TikTok may appear to be an unstoppable global entertainment juggernaut, but at least one aspect of the business’s offering isn’t exactly taking off. According to the Financial Times, TikTok is pulling back its live commerce plans in Europe and the US after initial launches were clearly unsuccessful.
Beginning with a multi-brand event named “On Trend” in December of last year, TikTok has been trying live shopping in the UK since late last year. However, according to the FT, such retail livestreams haven’t generated a lot of interest or sales, and several of the producers involved in early TikTok Shop ventures have quit entirely. By now, TikTok had planned to roll out Shop in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. It also hoped to debut in the US later this year. However, the company has now told the Financial Times that its current priority is ensuring the product’s success in the UK. Additionally, it is practiced in a number of Asian nations where the idea is more developed.
For TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, live online commerce driven by artists and influencers is a huge industry. The live sales on Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok that is also owned by ByteDance, have grown into significant cultural events that generate significant revenue for platforms, producers, and sellers alike.
However, there isn’t much proof to date that the live e-commerce model will be successful anywhere. A lot of platforms have attempted to make live shopping work, but none have been successful to far. Sure, QVC and the Home Shopping Network were once tremendous hits in the US, and more and more users are purchasing goods through Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Additionally, there will be tremendous rivalry to host social shopping as it continues to expand. Even Amazon has made significant investments in shopping streams!
TikTok shouldn’t be disregarded, though. The app is still a major center of culture where many people spend their time and increasingly, their money. No one can doubt TikTok’s dedication to the concept either; the business has been developing and testing specialized retail experiences for more than a year and is presently testing a TikTok Shop tab in the app in Indonesia. TikTok is most likely the business that can make live social shopping successful outside of Asia. That’s a huge if, though.