TikTok Shop is live in the USA in the first public testing phase. The social network's new venture for creators, partners, brands, and affiliates to offer their products on the social network is now available to some users in the United States.
In a direct challenge to other major players in the sector, such as Amazon, for the moment, TikTok Shop only offers low-cost products from China.
As reported by Bloomberg, TikTok Shop will compete with Amazon in its goal of reaching 20 billion dollars (about 18.648 billion euros) in sales by 2023. Specifically, the company's goal is to take advantage of the app's potential to connect people according to their specific interests. However, the cited media details that the initial experience does not reflect the "ultra-personalized" algorithm that characterizes TikTok in its video feed, a key aspect to attracting its users. Similarly, TikTok is processing payments through its app, so the company will also collect additional information about users, which could intensify U.S. regulatory concerns.
In parallel, TikTok Shop also faces other challenges. According to the report, the platform offers a wide range of options in various product categories and subcategories, which can be "annoying" for users.
Following the AliExpress model, TikTok Shop also generates a sense of urgency by displaying the number of times a product has been purchased and a timer indicating the time remaining for a promotion. The idea is to foster or benefit from impulse shopping, which has become the bread-and-butter marketing strategy for social selling.
As for product descriptions, most seem more focused on search engines and algorithms than shoppers. An example is the description of a yoga short: "Smiley yoga shorts with tummy control, butt enhancement and gathers on the 3-piece women's high waist."
The Bloomberg report further points to reviews, which "can be misleading when it comes to products sold by third parties." It has been noted that products from a seller on TikTok Shop are not priced the same as listed on the brand's website, and the manufacturing location mentioned needs to be corrected. Similarly, according to the publication, several Chinese brands have been identified on TikTok Shop that were banned from Amazon due to manipulation of buyer reviews.
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