TikTok said to be launching live shopping in the US

TikTok is hunting for partners to launch its live shopping offering in the U.S. as it is looking to outsource operations for these features.

According to a report from Financial Times, the short video app has been talking with California-based TalkShopLive to provide infrastructure for live shopping features on TikTok. This tech will allow creators and brands to sell goods through videos on the platform. TalkShopLive takes a 10% commission from sellers for providing its services, and TikTok is likely to cover that cost for the initial phase of the project.

The report noted that TikTok and TalkShopLive — which raised $6 million in a seed extension round last year — haven’t finalized any terms. So there is little information about when the shopping feature will go live.

TikTok began offering e-commerce features last year by partnering with Shopify to let business accounts integrate their catalogs to a dedicated tab on their profiles. Plus, the company gave brands tools to create, run and monitor ad campaigns on the platform. In June, TikTok also started testing a dedicated Shop feed to highlight products sold by merchants on the app.

The company has been testing its live shopping product in the U.K. since last year — its first market outside Asia for testing this feature. However, a Financial Times report in July suggested that the project failed to meet the company’s expectations and it was reconsidering live shopping expansion in other countries such as the U.S. and Germany.

TikTok didn’t comment on the specifics of the kind of partnerships the company is looking for to expand its live commerce offerings.

“When it comes to market expansion for TikTok Shop we are always guided by demand and are constantly exploring new and different options for how we can best serve our Community, Creators and Merchants in markets around the world. These efforts include exploring partnerships that further support a seamless e-commerce experience for merchants, which is an important part of our ecosystem,” TikTok said in a statement to TechCrunch.

Live shopping hasn’t taken off in North America as expected. Facebook first started testing it in 2018, but last month it announced that the company is shutting down this feature to focus on Reels. Amazon also experimented with QVC-styled livestreams from influencers prior to its Amazon Prime Day sales in July but didn’t provide any numbers about how much revenue it was able to generate from these live videos.