TikTok has confirmed that it is testing a new in-app “Trendy Beat” shopping section where it offers products for sale shipped and sold by a subsidiary of its parent company, ByteDance. The feature, first reported by the Financial Times, is currently being tested in the UK. The shopping section offers popular items featured in trending videos, such as tools to remove earwax.
The company told TechCrunch on Thursday that the new e-commerce initiative has not been tested in the US, where it said it is currently focused on adding new merchants to its TikTok Shop offering that allows brands to sell platform thing.
Although the new Trendy Beat feature has not yet been tested in the US, it may in the future. TikTok filed a US trademark application for Trendy Beat last month, indicating that the test feature will eventually expand to the US. The trademark application lists clothing items such as dresses, scarves, hats, shoes, bathing suits, sleep masks, sweaters, skirts, shirts, suits and more.
The Financial Times reported that ByteDance’s plan to start selling its own video app products is called “Project S.” The report says that Project S uses TikTok’s knowledge of products that are popular on the app, which then allows Bytedance to acquire or manufacture the products. Bytedance reportedly uses a network of suppliers to make these items.
The new feature sees TikTok seeking to challenge retail companies such as Amazon and Shein, as it indicates a shift from TikTok’s current e-commerce strategy, which is primarily represented through the marketplace. in the TikTok Shop. In TikTok Shop, the company allows brands to sell their products directly within the app, but in this new feature, TikTok will sell its own products. The new model sees TikTok operate on an e-commerce model similar to how Amazon Basics and Shein promote and sell their own best-selling products.
The news comes as TikTok is onboarding brands like PacSun and Revolve for the TikTok Shop, which has been testing in the US since November. TikTok Shop has been successful in Asian markets, but has struggled to gain traction in the UK, according to previous reports from the Financial Times. As a result, it is not surprising that the company chose to test the new e-commerce initiative in the UK before possibly bringing it to the US.
It’s worth noting that although TikTok continues to work on shopping features, its competing apps have scaled back some of their e-commerce efforts after they failed to gain traction. Instagram removed the store tab in January and later announced it was dropping its shopping efforts. Facebook is also shutting down its live shopping feature in August 2022.
Although TikTok is still in the early stages of e-commerce initiatives in the US, the app has a notable influence on users’ shopping habits. The phrase “TikTok made me buy it,” became popular for the video app’s ability to drive impulse sales. The term currently has 7.4 billion views on TikTok and the hashtag has 59.3 billion. The new in-app shopping feature will drive even more of these sales by offering users quick and direct access to a discovery and purchase experience.