TikTok’s plans for a live-stream shopping experience in the U.S. appear to be on the backburner.
A new report from the Financial Times suggests the TikTok Shop feature, which debuted in the U.K., has failed to gain traction outside of Asia. The program has also suffered from internal problems like influencers abandoning the program. TikTok Shop was supposed to launch in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain, followed by the United States later this year.
One of the reasons why TikTok Shop may not be performing well is that the general consumer just isn’t aware of the feature. Adoption is still low in the U.K. test market and many TikTok Shop live-streams have achieved poor sales despite support from both brands and TikTok influencers.
Livestream shopping is a huge industry in Asia, especially in China where TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is based. The Chinese version of TikTok called Douyin has seen live-stream shopping sales triple year over year. TikTok may need to make some changes to the user experience if it wants to focus on shopping.
TechCrunch reports that TikTok is testing a dedicated ‘Shop’ tab that lets users browse products. The tab will feature products from different categories like clothing, electronics, jewelry, and household items. The shopping feed tab is currently being tested in Indonesia, where it serves as a hub for items being sold via live-stream using TikTok Shop.
The move is similar to one Meta made with the Instagram platform in 2020 when it redesigned the Shop tab. It offers Instagram users a place to browse products advertised by their favorite brands and creators. Of course, Facebook Marketplace has all but replaced local swap sites like Craigslist in the last decade. TikTok may be rethinking its strategy of offering shopping to the world, but it’s likely not giving up.
ByteDance wants TikTok to replace most of the products Meta is offering, including Instagram and Facebook.