More Brands Are Participating in In-App Test for TikTok Shop

Although TikTok’s U.S. shopping rollout has gone slower than planned, the company continues to add features, with invited brands fielding an in-app checkout test. Clothing firms PacSun, Revolve and Willow Boutique as well as beauty line KimChi Chic are reportedly participating in the test for TikTok Shop. The brands have a small shopping bag icon on their profiles, which users can click to explore products through images, video and text. The TikTok cart can accept items from different stores, providing a centralized shopping experience. The move comes as Gen Z increasingly uses TikTok as a search engine.

It also coincides at a time when it’s principal competitor for the Gen Z audience, Instagram, has pulled back from live shopping. TikTok Shop, which began testing in November, according to TechCrunch, has been adding more brands.

Although users were already able to buy products through ads on TikTok via integration with Shopify, such purchases were finalized with a browser. “With TikTok Shop, the checkout process takes place directly within the app, which makes the experience feel more native and seamless,” writes TechCrunch, noting “this is also how Instagram Shop works.”

TikTok Shop launched in the UK in 2021, and is also made available in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Reports that the UK shopping rollout was not going well led to speculation TikTok would abandon plans to launch Shop in the U.S. and throughout Europe, but the ByteDance-owned company appears be moving forward with e-commerce. The Paypers reports TikTok Shop is preparing to launch in Spain.

In addition to TikTok Shop, the company has invested in additional shopping features, partnering with Instacart for shoppable lists based on creator recipes. It has also tested live-stream shopping, which ByteDance has had success with in China with TikTok sister company Douyin.

CNBC reports that live-stream shopping has “taken China by storm,” prompting Amazon and YouTube to follow suit. But Chinese media outlet Rest of World muses that “China’s live-stream shopping craze has hit a ceiling” even as “TikTok plans to bring the trend to the U.S.”

Is Live-Streaming Commerce Living Up to Its Hype in the U.S.?, Forbes, 2/10/23
TikTok Launches Live-Stream Trivia, with Cash Prizes in the App, Social Media Today, 2/16/23

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