Walmart expands shoppable TikTok efforts into beauty and outside brands
Walmart is expanding its shoppable TikTok and social commerce efforts beyond its own brands with a beauty-focused livestream featuring creator Gabby Morrison after a successful run with a December shoppable fashion show.
Walmart’s “Spring Shop-Along: Beauty Edition” on March 11 at 9 p.m. will, like its December event, let viewers click on pins to shop live during an event on the Walmart TikTok channel. The initial event drew seven times more views than anticipated and grew Walmart’s TikTok community (now at more than 592,000) by 25%, says U.S. Chief Marketing Officer William White.
That event focused on Walmart’s own-label apparel. Thursday’s event will also include private-labels but venture outside to include brands such as Mark Jacobs and L’Oreal’s NYX and Maybelline, Black-owned brands including Kim Kimble, and vegan brand The Lip Bar, with all products available to buy within the app via Walmart.com.
Social commerce has been a growing focus of L’Oréal’s digital efforts globally, according to the company’s Chief Digital Officer Lubomira Rochet. And Walmart’s shoppable TikTok efforts also are drawing interest from elsewhere, including Procter & Gamble Co., which is running a TikTok ad backing its launch of Slate by Gillette, a new disposable razor brand exclusive to Walmart.
“This was an idea from the Gillette team, knowing that the TikTok audience aligns well with the Slate and Walmart consumers we want to reach,” says a spokeswoman for the P&G brand.
While the December event was more of a shoppable variety show, Morrison, with her 3.5 million TikTok followers, will lead a group in a 60-minute beauty tutorial with beauty tips and information on trends, more like standard beauty influencer fare. Selection of participating brands came from a mixture of input from Walmart merchants and the participating creators, White says.
Brands didn’t buy their way into this livestream, he says. “We think authenticity is important for our customer and for people on TikTok. At some time, that may be a path we’ll go down, and we’ll explore our way into that.”
TikTok takeover on hold
Walmart’s growing TikTok presence comes as the company’s pending ownership stake in the social platform remains in limbo. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that the Biden administration has put a proposed deal under which Walmart would join Oracle as part of an ownership group that would take over TikTok in the U.S. on hold as it reviews Trump administration’s efforts to address security risks from Chinese tech companies. The Chinese government would also have to sign off on the deal.
None of that is diminishing Walmart’s appetite for TikTok marketing or social commerce. “We certainly see the content to commerce space continuing to grow and evolve,” White says. “Social commerce as a sub-segment of that is the place that’s really taken off recently. And even within the social commerce space, we view the shoppable livestream as the next wave. It’s already big in China, but it’s nascent here. We want to be at the forefront of innovation helping to shape that space for the industry.”
TikTok is crucial because of its rapidly growing usage, White says. "As App Annie has noted, consumers on TikTok will spend 21.5 hours a month. That's a lot of time. People are spending more time there than a lot of places online, than other places they are in person. And we want to be there for them."