TikTok launched a shopping feature in March 2023 to help consumers find more product selections and assist merchants in better managing orders within TikTok Shop. TikTok Shop announced its Shopping Center function first in Malaysia. This is because of increased demand from users in Asia. The feature is easily accessible under the ‘Shop’ tab and will benefit users and merchants by making their purchasing and selling processes inside the TikTok app much easier. This feature will allow users to continue to enjoy the platform’s interesting and enjoyable video content while also providing an option for them to shop.
According to Wilson Leong, the TikTok Shop Malaysia FMCG category director, “For businesses, we hope this feature can help them grow to be discovered more easily and gain more new customers, leveraging the power of the TikTok community.”
Since the feature is still fresh and untested, it is not easy to say for sure how it’ll affect businesses just yet. As with any change, it’s going to vary depending on the different target audiences out there and the types of items being sold on the platform. However, it is not a common way of reaching customers. Businesses have been able to take advantage of the platform before this feature was added by adding contact details in captions whenever they are selling something. Having this new ‘shopping feature’ could make it easier for customers who normally would have to go through multiple apps to acquire all the details necessary to make a purchase due to the integration of payment and accounting platforms. So far TikTok has partnered with shopping partners such as Shopify, Square, and Wix.
Businesses can sign up for an account, but must wait for clearance and approval for two to three days and then can begin selling on TikTok Shopping as soon as they receive an email of authorization in countries where the feature has been launched. TikTok shopping has so far been rolled out in the United Kingdom and a couple of Asian countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines, and Singapore.
With a user base of more than a billion, TikTok would naturally expand into e-commerce at some point, especially given the rising popularity of social purchasing. It could not be the best platform for your business, like any other platform. However, it is most likely that your ideal customer is using the platform, think about setting up shop there and monitoring how things develop, especially when launched in Zambia!
All views expressed in this article are for general information purposes only and are solely based on my research and opinions.