TikTok launches in-app shopping

In this photo illustration, the TikTok app is displayed on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo Illustration by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
In this photo illustration, the TikTok app is displayed on an Apple iPhone on August 7, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo Illustration by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Photo credit Getty Images
By , WWJ Newsradio 950

All users of the TikTok video sharing app should be able shop directly from the app this fall, reported the New York Times Tuesday.

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According to the outlet, TikTok – a Chinese-owned app with 50 million daily users in the U.S. as of last August – partnered with the e-commerce platform Shopify to allow users to make purchases directly from the platform. Shopify said it expected to expand the feature to all of its merchants this fall.

The Verge described the shopping tab feature as “basically a dedicated section of a TikTok profile with a scrollable list of products,” that direct users to a merchant’s Shopify page. TikTok accounts can also link a product in a post. Earlier this year, TikTok piloted the tab with the streetwear brand Hype in the U.K.

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“In its current form, this isn’t really a full-blown monetization option for creators,” The Verge said Tuesday. “The new shopping features require a TikTok for Business account and a Shopify storefront, two things not every creator will have.”

However, it does allow some way for users to buy products in the app from the many influencers who feature clothing, makeup and household products in their videos, explained the New York Times. Previously, users were only able to purchase products through advertisements in the app.

Other social media apps and platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, already offer in-app shopping. Through this “social commerce” creators on the platforms are able to make money from their audience.

“Social commerce is important because it’s the new town square,” where consumers go to find and buy new products, Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s president, said in an interview, according to the New York Times.

Shopify said sales on its social commerce channels such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest grew 76 percent from February 2020 to February 2021.

Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s president of global business solution, said users of the app are already inspired to shop based on content hosted by the app. According to a survey TikTok conducted in the fall with the London market researcher Walnut Unlimited, two thirds of users said they were inspired to shop when using the app.

The hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit also has 4.6 billion views, the New York Times said.

Kylie Jenner’s company Kylie Cosmetics is one of the merchants that will be featured in the most recent iteration of in-app shopping on TikTok. Between her personal and company TikTok accounts, Jenner has more than 36 million followers on the app.

Social media is “where I grew my audience and community,” said Jenner in an email, according to the New York Times. “The ability to shop my products directly on these platforms is so important because that’s where our audience is going first.”

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images