TikTok’S US Ecommerce Push

Taking on Facebook

TikTok, the short-video app, is making plans to expand into the US ecommerce market with a variety of new features. It will battle with Facebook (FB) and other US social media platforms for traffic from users looking to shop online.

TikTok is owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, and faced many regulatory challenges during the Trump administration. Though it is not yet clear how Biden’s team will handle TikTok, a number of brands and advertisers seem to be less concerned about the app’s future in the US than they were several months ago.

Rolling Out New Features

Last year TikTok announced a partnership with Shopify (SHOP) promising to create ways for Shopify’s over 1 million sellers to reach younger consumers and boost their sales. Now TikTok is unveiling a number of these new features.

The app will soon allow popular creators to share links to products in their videos and earn commissions on sales of these items. TikTok also has plans to give brands new ways to showcase and advertise their products. It will start offering “live streamed” shopping as well, which will be similar to traditional shopping TV channels. Users will be able to buy products with a few clicks after learning about them from TikTok creators.

US Competitors Respond

US social media companies are working on ways to respond to TikTok’s ecommerce push, though some of their recent efforts have had disappointing results. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, launched a video sharing feature called Instagram Reels last August which was meant to mimic TikTok. So far, Reels has failed to gain as much traction as its creators hoped while TikTok’s popularity continues to surge.

TikTok has access to a younger demographic than many other platforms. According to the company, 40% of TikTok users do not have a Facebook account and 63% do not use Twitter (TWTR). As this generation ages, if TikTok is able to continue attracting young consumers, its influence will become even more significant in the coming years.

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