With other brands jumping on the f-commerce bandwagon, French Connection (UK) has just gone live with a social shopping channel on YouTube – the Net’s third most popular website that is also the search engine of choice for Gen Y.    YouTique is a ‘YouTube boutique’ showcasing French Connection gear and offering personal shopping advice (somewhat kooky – see below)  that links seamlessly through to French Connection’s e-commerce site via YouTube’s annotation tool repurposed as a buy button.

Like f-commerce, which is still embryonic, YouTube commerce is in the very earliest stages of development, and it is easy to dismiss French Connection’s social shopping channel as simply video and comments linked to a store. But with Google TV just around the corner, it’s a safe bet to think that the future of social commerce will see YouTique as a v. 0.1 of the video-based future that what was to come.

And sometimes the simplest ideas are the best – the French Connection YouTique – YouTube videos with annotated buy buttons – is social commerce that is elegant in its simplicity.  Imagine where this could go.  A YouTique on/off button on all music videos, TV series, and movies on YouTube – that displays a YouTube buy button on gear you are interested in (based on your personal likes), all within a YouTube-integrated shopping cart.  It’s product placement for the YouTube generation – and with a digital trace to sales.

Less dangerous to brands than French Connection’s recent ChatRoulette contest and less risky than the increasingly ubiquitous sponsored haul video (you never know what those shoppers will say…), the French Connection YouTique is a simple, smart and safe way to harness YouTube as a social commerce channel.  We Like – in a YouTube Like sort of way.

Introductory video to the French Connection YouTique…

And some YouTique shopping advice – with YouTube buy buttons…

But we still love you Blair – queen of the haul video!