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TikTok pushes E-Commerce Functions

It is being discussed online that TikTok is testing an "Order Center" button and thus pushes e-commerce functions in the app. The Order Center offers users an overview of purchases they have made and it can also track which products they were previously interested in. What else should marketers know about TikTok's shopping ambitions? Take a look at the Kolsquare blog to find out.

Woman surrounded by shopping bags
Woman surrounded by shopping bags

Social media consultant and industry analyst Matt Navarra tweeted about the latest feature on TikTok: The Order Center button aims to encourage in-app shopping. Additionally, the button, which currently only appears on some profiles, does so by tracking what users have purchased or viewed on the app, or what they may simply be interested in. The e-commerce page then provides an overview of all TikTok purchases, as well as payment details, saved items, recommendations, and so on.

Thus, TikTok continues to try to push further in the direction of e-commerce. In the Chinese version Douyin, this feature is already a hit. Above all, revenue is generated from in-stream e-commerce integration, which simplifies monetization and organic promotions for creators. As a result, new ways of collaboration on the app are opening up, especially for influencer marketing.

E-commerce on Social Media and Why TikTok Needs to Find Solutions

Back in November 2021, ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, launched the shopping app Fanno on the European market. According to the Google Play Store, Fanno offers “high-quality products at amazing prices” and 30-day buyer protection. The online magazine Protocol, which mainly informs readers about topics in tech, business and politics, assumes that TikTok will eventually also target the U.S. market and thus challenge Facebook and Amazon.

So far, the Western audience, in contrast to the Chinese, does not seem to be reacting with the same enthusiasm to the social commerce forays of the company. For instance, Facebook is similarly struggling. Meta will stop experimenting with live shopping on Facebook, Business Insider reports. Instead, the company plans to focus on projects like its Metaverse. Instagram, on the other hand, continues to try its hand at live shopping experiments.

Although it remains to be seen how in-app e-commerce TikTok will perform, the company has little choice but to test new monetization features. That is because many creators are frustrated with the revenue sharing on the video app. Even though TikTok is still particularly popular with Generation Z, creators are threatening to switch (back) to YouTube if the app does not improve direct monetization.

Another reason for the urgency of expanding e-commerce in the app is the general economic situation, which could result in TikTok’s restructuring as well as layoffs. As Wired reported in July 2022, TikTok joins the ranks of companies that have halted hiring or even made layoffs. At the same time, however, the layoffs are expected to be limited to no more than 100 individuals, former employees told Wired.

How Does Social Commerce Work on TikTok?

Since as early as November 2019, TikTok has been testing features designed to enable the sale and purchase of products within the app. The so-called social commerce is therefore an opportunity for brands to promote products with the help of creators on TikTok and to generate sales. TikTok’s cooperation with Shopify is also interesting for marketers, but more about it later.

Although mainly GenZ and Millenials are TikTok’s target group, the young consumers seem to be willing to spend money on the app. Between 2018 and 2019, American users spent more than $23m on the virtual currency that can be used to send emojis and the like.

The TikTok Open Shop platform is for sellers, ERP providers and ISVs alike. TikTok offers sellers API integration solutions for order management, inventory synchronization, product listing, and logistics management, among other things, which are designed to increase the efficiency of your e-commerce. ERP vendors have the ability to source and sell products, check and control inventory, manage customer service and finances through TikTok with one-stop e-commerce integration, all without in-house development. Global merchants and ISV can also integrate third-party SAAS tools through B2B e-commerce services, streamlining the entire process of merchant operations that help TikTok-only sellers.

Getting started for merchants should be quick and easy: Interested parties need to apply for qualification. All they need to do is register an account and sign up as a developer. The application is then reviewed and approved by Open Platform administrators. Application categories are then selected and the creation of those is requested. In the developer manual you can read how TikTok Open API can be integrated. Then all that follows is the release of the TikTok store. Now this is all very technical and especially interesting for developers, le tus talk about the IM side now or register here directly.

Is TikTok Becoming an Online Marketplace?

Using promo codes via Shopify to market your products on social media is now even easier with Kolsquare: just sync your Shopify e-shop account with Kolsquare:

TikTok has long had a Creator Marketplace (TMC), which is the official platform that brings brands and creators together on TikTok. If you want to start an influencer marketing campaign on TikTok, you should use the TMC to easily collaborate with creators. With TikTok, you can search and find influencers, then start the partnership and get valuable insights into the performance of your work. Of course, this is a different marketplace and not an online shop, but it should not go unmentioned because of the conceptual similarity.

In 2021, the app launched a pilot in the US and UK in cooperation with Shopify. In the first half of this year, the company then planned to bring TikTok Shop to Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, and later to the United States. But as consumers were less than enthusiastic and sales remained low, TikTok has abandoned its expansion plans for now, employees told the Financial Times. In Asia, and especially China, live shopping is very popular, as mentioned. Consequently, it remains to be seen whether TikTok’s new attempt with the Order Center in Europe and the U.S. will be crowned with success or the general awareness of consumers and their acceptance will remain low.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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