TikTok Makes Finding New Products Entertaining — And That's Great for E-Commerce

TikTok Makes Finding New Products Entertaining

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Original Article: cheddar

TikTok has been quietly building up its e-commerce business throughout the years and now it looks like it may be preparing to set up shop in the U.S.

Recent job listings show the company is trying to reach potential employees stateside for unnamed fulfillment centers. These warehouses would be capable of storing and organizing shipping products to customers, who theoretically might buy items directly from the TikTok clips they view.

When asked about the posts TikTok would not confirm expansion to the U.S.

“We’re focused on providing a valuable shopping experience in countries where TikTok Shop is currently offered across Southeast Asia and the UK, which includes providing merchants with a range of product features and delivery options,” said a TikTok spokesperson.

“The e-commerce industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years and has become a hotly contested space amongst leading Internet companies, and its future growth cannot be underestimated,” one listing read. “With millions of loyal users globally, we believe TikTok is an ideal platform to deliver a brand new and better e-commerce experience to our users.”

Social media in general has proven to be a good mouthpiece for brands trying to sell products online. Data from Insider Intelligence reveals that while the majority of people still rely on a friend or trusted person’s opinion when buying a product, 46 percent have been swayed by influencers online. The number of social media users who shop on the platforms are expected to reach 102.6 million people in 2022 and grow to 114.3 million people by 2025.

“It makes sense, big picture, for any social platform to be getting into social commerce,” said Eric Dahan, CEO of influencer marketing company Open Influence. “I think them [TikTok] doing it from the standpoint of integrated fulfillment just means they’re going to have a lot more control over the customer experience, the same way Amazon does.

Amazon Prime controls shipping time, coordination with merchants, and knows exactly what sells well, he points out.

“That’s going to give TikTok better control over the customer experience as well,” Dahan added.

For TikTok specifically, about one out of four people have been “inspired” to make a purchase, according to Insider Intelligence, with 15 percent of those surveyed directly making a purchase. The platform may have a leg up because many see it as a form of entertainment rather than a traditional social platform. A 2021 survey by GWI and Imgur said one out four U.S. social media users said entertainment was a growing influence that drove them to stay on platforms.

Dahan points to TikTok’s success in the music industry, becoming a discovery vehicle for both listeners and record labels to find new artists, More than 176 different songs in TikTok Sounds surpassed one billion video viewss in 2020, a year where live music was mostly shut down.

About 90 songs that went viral also made it onto the U.S. Billboard Top 100 charts that year, and more than 70 TikTok artists signed major record label deals.

With users looking up #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt to see what new items should be on their radars, Dahan thinks it could revolutionize the way people shop. While it may never be the place for finding basics like paper towels and toilet paper, it may help consumers find new items.

“TikTok specifically has seen a lot of early success in being a great discovery engine,” Dahan said. “The whole #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt trend just really speaks to the fact that TikTok is really good for sharing novel information.”

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