TikTok plans to bring its live shopping “TikTok Shop” feature to North America using outsourced technology, according to The Financial Times. It’ll reportedly be launched “over the next month with large brands” to take advantage of holiday shopping.
TikTok Shop is based on a similar, successful feature on TikTok’s sister app Douyin in China, and is available in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Last year, it launched in the UK — the only country with availability outside of Asia.
A similar feature on Douyin has reportedly hosted 9 million live ecommerce broadcasts per month, selling over 10 billion products in a single year from May 2021 to May 2022 — triple what it did the previous year. However, TikTok Shop apparently hasn’t fared as well in the UK, and because of that, TikTok postponed a planned launch elsewhere in Europe.
The underlying technology will supposedly be provided by the US company TalkShopLive, which will also support livestreams hosted by influencers and brands. The agreements are still under discussion and “no contracts have been signed,” according to the FT.
TikTok didn’t deny or confirm upcoming US availability. “When it comes to market expansion for TikTok Shop we are always guided by demand and are constantly exploring new and different options for how we can best serve our community, creators and merchants in markets around the world,” the company told the FT. “These efforts include exploring partnerships which further support a seamless ecommerce experience for merchants, which is an important part of our ecosystem.”
The report comes just a day after rival Facebook abandoned its own Live Shopping feature. Facebook is now asking merchants to showcase products via Reels, Reels ads and product tagging on Instagram Reels. Last year, TikTok started testing a Shopping tab, letting business users add their profiles, sync their product catalogues and link to their online stores. It has also previously piloted live shopping in the US, most notably with Walmart.