Wednesday, May 29, 2024

What You Need to Understand About TikTok’s e-Commerce Launch

TikTok was launched in 2016 and is now the most popular app in the world. The video-sharing social media channel has been downloaded more than 2 billion times and boasts an active monthly user base of 1 billion.

While TikTok is a video-sharing platform first and foremost, it has recently started branching out. Brands and businesses can now sell their own products through the TikTok Shop, a revolutionary step for the social media app. TikTok is looking to take things further, announcing plans to launch its own e-commerce arm this year. Let’s find out more.

The Launch of TikTok Shop

Live stream shopping is a new phenomenon that arose in 2020 and has become a huge success in certain Asian countries, China in particular. Influencers live-stream their shopping hauls and trips, with thousands of viewers tuning in and buying products through in-stream links.

It’s now a massive industry, estimated to be worth approximately $500 billion globally. However, while live shopping is massive in eastern countries, it hasn’t enjoyed the same success here in the west. The reasons for this are complex and multifaceted, but they haven’t stopped platforms like TikTok from pushing forward and expanding its in-app shopping features.

This year saw the launch of TikTok Shop, through which brands, retailers, and businesses can both advertise and sell products on the app. This launch was a clear indication that TikTok has no intention of remaining a purely video-focused social platform and that it wants to establish itself as the go-to e-commerce channel as well.

Since its launch, TikTok has added several new features and updates to the TikTok Shop. Purchase flows are now contained completely within the app and sellers are now able to sync product catalogs through the Seller Center.

The TikTok Shop Shopping Center

As things stand, TikTok serves as a platform through which businesses can sell products. The app is acting as an intermediary but has recently disclosed plans to expand its operations and become a manufacturer and e-commerce merchant in its own right.

Previously, TikTok was all about video content, and this is still the app’s main selling point. Millions of videos are uploaded every day, with users creating unique video content with clever editing and SFX on an enormous range of different topics.

TikTok, however, has loftier ambitions. It would appear the company wants to move past being known as merely a video-sharing social platform and challenge e-commerce giants like Amazon and Shein.

According to reports, TikTok is readying the launch of the TikTok Shop Shopping Center, a self-contained e-commerce arm of the company through which it will manufacture and sell its own products.

What Will This Mean for TikTok?

TikTok has changed considerably over the years. Once a social channel primarily for teens and young adults, it’s quickly becoming one of the most influential platforms on the internet, with users checking it for everything from breaking news to cooking recipes.

With the rollout of e-commerce services, TikTok is now becoming a top shopping destination as well. Online shopping is booming, with more and more people opting for digital stores over the high street.

TikTok is keenly aware of this trend and has taken steps to address the shifting preferences of modern consumers by allowing brands to sell products through the platform via TikTok Shop.

It would appear the company is looking to expand this new strategy with the TikTok Shop Shopping Center. Not content to be a mere intermediary, TikTok wants to become a manufacturer and take full advantage of the opportunities available in today’s e-commerce landscape.

This will likely see TikTok’s user base increase significantly. Until recently, people who were uninterested in video content had no reason to use TikTok. With these new updates, we will see an influx of new users coming to TikTok to shop, rather than for the video content it is famous for.

Could we see TikTok move away from video content to focus purely on e-commerce? That seems unlikely, but anything is possible in the world of social media. If TikTok’s new e-commerce strategy proves financially lucrative, we could well see video content sidelined in the future.

What Will This Mean for the Industry?

TikTok has become the benchmark that all other social platforms measure themselves against. We’ve seen it across Facebook and Instagram, which both launched their own short-form video features to rival TikTok.

As TikTok dives deeper into the world of e-commerce, could other social platforms follow suit? Rival channels do have their own shopping elements, but few are as extensive as those found on TikTok.

As TikTok shopping takes off, it’s likely that we will see the trend echoed across the digital sphere, with other platforms launching their own e-commerce arms to keep up with TikTok.


TikTok’s e-commerce launch has the whole world talking. It’s a totally new direction for the company and could indicate that we are about to enter a new social media era where e-commerce is the primary focus.

Lindsey Ertz
Lindsey Ertz
Lindsey, a curious soul from NY, is a technical, business writer, and journalist. Her passion lies in crafting well-researched, data-driven content that delivers authentic information to global audiences, fostering curiosity and inspiration.

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