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Jun 04 2021

TikTok Tests In-App Shopping


TikTok is the short-form video platform that has users opening the app 13 times in 24 hours. With quick and easily digestible videos, TikTok has changed the way we consume content and become one of the main online spaces younger generations spend their time; over 71% of Gen Z have an active TikTok account. 

As a result of this popularity, TikTok has become a marketing playground for brands. The temptation of going viral and reaching millions of consumers has enticed brands of all industries to create their own bite-sized content using popular sounds, trending filters and challenge hashtags. Now, TikTok is testing a new opportunity for brands: TikTok Shopping. 

Although TikTok has already tested the social-commerce waters in partnerships with Shopify and Walmart and offering businesses the choice to tag and externally link products within TikToks, the video platform is now testing in-app shopping. 

Testing the new capabilities in Europe, TikTok is working with brands including streetwear label Hype and fast-fashion brand ISawItFirst in hopes of intensifying its competition with Facebook and blurring the line between online shopping and social media.

ByteDance Ltd., owner of TikTok, is hoping to replicate the success of its Chinese cousin Douyin which generated $26 billion e-commerce transactions in its first year operating. Working with merchants in European markets, including the UK, brings products directly to millions of TikTok users within the app. 

The new shopping experience on the platform gives brands a dedicated shop tab on their profile pages. The storefront displays a range of merchandise alongside product images and prices. TikTok users can use the storefront to find out more information on products available, retailer policies, and shipping and size options. If a customer needs more assistance, they can click the headphone symbol to message a brand representative within the app.

In addition to this feature, TikTok has been testing shopping capabilities during Lives. Accessible through a brand’s official TikTok page or natively in For You Pages, viewers can instantly shop products featured within the Live by clicking the a cart button, or through a pinned product that is constantly viewable on the screen.

Users are given the option to pick sizing, shipment and pay within TikTok. At present, it seems as if customers can only purchase one product at a time through the “Buy Now” option as there is no customer cart available. 

TikTok’s in-app shopping capabilities will bring fierce competition with Instagram which has been developing its own in-app shopping capabilities in order to take advantage of the global ecommerce market.

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