While in-app shopping hasn’t caught on the way that social apps may have hoped, TikTok, for one, is continuing to push ahead with its in-stream commerce initiatives, launching a new purchase process with selected retailers in the app.
As reported by AdAge, a selection of US retailers now appear to have a new in-stream shopping tab activated on their profiles.
As per AdAge:
“Brands in the beta so far include Pacsun, pop culture products boutique Three Little Mingos and beauty brand KimChi Chic. Apparel retailers Revolve and Willow Boutique also appear to be part of the test. TikTok is not confirming or naming merchants as part of the testing phase, according to a spokesperson.”
As you can see in the example screens above, the in-stream shopping flow includes a shop overview and a direct purchase flow, all within the app itself, as opposed to the regular TikTok shop process, which reverts users back to the retailers website to convert.
TikTok has seen big success with in-stream commerce in China, with the Chinese version of the app, called Douyin, generating the majority of its revenue from in-app purchases.
But thus far, western users have not been as enthusiastic about buying in-stream. Live shopping has been Douyin’s big push, but while every social app has seemingly tried out a variation of live shopping, all have since scaled back, as adoption has been relatively low. Just this week, Instagram rolled back its live shopping elements.
Following the pandemic, which saw a surge in online shopping, many experts predicted that this would change the way consumers looked to buy, and would usher in a new wave of eCommerce growth, but as soon as physical stores re-opened, most people went back to their regular shopping habits.
TikTok, in particular, has felt the sting of this, as it’s reliant on in-stream purchases as part of its broader plan to offer more revenue potential to creators in the app. If TikTok users don’t follow similar patterns to those on Douyin, that will limit TikTok’s revenue opportunities, and force it to consider other options – which is why it continues to test out more eCommerce tools and options, in the hopes of re-engaging users in the process.
Will that work? I mean, data shows that more and more TikTok users are referring to the app as a search engine of sorts, and the logical expansion of that would be in-stream shopping, and making purchases as a result of that search activity.
It seems like it could still be a viable pathway to broader success and income for the app, and maybe, through direct integration like this, TikTok will be able to draw in more users that are willing to buy in-stream.
We’ll keep you updated on any progress.