TikTok Launches eCommerce Feature in US

TikTok has reportedly entered the U.S. eCommerce market, competing with the likes of Amazon as well as other social media brands looking to become shopping destinations.

As Semafor reported Friday (Nov. 11), TikTok users can now purchase items via the app with a feature known as TikTok Shop. Previously available in the U.K. and parts of Southeast Asia, the feature is now being tested in the U.S.

A source told Semafor that TikTok — owned by Chinese social media company ByteDance — has begun inviting select U.S. businesses to participate in the initiative, which means livestreamers from China and other places who sell merchandise on TikTok will need to continue directing shoppers to third-party websites.

However, the same source said TikTok has told international merchants that they will eventually be permitted to begin selling via TikTok Shop.

TikTok last week reportedly made changes to its U.S. leadership team in a bid to become less dependent on advertising and seek revenue from features like gaming and live shopping.

The launch comes amid a flurry of social selling activity from other companies, as PYMNTS noted recently.

Last week saw YouTube debut its “From YouTube to You” initiative, which includes a series of videos, live streams and Shorts that feature popular creators who curate recommendations for gifts and exclusive product drops and deals.

Amazon also recently teamed up with Snapchat for a partnership that pairs Amazon’s massive catalog of assets with Snap’s augmented reality try-on technology.

This is all happening as U.S. consumers are spending more time engaging on social platforms. According to the PYMNTS report “The ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Who’s Who Of The Digital Social Scene Edition,” roughly 18% of all adults in America “now connect with friends, family, and romantic partners online as part of their daily routine.”

Compare that to December, when approximately 15% of the adult population said they counted digital communication as part of their routine each day.