- TikTok this week will host its first shoppable livestream in a collaboration with Ntwrk, a home shopping network targeting Generation Z. The companies are selling a limited-edition fashion collection designed by artist Joshua Vides, according to a press release.
- TikTok is offering early access to the collection through a video stream on TikTok Live, which for the first time will show a pop-up page that lets users buy products directly without leaving the app. Vides will appear in the livestream at 10 a.m. PT on Aug. 26, which is the second day of Ntwrk's "Transfer Festival" that celebrates culture and design, on TikTok's app and website. The collection also will be available on the Ntwrk app at 12:30 p.m.
- Vides' collection includes clothing inspired by "fit check" videos that TikTok users share of themselves wearing new outfits. T-shirts and hoodies have messages like "not going anywhere" and "here to stay" in support of TikTok, the Chinese-owned social video app that faces a possible ban in the U.S. because of national security concerns.
TikTok's collaboration with Ntwrk and artist Joshua Vides on a shoppable livestream is significant in making the social video app more transactional. By letting people buy products directly through its app, TikTok can help to convert passive viewers into active shoppers and further open its platform to retailers and direct-to-consumer brands. Support for social commerce is key for mobile marketers who seek to reach shoppers as the coronavirus pandemic drives a surge in e-commerce.
TikTok also is setting a defiant tone against the Trump administration with apparel bearing messages like "here to stay" as a deadline looms on a possible ban. Faced with that possibility, TikTok has ramped up its marketing efforts to spark support, including a push this month that aims to show how the app affects "every facet of culture." President Trump this month issued an executive order demanding that ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, divest its U.S. operations by Nov. 12. Software giants Microsoft and Oracle are reportedly in talks to buy parts of TikTok, which has emerged in the past few years as a popular social media app among Gen Z.
The platform's push into shoppable videos comes as other social channels seek to boost e-commerce revenue and diversify their overall revenue outside of digital advertising, whose growth in the next few years will slow dramatically despite a recovery from the pandemic, researcher eMarketer forecast.
TikTok's rival Instagram has taken numerous steps to build out shopping features in the past few years, most recently with the launch of an e-commerce hub called Instagram Shop. Instagram's parent company Facebook also has added more shopping features to its social network, including the rollout of Facebook Shops to help small businesses turn their profile pages into digital storefronts. Photo-messaging app Snapchat has added shopping features, such as augmented reality (AR) lenses that point to an online checkout page.
Social media apps have become more popular for shopping as they seek to connect advertisers with consumers, especially younger consumers who are more elusive to traditional media outlets like linear TV. Ninety-two percent of millennials and 97% of Gen Zers said social media is their top source for shopping ideas in a survey by installment payment service Afterpay. That power to influence shoppers makes social media platforms an almost indispensable channel for mobile marketers.