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Shopping on TikTok: The app’s upcoming feature

Does shopping on TikTok even make sense? And how will the TikTok Shop work?

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A view of the TikTok app logo, in Tokyo.

In this Sept. 28, 2020, file photo, a view of the TikTok app logo is shown in Tokyo.

Associated Press

TikTok is currently testing a new feature: the TikTok Shop.

Currently undergoing selective testing in Europe, the TikTok Shop will allow creators and brands to sell their products and services directly to consumers through the app, a recent Bloomberg report stated.

The social media platform, owned by ByteDance, has compelling reasons for making the leap into e-commerce, according to Bloomberg.

Expanding to e-commerce acts as a strategic move for the app as its main competitors, Facebook and Instagram, launched in-app e-commerce over the last year. TikTok aims to channel its broad base of users into a broad base of consumers with the goal of handling $185 billion of e-commerce transactions by 2022, according to Bloomberg.

Testing the TikTok Shop

Just this week, through a statement to Bloomberg, ByteDance confirmed the partnership with U.K. streetwear company Hype to launch the brand’s in-app store. So far, the TikTok Shop has been tested in Indonesia and Europe. Before exploring this in-app shopping feature, TikTok previously partnered with Walmart and Shopify, a Canadian-based company, to promote the commercial opportunities of the app.

  • But building a usable in-app shop is only part of TikTok’s expansion into e-commerce. According to TechAsia, the other part is just as crucial: customers.

The Gen Z shopping network

The target customers for TikTok shopping already exist. In fact, they are already buying.

When it comes to making sales, viral TikTok videos have already increased the sales of products like Ocean Spray cranberry juice, feta cheese and American Eagle leggings, according to Bizjournals. With a dedicated shopping feature intended for a rapt audience, commentators at Bizjournals and TechAsia have remarked that TikTok could have a very successful e-commerce platform.

Currently, ByteDance has not announced when the TikTok Shop will launch globally. Still, the company has recently promoted the hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, and Bloomberg reported that they will continue exploring ways to add value for users, creators and brands.