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TikTok is now about ecommerce as much as it is about entertainment. The recent introduction, TikTok Shops Integration, starts unfolding now in the US. ByteDance is serious about making in-stream commerce work, as well as other ways to shop in-app, and it seems like the company knows where it’s aiming.
What does an integrated in-app shop look like? It’s a dedicated tab on a user profile that contains direct links to products, with an option of in-app purchase. The merchant can add images, descriptions, and prices to the page. To make a purchase, you need to go to the product page and proceed. There is no need to register or authorize somewhere new: your TikTok account already has it all.
So far, TikTok only collaborates with selected American brands in order to test how the feature works in practice. It is also exploring options like shopping livestreams. What’s the most interesting, TikTok now opens its fulfillment centers that will process the delivery and provide service to customers, including returns and replacements.
This American project isn’t the first of its kind for TikTok. It has already launched similar projects in the UK and then in some countries of Southeast Asia. By that moment, ByteDance had already experienced great success in in-app sales in China where TikTok is known as Douyin.
The in-app shopping experience, though, still feels wanting. There must be something more to add to make it full, and TikTok probably expects some feedback that will be useful for improving the shopping side of the app. ByteDance might simply replicate the features it’s already implemented and tested in Douyin. Instead, though, it rebuilds its ecommerce features specifically for American and European markets.
Have you ever made any purchases on TikTok? And what about other social media supporting in-app shopping? Is it more attractive to you than traditional online shopping on merchants' sites? Tell us how it feels in the comments!