4 creators share ways YouTube Shopping turned their fandom into opportunity
YouTube has been a part of every shopping journey from unboxing videos to shopping hauls to product reviews across beauty, fashion, consumer tech and other categories.
At the core of those videos are creators who’ve built trusted relationships with their fans as their communities grow. And so it comes as no surprise that YouTube is also a natural home for Shopping, a place where creators regularly drop their own product lines or share recommendations for their favorite items.
More than 100,000 creators, artists and brands have connected their own stores to their YouTube channels
Because creators spend so much time familiarizing themselves with their fans and the products their audience cares about, creators are also leading a new wave of the shopping experience. More than 100,000 creators, artists and brands have connected their own stores to their YouTube channels, constantly innovating with their viewers and flexing their creativity to address their fans' needs and asks.
For tips on how to successfully create covetable merchandise and use YouTube to their advantage, we asked four creators to give us their insights on how to sell through their channels.
Drop merch to celebrate BIG moments
The Boys are a team of five based in the US and Australia that collaborate to create hilarious skits and reaction content.
As their group channel approached 1M subscribers, The Boys wanted to celebrate the moment in a way that expressed fan appreciation, but also channeled what their fans loved about them. This sparked their milestone hoodie collections, with their 3M subscriber hoodie and 1 Year Anniversary hoodie being the most popular to date. They continue to turn to their fans so they can weigh in on new designs and help experiment with various themes for new collections. These interactions also drum up excitement, anticipation and pent up demand from fans.
For those new to designing merch, another tip is approaching it as if you’re creating “something you’d be proud to share with a mate.” It’s ok to have a healthy obsession with quality. For example, they love using unique details, including custom patches and finishes within their collections–like the glow in the dark thread from their Sick Halloween Collection (as worn). To ensure these details align with their vision, they invest in samples before launching a new collection, which gives a few chances to ensure the look, feel and fit come together as something unique that their fans love.
Darcy & Jer
Design merch to help your community feel seen
Darcy and Jer are a Vancouver-based couple, known for their hilarious videos around their relationship, living with ADHD, being plant parents and more. Neither imagined that their fans would appreciate, let alone purchase, any merch they’d offer. That all changed after Jer recorded Darcy singing his “Busy Donkey” song. Literally sung, “B-U-S-Y D-O-N-K-E-Y” the song lets Darcy focus and ultimately helps him keep his ADHD under control. When the video went viral in 2021, it became an anthem for their fans, as many within their community are also living with ADHD.
With their fans asking for Busy Donkey merch by name, they looked to Spring, a merchant platform that specializes in turning creators' ideas into physical and digital products. Darcy and Jer valued how Spring helped them design merch that not only channeled their personalities, but was also size inclusive, a value shared by both and their community. The result was their Busy Donkey tee-shirt, which sold out in less than a day.
Their first drop revealed how merch helps their community feel seen and foster a sense of belonging. This has led them to land other collections anchored by causes that matter to them and their community, like their “I Tolerate You” and “Plant Parenthood” collections.
Tease drops with Shorts, spark demand with live streams
Colizet is a South Korea based creator who dreamed about becoming a fashion designer since she was a student and started a channel to share style advice with her fans and help them discover and shop from lesser known Korean designers she loves. Her passion for fashion continued to grow while collaborating with designers — ultimately leading her to take the leap into designing her own fashion brand.
Because she wanted the launch to be a special moment that could be celebrated with her entire community, Colizet turned to live shopping on YouTube. To drum up anticipation she used Shorts to show style inspiration with the blazer, followed by an informative video to showcase the product. Then, to drive fans to tune-in to her live stream, she announced details through a community post and linked her live stream. For her, the live stream was a chance to interact with fans in real time and answer their burning questions.
Colizet considered her livestream to be extremely successful, and opened a second pre-order for the blazer. Since she could monitor purchases in real time, she noticed peak purchase behavior when she explained how fans could purchase the product (by clicking the viewer product icon on the bottom left hand corner of the video). She also gave vivid descriptions of her products to help bring the quality and design to life. Since the first product drop, she has dropped 2 more products with more sizing options after fans' requests, showing that their opinions matter and helps her make product decisions.
Incorporate fans into the design process
Blogilates’ Cassey Ho is the CEO and Head Designer of her active fashion brand POPFLEX. Cassey’s content is focused on giving her audience a behind the scenes look into her problem-solving design process. Her community is extremely vocal about the problems they face when looking for athletic apparel that's comfortable, functional and doesn’t compromise on style. Their concerns are a source of inspiration and she uses Shorts to bring to life ways her products can help out.
Her Shorts usually open with a relatable situation that her fans experience. Then she pulls back the curtain to take them inside how the product comes to life, which transforms into a detailed review of a final product. This “behind the scenes” approach keeps her fans at the heart of her content and gives real life examples of how her products meet their needs.
Cassey’s also intentional about including her community in her design process. Fans have a direct say on the products, and their input is sought in Cassey’s Shorts. Whether it’s asking her fans to decide the length of a workout dress or to join her #BlogilatesPlankChallenge Shorts challenge, she shows that their opinions matter and helps her make more strategic product decisions. It also has a positive impact on her business–during the #BlogilatesPlankChallenge, her brand POPFLEX grew sales by over 200% on YouTube (vs. previous 2 weeks).
This summer, we’re continuing to expand access to our shopping features, like product tagging on Shorts and video, to make it even easier for creators to create shopping experiences their fans love.