YouTube Adds Built-In Merchandise Stores for Video Creators, Will Use Teespring
At yesterday’s VidCon conference in Anaheim, Calif., YouTube announced a series of new features for creators, including channel memberships for creators with at least 100,000 subscribers, and a new platform called Premieres that can be used to promote upcoming videos, generate revenue and host an interactive chat room for subscribers awaiting a video’s launch.
Most interesting for us, however, was its announcement of a new merchandise platform, through which creators with more than 10,000 subscribers can offer over 20 different types of merch, including hats, phone cases and T-shirts, all from a shelf situated just beneath each video they post.
In an early test of the platform, a YouTube creator who makes popular videos about a character named Lucas the Spider turned his creation into a plush doll, selling more than 60,000 units to make more than $1 million in profit in a mere 18 days.
It seems that YouTube has decided to partner with custom merchandise platform Teespring, which allows users to upload their own designs and sell (or order) promotional merchandise. If you don’t remember Teespring, or if you’ve never heard of them before, allow us to refresh/induce your memories with some stories about how the site sold T-shirts with swastikas printed on them, or the time it failed to catch a T-shirt design that read “Black Women Are Trash” until outraged users brought it to the company’s attention.
Yeah, those are not good looks.
Anyway, this is the brand YouTube has chosen to partner with for its new merchandise platform. Here’s how it works.
YouTube has negotiated a deal with Teespring that will see the company earning a commission of a small flat percentage on every sale made through the platform. Though prices will vary per item, creators have the right to mark up these prices—such as, for example, the base price of a T-shirt is $10.22, which creators typically sell for $22. If creators sell 200-499 T-shirts, however, this base price drops to $9.82, which makes more money for creators in the long run.
This is, of course, how promotional merchandise orders tend to work anyway, but in this scenario, the system encourages creators to sell their merchandise through YouTube alone by incentivizing returned commission on high sale numbers versus the cost they would incur by selling direct.
According to Teespring, beta testing elicited an 82 percent success rate for YouTubers using the service, leading to a sales conversion increase of 2.5 percent compared to sales made via standard description links. Overall, this led to an average of 25 percent more units sold per user, amongst early adopters.
It will be interesting to monitor this situation, especially to see how (and if) the new merch platform can propel Teespring into a higher tier of sales and consumer awareness. If this becomes a breath of life for a company that only a few years back was restructuring and laying off a number of its staff, it could increase the profile of another promo industry competitor.