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TikTok Pilots In-App Shopping Feature Amid E-Commerce Boom

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 24, 2021

Topline

TikTok, the Gen Z social media of choice, is the latest tech company to introduce in-app shopping features that will allow users to purchase products directly from merchants in a move that could help the platform take advantage of the surge in e-commerce.

Key Facts

TikTok has partnered with Shopify, an e-commerce platform from Canada, to allow merchants to add a shopping tab to their TikTok profile and create “a mini storefront” for customers to purchase their products in-app as part of a pilot test.

Users will also be able to “tag” products in TikTok posts and link directly to where the item can be purchased, similar to a feature Instagram offers.

To take advantage of the new shopping features, users part of the pilot must be Shopify merchants with a TikTok For Business account.

What To Watch For

A select number of Canadian merchants will take part in the shopping pilot within a matter of weeks, and TikTok said the company plans to expand the features to more countries over the coming months.

Tangent

One of the first users to take advantage of the new feature will be reality star and makeup mogul Kylie Jenner, who peddles her multi-million dollar Kylie Cosmetics brand to her nearly 35 million followers on TikTok. “I built my business on social media,” Jenner said in a statement Tuesday. “It’s where my fans go first to look for what’s new from Kylie Cosmetics.”

Big Number

$36.6 billion. That’s how much revenue e-commerce will net by the end of 2021 in the U.S. alone, according to an estimate from research firm eMarketer. That’s a nearly 40% jump compared to the previous year. Much of the growth was driven by coronavirus crackdowns, when brick and mortar stores were closed and customers turned to online shopping along with spending more time on social media platforms, according to the report.

Key Background

TikTok is the latest platform to dive into social commerce amid a wave of social media companies betting on users discovering and purchasing new products they see on their screens. Instagram first launched shopping features in 2018, and has continued to give more screen time and resources to e-commerce on the app. Snapchat, Twitter and Pinterest have also invested in their shopping features to capture revenue from the recent e-commerce boom. TikTok first announced a partnership with Spotify in October.

Further Reading

Social commerce surpasses $30 billion in the US (Insider)

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