After initially testing its in-app shops with selected brands in the US last year, TikTok is now expanding access to its in-profile product display option, with some retailers receiving this notification this week.
As outlined by TikTok, it’s now looking to invite more businesses into its shop test, before a broader roll out to all US retailers.
As per TikTok:
“TikTok Shop is your one-stop ecommerce solution for driving sales and brand growth on TikTok. With TikTok Shop, users are able to discover and purchase products from their favorite creators and brands in one seamless experience. With 83% of users saying that TikTok plays a role in their purchase decisions, it’s more important than ever to make your brand and products discoverable to the fastest growing community in the world.”
As noted, TikTok first partnered with selected US businesses on shops last November, which saw a dedicated shop tab added to their profiles.
TikTok first launched Shops in the UK in 2021, and in Southeast Asia shortly after that. And while it continues to steadily expand on its in-stream shopping functionality, it hasn’t been a massive hit for the app just yet.
In-stream shopping has been a winner in China, and has become the key revenue stream for the local version of TikTok, called Douyin. But for whatever reason, Western audiences haven’t shown the same inclination towards in-app shopping, with TikTok struggling to gain traction with its various pushes on boosting shopping take-up.
Though it has gained traction in Indonesia, a key growth market for the app.
As reported by Rest of World:
“TikTok Shop reportedly racked up a gross merchandise value of $4.4 billion across Southeast Asia over 2022, powered by a network of agencies who ‘manage’ livestream presenters and shopfronts.”
Live stream shopping has been a massive hit in Asian regions, especially China, but try as it might, TikTok hasn’t been able to gain the same traction in Western markets, which has seen it scale back its broader shopping push, in favor of this more measured, slower roll out of in-profile product displays.
Will that eventually lead to greater take-up of in-stream shopping? It still seems unlikely, because while online shopping, in general, is expanding steadily over time, there remains a real resistance among shoppers to going all-in on the process.
Even after the pandemic, when online shopping reached record highs due to lockdowns, consumers didn’t stick with it, which doesn’t bode well for a broader shift anytime soon.
It seems that Western consumers are largely stuck in their ways, and still, for the most part, prefer walking the aisles and seeing the items that they’re buying. Which, as noted, is still gradually shifting towards more online purchases, but it’s likely to remain a gradual progression, as opposed to people suddenly taking up more in-stream buying processes.
Scams, distrust of platforms with our data, threats to security – all of these remain factors that have slowed broader adoption of live shopping.
TikTok may be able to negate them, to some degree, but with TikTok itself under scrutiny over how it may or may not share data with the Chinese Government, it seems unlikely to be the platform that truly breaks through in this respect.