TikTok is planning an aggressive expansion into ecommerce in the US, where it will go head-to-head with Silicon Valley giant Facebook.
The Chinese-owned viral-video app has briefed advertisers on a number of new features for 2021, according to several people who have seen its plans, such as a tool that lets its most popular users share links to products and automatically earn commission on any sales.
“It’s old-school affiliate marketing,” one senior advertising executive said, adding that video makers would be able to link to any products they liked, even if they were not formally sponsored by the brand.
TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, is also aiming to roll out the ability for brands to showcase catalogues of their products on the platform, the people said.
The app is also said to be rolling out “livestreamed” shopping, a mobile phone version of television shopping channels, where users can buy goods with a few taps after seeing them showcased by TikTok stars. This follows testing of the live shopping feature with Walmart announced late last year. TikTok declined to comment.
“It feels like TikTok is about to skip [introducing a] desktop [experience] and go straight into commerce,” Jack Smyth, creative technology officer at WPP’s Mindshare.
“Culturally, TikTok is well placed for livestreamed commerce to…