TikTok ‘Halts E-Commerce Expansion Plans’

TikTok has reportedly called off plans to expand its live e-commerce initiative into Europe and the US after a UK pilot struggled to attract the interest of buyers.

The TikTok Shop initiative launched in the UK last year, its first market outside of Asia, where it is seen as the future of e-commerce.

The feature sees companies and influencers broadcast live and sell products through a clickable orange basket on the screen.

TikTok’s Chinese sister service Douyin has seen livestream sales more than triple year-on-year and has sold more than 10 billion products.

Livestream commerce

Following the UK launch TikTok had planned to roll the feature out in Germany, France, Italy and Spain in the first half of this year, followed by the US, its biggest market, later in 2022, the Financial Times reported.

But the expansion plans have been dropped after the UK service failed to meet targets and influencers dropped out of the offering, the report said, citing unnamed sources.

TikTok Shop livestreams reportedly achieved low sales in spite of subsidies and cash incentives from the company to encourage companies and individuals to sell through the platoform.

The paper cited a TikTok employee as saying the market “just isn’t there yet” and that consumer awareness were “still low and nascent”.

‘Innovation’

TikTok said it had no current plans to expand the feature and was focusing on making it a success in the UK.

“We are always looking at ways to enhance our community’s experience and regularly test new features that inspire creativity, bring joy and innovate the TikTok experience in markets around the world,” the firm said. “We’re excited to experiment with new commerce opportunities that enable our community to discover and engage with what they love.”

The offering has been available in Indonesia since last year and was recently launched in Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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