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TikTok Shares Insights into the Growth of Shops

TikTok has published a new report on its evolving shopping marketplace, and its expanding efforts to facilitate safe and secure shopping in the app.

Which is still a work in progress. TikTok’s in-app shopping push hasn’t really caught on with Western users as yet, though in China, in-stream commerce is now the key money-maker for the local version of the app, and TikTok’s looking to use that same template to expand its presence around the world.

And as the report shows, it is seeing some success, though its progress is moving at a much slower pace than it saw in its homeland.

As per TikTok:

TikTok Shop is defining a new shopping culture, one that’s rooted in discovery, and fosters connections among sellers, creators, and the TikTok community. Since 2021, TikTok Shop has expanded from Southeast Asia to the United Kingdom, and most recently, to the United States in 2023, growing a community of more than 15 million sellers around the world. This new shopping experience empowers people to discover and buy products from their favorite creators and brands while providing brands, sellers, and creators the tools to sell products directly on the TikTok app.

TikTok Shop report

The report looks not only at the growth of TikTok Shops, but also at its evolving safety measures, and tools to protect intellectual property rights.

On that front, TikTok says that it’s implemented a range of steps to improve its systems.

  • We require all sellers to provide documentation to verify their identity, business type, and their eligibility to operate that business. We scrutinize these applications closely to comply with all applicable regulations.
  • Once a seller is approved, they are placed on probation for a period of time, meaning there is a period of time where merchants can learn the rules and be eased into their experience on the platform.
  • TikTok Shop policies, applying to both sellers and creators, are actively enforced and cur community can also report any content that they believe breaks our rules for review.

In line with this, TikTok says that it’s prevented 37 million products being listed that breached its policies, while it’s also removed an additional 133,000 individual products after listing.

TikTok Shop report

TikTok says that it’s also deactivated the accounts of more than a million sellers for policy violations, and removed eCommerce features from more than 500,000 creators for the same.

These measures, TikTok hopes, will imbue more trust in its shopping tools, and encourage more in-stream purchase activity over time.

Though right now, that’s unlikely to be the main reason why brands would be hesitant to set up shop in the app.

With the U.S. TikTok sell-off bill now approved, most are waiting to see what comes next for the app, and whether it will indeed be sold off to a U.S. company, or if it’ll be removed from the American market, as the Chinese Government is currently suggesting. As such, I’d hazard a guess that most brands are probably not looking to put more reliance on the app, and even those outside the U.S. likely have some concerns about what a U.S. ban might mean for them, and whether similar restrictions could be implemented in other regions as well.

In essence, the sell-off bill will probably have a bigger effect than anything else in slowing TikTok’s in-stream shopping push, both for brands as well as users, who are probably more hesitant to enter their credit card into an app that the U.S. Government says can’t be trusted.

So while this report does show some positive signs for TikTok’s shopping push, I’m not sure that it’s going to be overly well received at this stage, but then again, TikTok is still seeing shopping growth in Asian markets, which are also covered.

If you’re considering TikTok’s commerce tools, it may be worth a look.

You can read TikTok’s full shops report here.

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