13 Apr

Alison Harvard


TikTok, the short-form video app, is making a bold move into in-stream shopping. Following its success in China, the platform is launching a new push with retailers to try to get more Western audiences interested in shopping with the app. With free shipping and discount coupons, TikTok is hoping to make in-stream shopping a reality.

Though Western audiences have yet to truly embrace shopping via TikTok, the platform is not giving up. TikTok is inviting select retailers to participate in its in-app shopping program and offering them big subsidies on shipping and sales to boost interest. This initiative looks to push items in videos with the help of influencers by offering commission sales in a new affiliate-marketing program.

TikTok’s success with Lemon8 – a product-focused platform – is a good indication of the app’s ability to influence usage trends. Lemon8 was downloaded over 650,000 times in the US over the last week and a half, making it reach the top 10 in the ‘Lifestyle’ category. 

Meanwhile, in China, Douyin reported a 320% increase in eCommerce sales last year, largely driven by live-stream shopping. While the Chinese live shopping economy is projected to be worth more than $500 billion in 2023, it’s not certain if TikTok will be able to achieve the same success in the Western market.

In conclusion, TikTok’s new in-app shopping push is an ambitious attempt to bring in more revenue for the platform. With free shipping and discount coupons, the company is looking to capitalize on the growing trend of live-stream shopping. While it may take some time for western audiences to really warm up to TikTok shopping, the app’s success with Lemon8 gives some hope to the initiative.