The video-sharing social media platform TikTok is joining the growing list of social media platforms to enter the ecommerce world.
The popularity of TikTok has soared since the beginning of the pandemic, which means its number of users has made it a potentially lucrative market for commerce.
Recently, TikTok produced its very first livestream shopping event where people could buy products directly on the platform.
“We think it’s a really significant moment,” said Rich Waterworth, its general manager for the UK and EU. “eCommerce is a big opportunity for TikTok and it’s something we’re investing in significantly.”
Beyond TikTok, whether it’s make-up or sportswear, food or appliances, we are increasingly browsing, discovering, and shopping on social media.
Retailers raced to push their products from the physical to the digital world as stores began to close during the pandemic.
In turn, social media platforms have met businesses halfway by developing their commerce capabilities so that businesses can sell directly on their platforms.
Between 2019 and 2020, the number of social media shoppers has ballooned by 25%, reaching around 80 million people.
By 2023 that number is expected to hit the 100 million milestone.
Looking at these eyewatering numbers, TikTok has chosen to move into the retail space, blending its entertainment and creative content with commerce.
Previously, TikTok has delved into livestream shopping experiences before with brands, for example over the Black Friday weekend. But now it is producing as well as hosting its own events tied to influencers, quizzes, and music.
“People who have a shared interest or a shared love for a creator or a product area,” said Rich, “these communities come together and make the experience of finding and enjoying those products more interesting.”
He added that: “So when you bring these two things together, the power of the TikTok community and the brands… it’s really exciting.”
As social media platforms are experimenting with retail, and making it easier for consumers to shop, they get a cut of the action from sales that are make through their platform.
When it comes to TikTok, it is home to more than one billion monthly users around the world. What’s more, its own research showed that one in four research products or make a purchase after watching a video on TikTok.
Looking at these numbers, TikTok certainly has the power to convert huge numbers of content consumers to commerce consumers.
“It’s so incredibly quick, easy and seamless,” said Kate Hardcastle, a retail expert. “It takes away the barriers. You don’t really think of it as shopping it’s part of a conversation with someone, which is something you’re getting less experience of on the shop floor these days.
“I absolutely think if you’re a retailer and not going into these huge growth areas that are relevant to your target market then more fool you.”