TikTok E-commerce Social Media

TikTok is Ramping Up Its E-Commerce Push

Rebbeca Ren

posted on March 5, 2021 5:29 pm

TikTok, the hit short video platform, has recently rolled out "TikTok Shop: Seller University" in Indonesia, offering a full suite of lessons on seller tools, policies, and the latest updates to the shop.

Eligible users will showcase their products on the second tab of their profile page or sell through TikTok Affiliate. They can set promotion plans and invite TikTok creators to sell for them with specific commission fees, the program introduced. 

According to the Seller University Plan, TikTok and its affiliates will provide merchants with paid delivery and payment services, and 2% of the transaction commission will be collected by the platform.

The social media app seeks business and operations employees in Indonesia, such as category supervisors, logistics operations, and business development. In its regional hub Singapore, tech positions like tech lead, software engineer, and data engineer are open for hire.

Beyond Southeast Asia, the video-sharing app is also expanding its social commerce partnership with Shopify in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia, aiming at helping sellers create in-feed shoppable ads targeting TikTok users around the world.

Earlier this month, Financial Times reported that TikTok plans an aggressive expansion into e-commerce in the US. 

The report cites sources and reveals the platform is launching a tool that allows the most popular creators to share links to products and automatically earn commissions on sales. Also, the live-streamed" shopping feature, where users can buy goods with a few taps, is rolling out. 

Several weeks ago, the viral-video platform unveiled a partnership with WPP, offering access and marketing capabilities on TikTok to the London-based advertising agency's network and clients.

TikTok also is said to have plans this year to build out the capacity of brands to place their own ads online rather than through a sales representative, the FT said.

Social media apps are fighting for e-commerce spending. Facebook has been building up the infrastructure for commerce across its owned apps for years. Facebook Shops went online last summer, and Instagram has already added the ability to tag products in Reels, its TikTok clone.

Similarly, Snap, the parent company of Gen Z's favorite chat app Snapchat, plans to run various experiments around e-commerce in 2021.

TikTok's aggressive moves into social commerce will step up its competition with Facebook, which holds 2.8 billion monthly active users worldwide, in the global market.

According to market research firm Kantar, 83% of consumers browsing TikTok say seeing trending content has inspired them to purchase. The social platform, owned by Beijing-based tech unicorn ByteDance, reportedly has 800 million active users worldwide.

Douyin, TikTok's sister app in mainland China, has made significant growth in the e-commerce sector. From January 2020 to November 2020, Douyin's gross merchandise volume (GMV) increased 11 times. Among them, the GMV of Douyin Shop, which has similar functions as TikTok Shop, increased 44.9 times. The number of newly opened stores increased by 17.3 times, data from Douyin showed.