YouTube takes on bricks and mortar

creator-store-youtube-psfk.com_Retail today is no longer one-dimensional. It must comprise of a whole ecosystem of virtual, digital and physical expressions of your brand.

In the past 24 months, social video has exploded and changed the way society, brands and retailers communicate. Content marketing has evolved into a diverse arena of live streaming, new video-based Google algorithms, and is personifying brands at a greater speed than ever before, allowing them to become deeply aligned within customer’s lives.

According to a report by Cisco, by 2019, video will account for 80 per cent of global internet traffic, with nearly a million minutes of video to be shared every second. That means it would take an individual five million years to watch all of the videos that will be shared each month.

The way we interact with brands, services and products has, in the past couple of years, been disrupted by the likes of Uber, Air BnB and Amazon, reshaping customer expectations. As attention spans shrink (a recent study showed the average human attention span has fallen from 12 to eight seconds – less than a gold fish), time is becoming increasingly more valuable, mobile is becoming progressively part of everyday living, and video, as a concept, has found its time.

While video has been adopted and invested in by the likes of Facebook and Instagram, attempting to take on the new video-focused apps, Snapchat and Vine, the ruling king of video continues to be YouTube.

Bought by Google in 2006 for $1.65 billion, YouTube has recently been ranked the second largest search engine in the world – bigger than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL combined! Processing more than three billion searches a month, with 100 hours of video uploaded every minute, it is transforming the way we discover information via the web.

YouTube is the fastest growing video sharing website in the world at the moment. It has become an outlet for anyone to promote or gain their skills, talents and knowledge. As YouTube has grown, and as ‘vloggers’ (video-bloggers) become as recognisable as celebrities, many individuals have not only found fame through the site, but have come to make a healthy living from their channels through advertising, sponsorships and the selling of merchandise.

Once again, as the worlds of offline/online collide, and as with all successful omnichannel retail ecosystems, Google has recognised the importance of now bringing these YouTubers offline in order to be able to compete with the ever-growing competition in the video market. Over the next couple of weeks, Google is set to open its ninth physical store (set to be their second largest in the world) in London within the YouTube Space premises, allowing YouTubers to sell their merchandise beyond the online realm. Named the ‘Creator Store’, it will be part of the new YouTube Space, which launched this week on the ground floor of Google’s 11-storey office in King’s Cross.

According to Business Insider, the store will sell t-shirts, books, mugs, photo frames, and other items that have been dreamt up by designers and branding teams working with some of the most popular creators on YouTube, as well as other paraphernalia YouTubers have made their own. The site will also be used for book signings and product releases. Darlington Howard, a YouTube senior programme strategist at Google, said that all profits from the store will go to the creators.

This 20,000 square foot building includes three entirely soundproof studios where YouTubers can record high-quality videos, recording studios, professional editing booths, barista bar and community area.

From Amazon to Google, Microsoft and now to YouTube. As more online pureplays continue to move offline, this comes as a reminder to all retailers seeking to compete and succeed in today’s retail market. Retail today is no longer one-dimensional. It must comprise of a whole ecosystem of virtual, digital and physical expressions of your brand.

Brian Walker is founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group and can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or brian@retaildoctor.com.auVikki Weston, co-author of this column, is part of Retail Doctor Group’s Retail Insights team and can be contacted via email at vikki@retaildoctor.com.au .

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