TikTok helps its users profit from ecommerce. Now it’s starting to ship and sell products itself.

By 06/28/2023
TikTok helps its users profit from ecommerce. Now it’s starting to ship and sell products itself.

TikTok is taking on Amazon.

The ByteDance-owned app is reportedly expanding its ecommerce division by launching a retail operation in the United States. Rather than offering items that are supplied by third-party brands, TikTok will use its new store to sell, package, and ship merchandise from its own inventory.

That distinction separates the new initiative from TikTok Shop, the app’s marketplace for creator-designed and brand-affiliated products. According to Yahoo! News, TikTok will handle customer service and logistics for its forthcoming operation. Items on sale will include kitchen gadgets and toys.

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The wares will be displayed through a digital storefront on the TikTok app. In the United Kingdom, that virtual shop has already arrived. According to The Financial Times, some U.K.-based TikTok users are seeing a hub called Trendy Beat, where video-tested items are available. Trendy Beat’s inventory is shipped from China.

TikTok told The Financial Times that it is currently testing Trendy Beat. “We are always exploring new ways to enhance our community’s experience, and we are in the early stages of experimenting with new shopping features,” reads a statement from the company.

Last year, TikTok signaled its digital retail ambitions when it posted jobs related to Amazon-style fulfillment centers. With Trendy Beat on its way to the United States, TikTok has inked partnerships with warehouses and logistics firms. Meanwhile, Amazon is edging into TikTok’s territory with a new vertical shopping feed.

Trendy Beat won’t just be competing with Amazon — the platform will also take on China’s ecommerce giants. Corporations like Temu and Shein have made billions through international retail. TikTok wants a piece of that pie, especially in the West. If Trendy Beat proves successful, it could convince more small businesses to sell on TikTok Shop, which is in need of more vendors in the U.S.

But the U.S. government is already skeptical of Temu and Shein, and TikTok’s decision to follow those companies into retail could reignite regulatory fervor in Washington. Some Senators are ready to crack down on TikTok’s international transactions, and their proposed laws could affect Trendy Beat, too.

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