After months of testing, TikTok has finally launched its e-commerce product, TikTok Shop, in the U.S. — where it has more than 150 million users. As part of the rollout, the company is bringing features such as a dedicated shop tab on the home screen, live video shopping, shoppable ads and affiliate programs for creators.
TikTok has been testing its e-commerce initiative in the U.S. since last November. Over the course of the last few months, the company has added more vendors to the test. ByteDance has been experimenting with different formats of shopping in various markets, such as the U.K. and many Southeast Asian countries.
“TikTok Shop empowers brands and creators to connect with highly engaged customers based on their interests, and it combines the power of community, creativity, and commerce to deliver a seamless shopping experience,” the company said in a blog post.
Creators can tag products to make it easier for users to buy things from in-feed videos and live videos. Brands can make their own product portfolios, which can be accessible from their profile pages.
TikTok Shop also has a dedicated tab, which it rolled out to other markets in June, to let users search for different products, discover products through recommendations, browse items in different categories and manage their orders.
TikTok also has set up an affiliate funnel for sellers that lets them work with creators on a commission basis to sell products.
Apart from letting brands host their products on the platform, ByteDance also provides logistics solutions under “Fulfilled by TikTok,” along with a secure checkout method.
TikTok has long partnered with Shopify to provide shopping solutions for businesses. The company also offers integration with e-commerce partners such as WooCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, BigCommerce and Magento; Zendesk, Gorgias and 1440 for customer service; Printful, Printify and NovaTomato for print-on-demand merchandise, Yotpo for reviews; and shipping service with WeeBee, Flowspace, and Easyship.
TikTok told TechCrunch that the company has already signed up more than 200,000 sellers on the Shop product. Additionally, more than 100,000 creators have signed up for the Affiliate program.
Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that many U.S. users have been seeing the shop button on their app. However, it was just a showcase for cheap or counterfeit products from China. However, TikTok execs told The New York Times that more than 90% of sellers on TikTok Shop were based out of the U.S.
In the U.K., ByteDance is already selling products from its own subsidiary on TikTok. This new “Trendy Beat” section, which debuted in June, is reportedly a challenger to Shein and Amazon, according to a report by the Financial Times.
In the U.S., TikTok is aiming to bank on the popularity of trends like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt, with both the hashtag and the term garnering billions of views. The company is facing stiff competition in the e-commerce sector from Amazon and Shien, which reportedly is planning for an IPO. Last month, a report from The Information claimed that TikTok was planning to ban third-party e-commerce links. But ByteDance denied the claim.
With the launch of the TikTok Shop, the social network might gather more data from users, including their financial details, shopping patterns and addresses. The company was quick to point out that all this data for U.S. users is stored in the country and managed by USDS — a separate unit for managing U.S. data. However, the additional data collection might still draw scrutiny from lawmakers, many of whom have called for the app’s ban.