TikTok turns every video into a shopping experience

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The Future. TikTok is testing a new feature where every video on the app would become shoppable. This could transform TikTok’s stature as a mostly entertainment platform and turn anyone who has great style into an overnight influencer if the platform’s algorithm keeps linking to best-selling products.

Repeat business
TikTok is a mall now.

  • The new feature automatically identifies objects in videos and prompts viewers to “find similar items on TikTok Shop,” providing a page of product links.
  • Users won’t receive any commissions from sales, which is meant to discourage everyone from becoming a salesperson (a criticism of TikTok Shop so far).
  • Tests have had mixed results, with some recommendations not matching the original items in a meaningful way (and knockoff items are still a big issue).

Retailers will likely love the feature, considering that TikTok’s holiday push for Shop last year spurred five million new customers on the platform. The new feature could drive even more sales.

And while the feature is a major expansion of TikTok Shop’s overall footprint, the company is also doubling down on catering to creators. It’s opening several studios, including one in LA, where influencers can build sets and livestream to TikTok Shop, QVC-style. It’s a model that’s gone gangbusters in China.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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