Will Tiktok dismantle the social commerce code?

With Tiktok Shop, the Chinese entertainment platform entered social commerce in the United Kingdom and the United States, before possibly attacking the European Union.

When one of his teeth breaks, the other steps forward with his pawn. Meta removed the Instagram shopping tab in January 2023 and closed the Facebook live shopping feature in October 2022? Tiktok publishes Tiktok Shop in the United Kingdom (2021) and in the United States (November 2022). It must be said that social commerce in China accounted for a quarter of e-commerce sales in 2022, according to Statista figures from July 2022. In April 2023, sales of Douyin, the Chinese version of Tiktok, by 69% More than a year ago when the number of Tmall and JD e-commerce merchants increased by 11 and 12%, respectively, over the same period.

Positive results in the United Kingdom

Foxintelligence, which in April 2023 presented an assessment of the French e-commerce in the first quarter of 2023, made a study thanks to the sales of the consumer panel on Tiktok in the UK over a 12-month period. Most buyers there are women (61%) and come mainly from Generation Z (from 1995), which accounts for 60% of buyers, compared to 29% in Generation Y (1980-1994) and 10% in Generation X (1960-1979). . The categories women are most interested in on Tiktok are beauty, which accounts for 29% of the products they have purchased, ahead of apparel (17%) and home accessories (13%). Men buy electronic goods (16% of products purchased), beauty products (12%) and toys (11%).

According to Foxintelligence, Tiktok commands 17% of its customers’ beauty budget, behind Amazon (23%). during the conference Publicis Morning Trade, held on June 20, 2023, Benjamin Guillemé, Head of Agency Partnerships for TikTok France, explained that the platform “has carried out several analytical studies with users and advertisers of Tiktok Shop, the results of which are considered very positive”. L’Oréal’s cross-channel platform campaign, which relied on creating beauty boxes with the brand’s best-selling products marketed via direct shopping, allowed L’Oréal to triple daily sales. On Tiktok according to Benjamin Guillemette.

In-app social commerce

Unlike other platforms, Tiktok offers an in-app formula. In most social commerce experiments conducted on social networks, the user had to exit the app at certain stages, like paying for example. In Tiktok, everything is managed in the app, which doesn’t break the customer journey. With Tiktok Shop, advertisers can place commercial links in organic videos, offer live shopping, or feature their products on their accounts. There is also an affiliate program: Influencers can order a brand to sell their products in live shopping or via their own organic videos.

On the logistics side, Tiktok offers different formulas. “We don’t want to be a new Amazon or a logistics provider, but we are testing,” Benjamin Guillemette explained during the Publicis Commerce Morning roundtable. The logistics could be entrusted to the advertiser, Tiktok could also offer a hybrid formula with one of its partners such as Shopify taking care of this part, or even providing warehouses for the advertisers.

Entertainment, the power of Tiktok

While social networks usually run on social graph algorithms, Tiktok offers a content graph instead. Its teams even call it the “leisure shopper.” For Benjamin Guillemet, “Tiktok had a brand image and now the platform has more of an image than a funnel. The key with Tiktok is entertainment: the purchase is made while having fun. It’s a use of discovery. The strength of the platform also lies in search, that’s where it starts Its buying journey. 40% of Gen Z place an order on Tiktok before Google.” #Tiktokmademebuyit The videos, in which users film themselves using a product spotted on Tiktok, have been viewed 61 billion times worldwide. That #Amazonfinds parameter has been viewed 55 billion times.

However, not everything is rosy for Tiktok, which has to adapt to very different uses. If in China direct shopping works very well, in Europe it is not. “There are also implementation difficulties in Europe. We thought we would deploy there more quickly. We are testing different solutions before deploying a future country in Europe,” assures Benjamin Guillemette. For the head of agency partnerships at TikTok France, if the next country in which the Tiktok Shop will be launched is indeed in Europe, it was not yet chosen last June. the financial times However, in May 2023 it revealed that the project to expand into Europe was on hold: e-commerce activities were refocused on the UK and the US. The e-commerce teams of Tiktok Spain migrated to London and the door to all sellers in the US is not yet open, as the platform is not yet sufficiently staffed.

New shopping features

However, Tiktok continues to experiment with shopping and is testing a new tab in its UK app, called Trendy Beat. In addition to the shopTrendy Beat will allow Tiktok to sell its products directly. But discussions about banning the platform in some countries could put an end to all these development projects. In a report by the Senate Investigative Committee presented to the press on July 6, 2023, Tiktok was mentioned to be banned if the company was not more transparent about its work.

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