TikTok’s ramping up its next in-steam shopping push, with all U.S. businesses now able to activate TikTok Shops on their profiles.
Originally launched with selected U.S. retailers back in February, TikTok is now expanding its in-stream shopping push, which has also seen the app shut down its Storefront Shopify connection feature, in order to push more brands towards its native product listings.
As per TikTok:
“Across the US, over 150 million people turn to TikTok to be entertained and inspired by content they find from their favorite creators, including the latest trends, fashion and beauty tips, recipes, and more. TikTok Shop will now bring shoppable videos and LIVE streams directly to For You feeds across the country – and give brands, merchants, and creators the tools to sell directly through shoppable content on the TikTok app.”
As TikTok notes, its updated shop process now incorporates a product showcase on brand profiles, shop ads, which enable users to purchase from their promotions, and secure check-out via “trusted third-party payment platforms” to facilitate in-app purchases.
TikTok’s also looking to promote its new “Creative Challenge” affiliate program, through which creators are able to earn commissions from any sales that they generate by promoting selected products in their uploads. It’s also giving retailers access to its “Fulfilled by TikTok” program, which enables merchants to provide TikTok with a selection of their products, so that TikTok can then manage orders, which could improve responsiveness.
TikTok first launched its fulfillment program in the U.K. last month, and now, it appears to be bringing the same to the U.S., which could be a good option for brands that are looking to make TikTok a bigger focus for their outreach efforts.
TikTok’s been trying to years to make in-stream shopping a thing, after seeing big success with its eCommerce offerings in China, with the local version of the app. Indeed, Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, reported a 320% increase in product sales in 2022, which has seen the platform eat into the market share of Asian eComm giants like Alibaba, JD, and Pinduoduo. And with other providers like Temu and Shein now making a push to expand their operations into more markets, TikTok also sees this as the time to act, to ensure that it gets ahead of the competition, and utilizes its scale advantage.
It remains to be seen, however, whether Western shoppers actually want to buy products in the app.
The biggest driver of in-app shopping on Douyin is via live-streams, with streaming commerce becoming a major industry. But Western audiences haven’t thus far shown the same enthusiasm for buying during live broadcasts. That could reflect an overall hesitancy to buy on TikTok (amid concerns around its Chinese ownership), or it could be that live-streaming just hasn’t caught on in the same way, but its lack of traction isn’t exactly a great indicator for TikTok’s efforts.
TikTok will be hoping that it can still find a way to get more people shopping, while it’s even creating its own products based on in-app trends in order to encourage more shopping behavior.
Essentially, TikTok’s leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to encourage in-stream commerce, but thus far, overall engagement with its shopping elements has been lukewarm at best.
Maybe, given the popularity of the app, and its capacity to drive trends, more U.S. retailers will now take up TikTok shops, and help to amplify its shopping push.