TikTok Takes On Amazon With New E-Commerce Offering

Parent company ByteDance is experimenting with selling its own products through the video platform.

TikTok’s UK users are starting to see a new shopping feature called ‘Trendy Beat’ roll out within the app.

Currently, shopping on the platform is made up of brands selling their products directly on the platform, with TikTok taking a commission of the sale. This new feature however, would see TikTok doing the selling of its own products.

Despite having a hectic first half of the year, with whispers of a total US ban, TikTok is pressing on with innovations that look set to make it bigger than ever. This shift in e-commerce strategy, that before now has largely been represented by TikTok Shop marketplace, looks set to be the foundation of the platform’s new e-commerce offering that will rival sites such as Amazon and Shein.

TikTok Model Appears Similar to Amazon’s

Trendy Beat is an in-app shopping section and its products will be shipped and sold by a subsidiary of TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. It’ll offer items that are popular within trending videos, such as clothing.

The model, which is still in testing, appears to be similar to how Amazon Basics and Shein promote and sell their best selling products. 

“We are always exploring new ways to enhance our community’s experience, and we are in the early stages of experimenting with new shopping features,” – TikTok on it’s new Trendy Beat feature 

Instead of making money from other brand’s sales commissions, ByteDance will now take all proceeds from sales made through Trendy Beat. This addition to their e-commerce offering will likely help explain the platform’s $300bn valuation, a particularly crucial justification ahead of its expected public offering coming in the next couple of years. 

Interestingly, while TikTok ramps up its shopping efforts, other platforms seem to be scaling theirs down. Earlier this year, Facebook and Instagram dropped its live shopping feature and the latter removed its shopping tab. These U-turns have not deterred the short-form video platform from pressing on with development though.

Testing is UK-Only… For Now

Right now Trendy Beat testing is for UK users only. However, trademark applications filed last month suggest that it won’t be long before the feature pops up in the US. The application predominantly lists items for sale to be clothing such as dresses, hats, footwear and t-shirts and jackets.

US users who are keen to spend their money on TikTok needn’t worry too much, as the platform is focused on bringing even more brands to its TikTok shop offering. This push aims to make the app a complete shopping destination – from product discovery right through to checkout and delivery.

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The power of Trendy Beat capitalises on this complete experience by leveraging the knowledge of trending and popular products. According to reports, ByteDance will then expedite production of these goods through an already-established network of suppliers.

The Runaway Success of TikTok Shop

Despite it being early days for TikTok’s voyage into e-commerce, its success is undeniable and considered a significant influencer on shoppers’ habits. The viral phrase “TikTok made me buy it” has 7.4bn views with the same hashtag racking up 59.3bn hits. 

The platform has also contributed to the exponential growth of influencer marketing, with top creators able to help brands connect with highly engaged potential customers.

According to TikTok, users are 1.3 times more likely to buy through the platform directly. More than that, 67% of its users are inspired to make a purchase while using the app. ByteDance turning the platform into a one-stop-shop and monetizing it wholly for itself feels like a natural next step.

Looking for a more traditional e-commerce route? Check out our Wix vs Shopify comparison.

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Written by:
Ellis Di Cataldo (MA) has over 9 years experience writing about, and for, some of the world’s biggest tech companies. She's been the lead writer across digital campaigns, always-on content and worldwide product launches, for global brands including Sony, Electrolux, Byrd, The Open University and Barclaycard. Her particular areas of interest are business trends, startup stories and product news.
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