TikTok rolled out its in-app shopping platform, TikTok Shop, to all users in the U.S. today after several months of piloting the e-commerce program with select brands and creators.
TikTok Shop launches for all US users—what brands and creators should know
With the launch of TikTok Shop, the social media platform is tapping into its existing sway over users’ purchases, particularly those of Gen Z and millennial consumers—as embodied by the potent #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon—and further seeking to establish itself as an all-in-one e-commerce destination. Through TikTok Shop, brands can tag products within both in-feed videos and livestreams that users can click on and purchase all within the app, rather than needing to leave TikTok to buy the product on a brand’s website.
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Brands can also feature a shoppable product catalog directly on their TikTok pages, which allow consumers to browse different products, read other users’ reviews and purchase a product. TikTok initially began piloting several of these in-app shopping features as far back as November with brands such as PacSun and Revolve.
At this point, more than 200,000 brands and merchants are already selling products through TikTok Shop, according to a TikTok blog post. The company pointed to brands such as direct-to-consumer clothing brand Alexander Jane Boutique—which a TikTok spokesperson said generated $1 million in sales in 90 days through TikTok Shop—and dental product brand MySmile, which amassed nearly $100,000 in TikTok Shop revenue across two shoppable, QVC-esque livestreams, according to the spokesperson.
TikTok Shop also closely involves influencers, who have been a core part of the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt craze. Beginning in April, TikTok opened a TikTok Shop affiliate program to creators allowing them to upload videos or livestreams about TikTok Shop products to earn a commission on any sales they drive through their content. And for months, creators have been sharing videos about the earnings they’ve received through this commission-based content, ranging from hundreds to even thousands of dollars per week. Over 100,000 creators are currently part of the affiliate program, per TikTok’s blog post.
The U.S. launch of TikTok Shop reflects the social media platform’s ongoing aspirations to become a shopping destination alongside an entertainment channel, despite the lackluster response that social commerce efforts have received in the U.S. in comparison to countries such as China. TikTok Shop has already been available for over a year in countries such as the U.K., Singapore and Vietnam—but the U.S. rollout is part of TikTok's plan to position itself as a destination for shopping.