When social media giants enter the eCommerce space, there is cause for concern. TikTok intends to tackle that segment, although things aren’t progressing smoothly. Brands expect a specific sales volume, and the social media giant needs to provide adequate numbers.
TikTok and eCommerce Aren’t A Good Combo Yet
It is commendable to see Bytedance, the parent company of TikTok, enter the online commerce segment. Making it easier for social media users to purchase items can benefit millions. However, making an eCommerce impact requires more than being a big-brand social media platform. Although the name “TikTok” can carry far, it won’t automatically guarantee online sales and revenue success.
The push into eCommerce has seen several setbacks. Brands are underwhelmed by the performance of this new platform and see sales fall short of goals. TikTok Shop hasn’t gained mainstream appeal yet, which may not change soon either. The experiment to let users purchase items shown in ads on the platform could be significant. However, customers aren’t too happy with the service either.
Common complaints focus on shipping delays and counterfeit item concerns. That latter one is especially problematic, although counterfeit goods are an issue in online commerce. However, when fake goods are sold through TikTok Shop, it reflects poorly on the overarching brand. Getting a bad reputation takes a few hours, but building a credible brand takes months, if not years. A poor start can negate the new project before it even has a chance to be successful.
Thankfully, the company has a plan to make customers and brands happy. TikTok will bring in external parties to fix ongoing issues and grow the number of platform customers. For now, TikTok’s eCommerce venture is only accessible in the United States. Moreover, it features hand-picked companies to determine the platform’s viability and appeal. An international rollout will occur in the coming months, but these issues must be resolved first.
Is It Even Viable?
The more significant concern is whether TikTok’s new platform has any long-term potential. Facebook and its Facebook Marketplace have shown it can be a valuable combination. However, TikTok is a platform used for short-form content, and people have a limited attention span. Pushing ads onto the platform for eCommerce purposes might annoy people more than anything. In addition, the label of “counterfeit goods” will continue to loom overhead long after any issues have been fixed. It is tricky to distance a company from such a label.
One benefit to the approach is how mobile eCommerce is a booming business. Many consumers tend to buy goods through their smartphones or tablet. It makes sense for social media giants to tap into those opportunities. Moreover, it creates a new revenue source for digital retail businesses. Making all the puzzle pieces fall into place remains a challenge, though.