Tik Tok freezes the expansion of its e-commerce functionalities

August 8, 2022 by
Frank Calviño

Tik Tok won't expand its e-commerce functionalities to Europe. The Chinese social networking titan intended to launch its online shopping service in Europe in the coming months, but has decided to stop the project.

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In China, ByteDance, Tik Tok’s parent company, was able to triple its sales year after year, selling more than 10 billion products on its e-commerce integration using Tik Tok, mostly via Live Shopping. But it has not been able to replicate this success in the West. 

The new functionality to buy and sell from TikTok landed in the West a few months ago under the name of TikTok Shops, initially exclusively in the United Kingdom. Thanks to this tool, the social network allows brands or influencers to broadcast live videos and sell their items, which can be purchased directly from the app, while it takes a commission for each purchase. But the experience did not yield the same results it did in Asia. 

According to the Financial Times, Tik Tok sales in the UK using live shopping via its platform failed to reach the expected levels, and the platform itself - Tik Tok - also failed at enticing influencers to use the Live Shopping functionalities. This, despite the company offering cash incentives to encourage brands and well-known individuals to sell through the app. 

Tik Tok social selling turned into labor complaints

In addition, a Financial Times investigation last month revealed that there was a mass exodus of staff from the company's e-commerce team in London, complaining of an aggressive work culture imposed by the company's Chinese leadership. The newspaper called it 'culture shock'.

Following this, the manager in charge of TikTok Shops in Europe, Joshua Ma, was replaced, and now, a few months later, it appears that European expansion plans are at a complete standstill.

The company has assured that it will focus on the UK and has also launched its e-commerce in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. 

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