With TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, under increased revenue pressure, you can expect to see more e-commerce integrations on TikTok very soon, to capitalize on the app’s key opportunity.
Which is already happening in a variety of ways, with the latest test giving users in Indonesia access to a new “Shop” tab in the app, which is next to their “For You” and “Following” feeds.
As you can see in this example, shared by Watchful.ai, TikTok is now testing a specific shopping segment, with as much UI priority as its main content streams. There’s also a shopping cart icon in the top right, so you can add items to buy as you scroll, which, as noted, indicates the next evolution of the world famous video app.
TikTok has been going in this direction for some time, which essentially follows the same development process that ByteDance used for the Chinese version of the app, called “Douyin”. The majority of Douyin’s revenue now comes from in-stream e-commerce integrationswhich also provides a valuable avenue for creator monetization, via brand partnership integrations that facilitate more organic-like promotions within the app.
TikTok hopes to incorporate the same into its offering, which could help it compete with Instagram and YouTube on creator monetization. Right now, creators can make a lot more money on YouTube, through the YouTube Partners Program, which pays out billions to participating creators every year. This, eventually, could become an existential concern for TikTok, as for Vine before it, as the biggest stars will logically gravitate towards the platforms where they can reap the most benefits,
This could see them deprioritize TikTok over time, which is why TikTok needs to make in-app commerce work, while providing more revenue potential and opportunity, and helping ByteDance capitalize on the popularity of the app.
And as noted, ByteDance would be very keen on having more revenue right now. The company has cut thousands of employees in recent weeks part of a major cost-cutting drive, sparked by the Chinese government’s regulatory crackdown on the live streaming, gaming and social media sectors.
In an effort to reduce the influence of live streaming platforms and rule over technology platforms, the CCP has restrictions implemented about what can be streamed live, how much people can spend online, and when people can watch, especially younger users. This has forced many to reevaluate their use of Douyin as a business opportunity, which has also put a strain on ByteDance’s prospects – and amid the broader global economic downturn, the company’s balance sheets are no longer suddenly not as beautiful as before, and as one would suspect they should, given TikTok ad spend continues to rise.
But now TikTok presents probably its most valuable opportunity, while ByteDance could also look to capitalize on it now, before other regions potentially follow China’s lead and implement similar restrictions on commerce. and live activity.
It seems less likely outside of China. But again, TikTok is under regular scrutiny over its potential harms and risks, with an FCC commissioner this week calling on Apple and Google to pull the app from their stores over fears it could be used as a surveillance tool by the Chinese authorities.
Essentially, TikTok’s future prospects are not guaranteed, which is another reason why ByteDance will want to move forward now and derive as much revenue from these tools and features as possible.
It’s still working on integrating its full suite of commerce tools, including payment options, as well as its integrations with Shopify and other commerce platforms. But you can bet it works fast, which could present more opportunities in the future.
At least, as long as TikTok remains available, that is.