It might have been the worst-kept secret in retail, but after months of unconfirmed reports, behind-the-scenes testing and tales from the front lines, TikTok has finally, formally launched its new ecommerce offering — TikTok Shop.
While the ecommerce functionality has been available to at least some users since late last year, today marks the service’s debut to the wider TikTok community, and to say that both consumers and brands have been eagerly anticipating this development might be an understatement. Brands have been clamoring to sell on TikTok almost from the moment the platform began its meteoric rise and the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag proved its commerce potential. Now it’s here: first launched in the UK and several Asian markets, TikTok Shop was quietly made available in the U.S. in November 2022.
“Today, we’re excited to announce a new way for people to now find and shop for their favorite products with the full launch of TikTok Shop in the U.S.,” reads the company announcement. “TikTok Shop will now bring shoppable videos and livestreams directly to For You feeds across the country, and give brands, merchants and creators the tools to sell directly through shoppable content on the TikTok app.”
“TikTok has made it frighteningly easy to buy — it’s literally a swipe and the product is on its way to you,” said Lee Parkhurst, Senior Brand Manager at Educational Insights, the first toy brand to test out TikTok Shop. “We’ve been able to sell lots and lots and lots of products, to the point that TikTok is quickly becoming one of our larger [points of sale],” he shared in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.
Here’s what TikTok Shop has on tap:
- In-feed video and live shopping: Users canshop tagged products directly from videos and Lives in the For You feed;
- A product showcase where users can browse products, read reviews and purchase directly from a favorite brand’s profile. Businesses can also curate custom product collections directly on their profile page;
- The Shop tab, a centralized marketplace hub where businesses can display their products and customers can easily search and discover promotions. Product recommendations are showcased via product listings and shoppable content, and customers can also manage their orders here;
- An affiliate program that allows creators to connect with sellers through commission-based product marketing opportunities. Creators can share products in short videos and livestreams, and sellers can choose the Affiliate plan that’s the right fit for their brand;
- TikTok Shop ads, offering sellers more opportunities to promote their TikTok Shops;
- Fulfilled by TikTok (FBT): A new logistics solution that lets merchants focus on their products while TikTok Shop stores, picks, packs and then ships sellers’ products to customers. Previously, TikTok had only shared the availability of FBT in the U.K.; and
- Secure checkout: TikTok has partnered with third-party payment platforms to facilitate transactions on TikTok Shop and to ensure a quick, smooth and secure checkout process. The company also reiterated that all TikTok-protected U.S. user data is stored in the U.S. and managed by the U.S. Digital Service (USDS).
Additional functionality is enabled by an ecosystem of business partners in the new TikTok Shop App & Service Store, including:
- Commerce platform partners: TikTok offers merchants the tools to connect directly from their favorite commerce platforms; for example, Shopify merchants can manage their TikTok Shop directly from Shopify through the TikTok for Shopify App. TikTok also offers direct integrations and connectors with WooCommerce, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, BigCommerce, Magento and others. Merchants also can integrate TikTok Shop with these commerce platforms through a variety of connector apps such as Aftership, Silk, SKUIQ, CEDCommerce and ShoppeDance.
- Multi-channel partners: For merchants running omnichannel businesses, TikTok is partnering with leading multi-channel platforms including Channel Advisor, Feedonomics, Productsup, Pipe17, GoDataFeed, SellerCloud, Linnworks, ChannelEngine, ShoppingFeed and Cymbio.
- Additional apps and services: Creators and sellers can choose from a variety of apps to drive seamless ecommerce operations, including Zendesk, Gorgias and 1440 for customer service; Printful, Printify and NovaTomato for print-on-demand merchandise; Yotpo for reviews; and shipping services from WeeBee, Flowspace and Easyship.