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TikTok Launches E-commerce Initiative – “Trendy Beat”, To Rival Amazon and Shein

TikTok Launches E-commerce Initiative – “Trendy Beat”, To Rival Amazon and Shein

Short video platform TikTok now looks to compete against Amazon and Shein with Trendy Beat, its new eCommerce initiative. The company has confirmed that it’s testing the feature as a new in-app shopping section.

The new feature, which is currently being tested in the UK, offers a variety of popular items seen in trending videos. TikTok’s current eCommerce strategy is primarily based on its marketplace shop, which allows merchants to sell their products through the platform. Through Trendy Beat, however, TikTok will be selling its own products.

TikTok’s focus in the US market remains on adding new merchants to TikTok’s marketplace shop, the company reported.

TikTok confirmed that it’s not testing its new eCommerce initiative in the United States at the moment, although it might do so in the future.

However, the company did submit a trademark application for Trendy Beat in the US last month, listing apparel items like dresses, scarves, skirts, shirts, suits, sleep masks, sweaters, hats, footwear, bathing suits, etc. This is a strong indication that TikTok plans to eventually expand the feature to the US.

The platform’s eCommerce initiatives in the US are still in the early phase, but it has already developed a strong influence over the shopping habits of its users. In fact, the platform’s ability to drive impulse sales has given rise to the popular phrase “TikTok made me buy it” among influencers. The new in-app eCommerce section is likely to drive even more sales by granting users direct and easy access to products.

A Shift in TikTok’s E-commerce Strategy

The introduction of the new eCommerce feature marks a significant change in TikTok’s eCommerce strategy. Unlike TikTok’s current eCommerce model, where the app acts as a liaison between brands and their customers, the new model will see it selling its own products. This makes it pretty similar to the eCommerce model followed by Shein and Amazon Basics to promote their own products.

ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, handles the sales and shipping of the products listed in the new section.

The shift in TikTok’s strategy and the company’s decision to test the new model in the UK certainly makes sense. Although TikTok Shop has been extremely successful in Asian markets, it failed to gain much response in the UK.

One might also note that while TikTok continues to develop eCommerce features, many of its competitors have recently scaled back on the same after failing to gain traction.

Facebook shut down its live shopping feature last August, while Instagram removed the shop tab in January 2023. The latter also announced that it was dropping its live shopping efforts and would focus on advertising revenues instead.

Internally, ByteDance refers to its plan to sell its own products on a video app as “Project S”. TikTok’s knowledge of products that are becoming popular on the app plays a crucial role in Project S, allowing ByteDance to acquire or manufacture such trending products.

Whether or not TikTok’s Trendy Beat will be a success remains to be seen. If it finally manages to gain traction in the UK, there’s a high chance that TikTok will roll out the features in other markets.

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