TikTok Now Trying To Be An Online Shopping App (sort Of)


TikTok now seems fine with clickable links that send users to third-party shopping portals or any website for that matter. TikTok now testing e-commerce feature

Written By Tech Desk | Mumbai | Updated On:

How long before TikTok, a short-video app that excels at lip-syncing to songs and dialogues, becomes your go-to online shopping platform? The Chinese app now seems fine with clickable links that send users to third-party shopping portals or any website for that matter. This could help TikTok generate a whole new revenue stream in the not-so-distant future. TikTok is owned and operated by a Chinese company called ByteDance, one of the most valuable startups worldwide.

In a statement to TechCrunch, ByteDance spokesperson had this to say: "We’re always experimenting with new ways to improve the app experience for our users. Ultimately, we’re focused on ways to inspire creativity, bring joy, and add value for our community."

The change was first discovered by a Twitter user Fabian Bern who also posted a video showing how it works.

If the video is anything to go by, TikTok allows users to click on a link in a video or bio which then re-directs them to a third-party website without leaving the TikTok app. This move can be perceived as one that encourages influencer marketing. Influencers can be put to a task to create promotional content for brands and sell products/services directly within the app. Its applications can be virtually endless.

However, it remains to be seen whether or how it affects the way brands, influencers and content creators look at TikTok from here onwards.

Social media and messaging apps actively turning to e-commerce

Recently, WhatsApp announced Catalogs to help businesses have seamless, hassle-free communication with their users. 

Catalogs will make it easier for users to learn about certain products and services they may be interested in on WhatsApp. WhatsApp Business accounts can create and showcase their products and services. Subsequently, WhatsApp users can then learn about these products and services without leaving the app.

Earlier this year, Instagram stepped into a similar game with its 'Checkout' feature to let users buy products from their favourite brands, without leaving the app interface. Instagram also makes URLs clickable in profile bios.

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