TikTok has revealed it is beta testing shoppable short-form video posts, allowing influencers on the platform to place social commerce links within their posts. The test was first revealed by a TikTok engineer on a popular Chinese web forum and later shared by Fabien Bern, founder of Chinese influencer agency Uplab, who posted an example of a shoppable video post via his Twitter account. The video included a post by an account called Huxley the Panda Puppy that shows a dog running around in a panda costume. The link in the post directed the user to the creator’s dedicated Amazon page.
It isn’t clear yet as to whether or not the feature will roll out to TikTokers in the 26.5 million monthly users in the US, but a spokesperson of the company said: “we’re always experimenting with new ways to improve the app experience for our users.” TikTok does already allow brands to run shoppable ads on the platform, but this would mean users shop for products directly from the creators.
It seems to have taken a leaf out of Instagram’s book as Instagram also focused on social commerce with the launch of its in-app checkout for brands earlier this year. From the click on the brand item to checkout, it allows users’ to shop without leaving the app.
“The in-app transaction experience is the next evolution of social commerce. Linking to an external e-commerce site begins to monetise the browsing experience, but it’s a bit disjointed for the consumer. As the transaction moves from a linked e-commerce site to an in-app function, brands need to ensure they’re creating an in-app purchase experience that’s consistent with, and connected to, a consumer’s overall experience with the brand – even though they don’t own the channel,” said Darin Archer, chief strategy officer at Elastic Path.
TikTok getting on board with social commerce highlights the fact that the platform is experimenting with ways it can appeal to potential advertisers and creators wanting to commercialise their content.
“A brand’s future TikTok e-commerce experience will need to talk to other commerce touchpoints like the web store to facilitate seamless transactions. Otherwise, you’ll lose shopper engagement. I think we’ll continue to see other platforms working up to this level of in-app social commerce that really turns browsing into buying,” continued Archer.