TikTok Shop went live in the U.S. on Tuesday, according to a blog post by the social media company. The move adds an e-commerce element to the popular app and will enable its 150 million U.S.-based users to find and shop for products within the app. The initiative brings shoppable videos and live streams directly to users’ feeds.
The available in-shop tools include the ability for businesses to create custom product collections on their profile page. A shop tab allows businesses to display their products and customers can see product recommendations and manage orders within one tab.
- To support businesses with the launch of in-app e-commerce, the company also introduced its TikTok Shop Seller Center app. The separate app includes tools that allow merchants to connect directly from other e-commerce platforms like Shopify. TikTok said it also offers direct integrations to other platforms like Salesforce.
TikTok is the latest social media platform to introduce an e-commerce element. The company quietly began testing its Shop offering late last year, just ahead of the holiday shopping season, Semafor reported at the time.
TikTok Shop also offers an affiliate program that enables creators to connect with sellers through a commission-based program. Merchants can also take advantage of a logistics solution where TikTok Shop handles product storage, picking, packing and shipping. TikTok said it works with third-party payment platforms to operate a secure checkout system.
In March, TikTok said it had become “the preferred platform for nearly 5 million businesses.”
The pervasive popularity of the app, especially with Generations Alpha, Z and younger Millennials – people in the young teen to early 30s demographic – has drawn unfavorable attention from local, state and federal officials, who have expressed concerns over how the app handles privacy.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance, a Chinese-based company. More than half of U.S. states currently restrict or ban the app from government-owned digital devices. TikTok also faces federal investigations over its privacy practices.
TikTok said all U.S. user data and payment information is stored and managed in accordance with American laws and policies. “From discovery to purchase, TikTok is committed to providing a safe and secure environment that allows our community to shop with confidence,” the company said.
“In addition, all product listings must adhere to TikTok Shop policies and Community Guidelines,” the company said. “We use a combination of technology and manual moderation to enforce our policies and will remove merchants and products we find break our rules.”
Despite the legal concerns, 75% of U.S. marketers expected to increase their spending on TikTok in the next 12 months, according to a survey conducted this spring by Capterra, sister publication Marketing Dive reported. Eight-seven percent of those surveyed said they believed TikTok is a viable platform for long-term marketing.