced that creators can now release products in their livestreams instead of uploading all of the product's details ahead of time, as explained in a video from YouTube's creative tech team.  

Currently, creators must upload a product to their stream before going live to announce its release during their livestream. When creators prepared to announce new merchandise, their viewers could see the product before the creator went live.

But this method removed all the anticipation surrounding a new product when viewers knew of it before the creator could formally announce it.

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Now, creators can schedule their product release within YouTube Studio and control the date and time a product goes live. So, creators can keep their product drop a secret and manufacture anticipation around a new product.

"Viewers will be able to see a mystery product tagged at the product shelf and product list until it gets revealed. As the product gets close to its availability date and time, you'll see a timer bar under the drop title and description," YouTube says in their video. "You'll be able to pin the product to the chat at or after the drop time."

YouTube says creators connected with Shopify or Google Merchant Center can set up YouTube Product Drops from YouTube's Live Control Room.

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Live shopping, a type of e-commerce where viewers watch hosts display, model, and describe products, is wildly popular in China. It's like if QVC was more popular and it had a mobile app. 

If you're on TikTok, you've probably seen people trying on wigs and clothes or selling toys and household items on TikTok Live. What you're seeing is live shopping. But live shopping is a little different in the U.S., as users have to leave the livestream to purchase a product instead of making in-app purchases like the live shopping apps in China.

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And although TikTok experimented with TikTok Shop, its live shopping experience, the app is under fire from U.S. lawmakers, causing the app to scale back this feature. So, YouTube hopes it can cash in on the live shopping craze by creating a seamless shopping experience not found on other U.S.-based apps. 

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