If you’re a social video platform, and you’re looking for a launch date for a major ecommerce expansion in the United States, November and December are good months to choose. According to The Financial Times, TikTok is looking to roll out live shopping in the United States during the holiday season.
The FT report claims that TikTok will enlist a partner to provide a “turnkey solution” for its ecommerce push. The app has reportedly enlisted TalkShopLive, a live shopping startup that snagged $6 million in VC funding last year. Should the deal go through, TalkShopLive would provide TikTok with technology that would let U.S.-based users sell products on live streams. To encourage adoption, TikTok could cover the 10% commission TalkShopLive takes from all sales made on its platform.
“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,” reads a TikTok statement shared by FT. “These efforts include exploring partnerships which further support a seamless ecommerce experience for merchants, which is an important part of our ecosystem.”
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There’s another reason why TikTok is looking to outsource its ecommerce development: The company’s in-house efforts to build out its TikTok Shop brand have produced mixed results. The app often drives viewers to purchases, and it has spawned a massive creator economy in Asia, but its live shopping expansion flopped in the West earlier this year.
In July, the Financial Times reported on the discord that doomed TikTok Shop in the U.K. Among other issues, the ecommerce platform delivered low traffic and insufficient sales. Local influencers stopped bothering with the Shop, and TikTok’s British workforce reportedly clashed with Chinese leadership. The consensus, according to one employee, was that the market “just isn’t there yet.”
The stateside market revs up around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that’s when TikTok is most likely to test the ecommerce waters in the U.S. The platform is reportedly looking to bring “large brands” on board in hopes of drawing in American consumers and succeeding where some of its rivals have failed. Facebook, for example, recently shut down its live shopping platform.
FT noted that no contracts have been signed, so the agreement between TikTok and TalkShopLive is not yet set in stone. If all goes according to plan, TikTok Shop could launch in the U.S. as soon as November.