TikTok’s next move to compete with Facebook might be to add an in-app shopping feature, according to a new report from Bloomberg. The publication writes that TikTok is testing in-app sales in Europe by partnering with several brands, including UK-based streetwear company Hype.
TikTok’s made some shopping moves in the past, like giving creators the ability to sell merchandise through an integration with Teespring, partnering with Shopify, and reportedly working on some kind of live-video informercial product. This new prototype sounds more like how shopping’s been integrated on Instagram, with a separate shopping tab under a brand’s account that lists products with images and prices, Bloomberg writes.
The Hype account page currently does show what looks like a shopping section (though it’s blank for my US account) and the company did confirm to Bloomberg that it was participating in the test. We’ve also reached out to TikTok for further confirmation the shopping test is happening.
Shopping and TikTok seem like they could have a real peanut butter and jelly type of relationship. The bite-sized length and “stickiness” of TikTok videos seem perfectly suited for advertising, while the passive watching that TikTok encourages (at least in me) makes it easy to consume a lot of content. So far, this shopping prototype doesn’t sound quite as video-focused as whatever informercial-style feature TikTok was previously considering, but I wouldn’t be too surprised to see links to the hypothetical shopping tab littered throughout a brand or creator’s videos at some point in the future.
It’s also more or less exactly what Facebook’s on its way to doing with Instagram, its TikTok competitor Reels, and the normal Facebook app itself. The company went on a slightly different kind of shopping spree in 2020, adding commerce functionality like the previously mentioned shopping tab, product information in Reels, and it hasn’t stopped there. Facebook is also testing sticker ads in Stories.
Wherever TikTok lands with shopping, tests like these seem to show the viral video app is ready to take advantage of its status as a household name and grow — whether it’s shopping or spreading TikTok features across other apps.