In Europe, TikTok is working with streetwear label Hype and other brands to test in-app sales, a first step towards competing with Facebook in the e-commerce arena. Parent company ByteDance’s China-only app Douyin did $26 billion in e-commerce in its first year of operation. Sources reported that TikTok is already working with vendors in various European markets including the United Kingdom. TikTok is also working on another pilot program to connect people hunting for jobs with companies looking for employees.
Bloomberg reports that the prototype e-commerce feature “so far is only visible to select participants and it remains unknown when the company will kick off the formal launch.” It adds that, “ByteDance is moving aggressively into a $1.7 trillion Chinese e-commerce arena,” with the goal of $185 billion in e-commerce annually by 2022, as it approaches a “much anticipated” IPO.
ByteDance’s apps, TikTok most notably, “enjoy a broad global fan base and co-founder Zhang Yiming wants to use that as a springboard into the game of online commerce.”
Bloomberg adds that TikTok, “a late entrant to China’s social commerce scene … [is] counting on its artificial intelligence-driven, interest-based recommendations to help its e-commerce business catch up.” A report from eMarketer projects that e-commerce “will generate $5 trillion in sales this year.”
TikTok has already engaged in “promotional tie-ups with Walmart and Canadian e-commerce firm Shopify,” with tagged products that link to the vendors’ sites, although “users still technically stay in the TikTok app.” Now, Hype and other companies will “run dedicated stores on the video platform, taking orders from and interacting directly with shoppers.”
TikTok aims to “sell more ads to merchants, boost traffic and take a cut of business.” TikTok has also “been quietly building a team of engineers in Singapore to grow TikTok’s nascent e-commerce operations.”
Meanwhile, Axios reports that TikTok is additionally testing a tool “designed to help people find jobs on TikTok and connect with companies looking to find candidates … [and is] also meant to help brands use TikTok as a recruitment channel.”
The tool isn’t integrated into TikTok but is “a separate web page accessible via the TikTok app where brands can post jobs, primarily entry-level listings … [and] users can post a TikTok video resume to the site rather than a traditional resume.” It adds that, “TikTok will ask candidates to post their resume videos to their TikTok profiles, if they wish, to help publicize the new service.”