Social commerce is the next big thing, but it may look different across different social platforms. Tiktok has started to launch some features to merge the app with e-commerce. Let’s take a closer look at TikTok social commerce.
TikTok Social Commerce: New Features
It looks as if popular short-form content video app TikTok is starting to enter the e-commerce space. They are currently testing out a feature that lets creators insert product links to various e-commerce sites on their bio and in their posts.
TikTok users will be able to follow these links and directly buy products that are mentioned or featured in videos. This was first noticed by TikTok marketer Fabian Bern. He tweeted about it. According to the video he shared, users will be able to click these new links and visit product pages or e-commerce sites right from posts.
The TikTok social commerce features will make it an e-commerce competitor of both Facebook and Instagram. Both platforms have been trying to find new ways to monetize content.
In March of 2019, Instagram enabled a handful of top retailers, including Adidas and H&M, to sell products on the app. The feature allows shoppers to view their order status and estimated delivery date, cancel orders, and more. They can do all of this without leaving the Instagram app.
Instagram introduced a few on-site shopping features recently. It is also testing out in-app payments. It’s testing augmented-reality shopping too. Another big change they are making is introducing Instagram Reels. Many have compared this new feature to TikTok.
TikTok Social Commerce Right Now
TikTok currently has been downloaded 1.5 billion times globally. Also, it is especially popular amongst gen-z in the Americas. However, while many of them might be shopping through Tiktok soon, it is still only in beta. According to Fabian Bern:
“It’s in public beta right now and only selected (e.g. best performing) creators have access to it.”
A Look At Douyin
To get a glimpse at how TikTok might approach e-commerce in the west, looking into Douyin might prove useful. Both Douyin and TikTok are owned by ByteDance. ByteDane has already incorporated powerful e-commerce capabilities into China’s Douyin.
They did this awhile ago. Over a year ago, Douyin partnered with Alibaba to add shopping cart buttons. Accounts with over a million followers could embed them in content. Through them, followers can buy items in posts.
And since then, ByteDance has made Douyin even more shoppable. In December of 2018, they expanded the offering to even more users. ByteDance later reported to the Chinese media that the expansion of their cart feature generated nearly $30 million in sales in a single day.
TikTok is a massive international powerhouse, particularly in India. In India, TikTok reigns supreme, with 66.8 million unique downloads. Roughly 45% of all TikTok installations in 2019 so far occurred in India.
Several e-commerce sites have moved to take advantage of TikTok in India. These include Myntra, Voonik, and Snapdeal. They have already been advertising on TikTok for months.
Social Commerce: East vs. West
Some experts feel that TikTok social commerce may not take off in North America as it has abroad. This is because social commerce is far more ingrained in Asia than it is in the Americas.
Also, particularly in China, Douyin has an older-leaning audience than TikTok. TikTok is known as a place of youth culture and creativity. Also, it is known as a generator of digital trends, Douyin is a bit more like YouTube in terms of content. It hosts more lifestyle and fashion content.
However, it is also possible that TikTok may finally be the platform to bridge that gap. It may start to make social commerce a bigger force in the west. Things have been moving in that direction for a year across the board, at least.
Final Thoughts on TikTok Social Commerce
Even if it’s not TikTok social commerce that bridges this gap, platforms like Facebook and Instagram are close behind. It looks as if, globally, social media and e-commerce are set to fuse. It is likely only a matter of time before this becomes as popular in the Americas as it has in Asia. This is especially true when it comes to mobile social commerce.
Do you think that TikTok social commerce will be the next big thing? Let us know below…