TikTok is taking a new approach to promoting its live shopping tools in the US
Although user interest has been relatively low so far, TikTok continues to push its live commerce initiatives forward, hoping to replicate the success it has seen in China in other markets to worldwide.
After scaling back its live business push in Europe, due to various start-up issues, TikTok is now taking a new approach in the US, where it reportedly partnership with established live shopping network TalkShopLive to enhance the notoriety of its shopping programs.
TalkShopLive hosts a growing variety of live shopping feeds, covering a range of topics and product categories, and is gradually becoming a popular destination for product discovery and online shopping. The platform does not share specific user numbers, but it noted last year that sales made through TalkShopLive broadcasts were growing at a rate of about 85% month-to-month.
This was largely led by a array of popular celebrities register to sell goods through the app, including Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton, Alicia Keys and more.
TikTok will likely look to form a new partnership with TalkShopLive which will see its own live shopping shows aired on the platform, which will then help it reach more engaged and active shoppers, and further promote its commerce offerings. directly with this group. .
At the same time, TikTok is also partnership with various influencer agencies to attract the most popular creators through its online shopping tools.
As reported by Rest of the world:
“TikTok partners with influencer agencies around the world, hoping to create a strong live community with a culture of giving that can become the app’s next source of revenue. Rest of the world spoke to agents based in China, the Middle East, the US and the UK – all of whom confirmed they were working with TikTok to train their community on how best to gain an audience and solicit gifts.
So, on the one hand, TikTok seeks to maximize the reach of people looking to shop, as opposed to those who come to its app for entertainment, while on the other hand, it works with influencers to help them. understand how they can use live shopping shows to earn more money in the app.
It’s a very different approach to how TikTok has sought to build its live shopping team in the UK, with its aggressive approach to promoting the option ends up refusing both potential partners and buyers.
TikTok has however seen success with live shopping in Asian markets, with its live-commerce tools seeing growth in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.
Only western markets need to catch up, but will live trading ever spread to non-Asian regions? And if not, what is the difference between the two approaches that have seen it become massive with some audiences, but flop for others?
Live commerce is huge in China, where the local version of TikTok, called Douyin, has become a key channel to help connect streamers to earning opportunities.
This presents an opportunity for social apps – but so far TikTok, Facebook and YouTube have all been forced to recall their live-commerce efforts based on lukewarm public response.
But TikTok has to make it happen. The challenge for TikTok is that it can’t insert pre- and mid-roll ads into its short music videos, which makes it harder for creators to share revenue because it can’t then directly attribute every ad to performance. relative of a creator’s clip. .
That’s not to say TikTok doesn’t make money – TikTok brought $990 million in revenue in Europe alone last year. But without a system to pass on a relevant percentage of that revenue to creators, questions will eventually arise, and like Vine before it, top stars will want to know why TikTok is making billions off the back of their videos, when they’re fed relatively minute amounts of the same.
Once again, it was live trading that saved TikTok in China.
Douyin’, generated $119 billion in product sales via live streams in 2021a 7x increase year over year, while the number of users engaging with e-commerce live streams exceeded 384 millionalmost half of the platform’s user base.
Overall, China’s e-commerce industry grossed over $300 billion in 2021i.e. nearly half of all US e-retail market.
So it makes sense that TikTok is so keen to “achieve recovery” in Western countries as well – but increasingly it seems Western users just aren’t interested in buying from online streamers.
The Middle East is promising. According a report, some agencies are gaining traction with popular streamers in the Middle East, showing that this isn’t just an Asian trend. This has likely boosted hopes for TikTok that it can be part of this new push, but it still has its work cut out to gain widespread adoption in more regions.
It is possible, of course, and it may yet become a bigger thing at some point. But for now, it’s hard to see how TikTok will ride out the initial adoption bump and gain momentum with its live commerce offerings.
But via initiatives like these, it could, and if it is, could be a huge boost for TikTok’s broader expansion plans. Because YouTube is gaining traction with Shorts and adding its own path to monetization with Shorts Ads, you can bet top creators are looking in the direction of YouTube as a way to make money from their creativity.
Essentially, TikTok needs live trading to become a transferable trend – but whether it can do that remains the key question.
But if possible, it will open up a range of new considerations, for many brands.
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