Popular short-form video platform TikTok is dipping its toes into the potentially transformative shoppable feature for all its user videos.
This early-stage test, confirmed by a company spokesperson to Bloomberg, leverages object recognition technology to automatically suggest merchandise at TikTok Shop related to the video content.
Currently, only influencers and brands hold the privilege of product tagging on the platform, allowing them to earn a commission for every product sold off of their videos.
dedicated TikTok Shop tab finally live for me in the US. Feed of listings + shoppable videos. pic.twitter.com/4rGlDzpKOV— Turner Novak 🍌🧢 (@TurnerNovak) January 27, 2024
Making all videos shoppable aligns with TikTok's broader eCommerce ambitions.
Launched last year in the US, TikTok Shop aims to blend the convenience of Amazon-style shopping with the social discovery power of platforms like Instagram.
TikTok reportedly holds high hopes for this venture, targeting a hefty $17.5 billion in US sales for 2024.
However, initial impressions of TikTok Shop have been mixed.
While some merchants reported explosive holiday sales thanks to platform-funded discounts and free shipping, user feedback has been less consistent.
Concerns about counterfeit goods and an influx of ad-heavy influencer content have dampened the experience for many users.
@evhandd TikTok has a MASSIVE problem, and it's their own TikTok Shop videos #tiktok#tiktokshop#stoptiktokshop#content#contentcreation#sturdydigital♬ original sound - Evan
This new feature test seeks to address these concerns by making product suggestions less overt on regular users' posts. Instead of forceful tagging, viewers are presented with a “find similar items on TikTok Shop” option based on automated object recognition.
The success of this endeavor may hinge on finding the right balance between seamlessly integrating eCommerce and preserving the authentic, engaging content that drew users to TikTok in the first place.