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TikTok launches live shopping in the US using outsourcing technology

TikTok has launched live shopping in North America and plans to outsource its operations after the social media platform’s e-commerce experiments in the UK struggled.

Los Angeles-based TalkShopLive plans to partner with TikTok to bring its TikTok shop to the US. It will provide the underlying technology and support for livestreams hosted by influencers, brands and retailers who want to sell their products on the app, said two people familiar with the operation.

The two companies are still in final negotiations and no deal has been signed.

The TikTok Shop, which allows users to purchase items from on-screen links in the app during live broadcasts, launched last year in its first market outside of Asia, the UK. Available in Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia.

The model has proven to be an advantage for China’s TikTok sister app Douyin, which has more than tripled year-over-year sales in the 12 months to May. During this period, it hosted approximately 9 million live e-commerce broadcasts each month and sold over 10 billion products.

TikTok faces increased scrutiny in the U.S., given that TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, has denied concerns. We are reviewing attempts to ban the company for reasons. TikTok is also working with the government on new data security measures to protect user data in the United States.

TikTok was supposed to launch a shopping feature across Europe earlier this year, but this was postponed after an experiment in the UK market fell short of sales targets and influencers and brands dropped out of the scheme. has denied the existence of any formal expansion ambitions in Europe and the United States.

TalkShopLive has four years of experience in live commerce, facilitating thousands of live streams annually and working with clients such as Walmart and Microsoft’s MSN Shopping to provide the technical infrastructure for live shopping.

TalkShopLive raised $6 million last July in a seed extension led by Raine Ventures, five months after a $3 million seed round.

“TikTok wants a turnkey solution that can help them manage their live shopping process,” said a person familiar with the plan.

The feature is set to roll out next month at major brands ahead of the holiday season, they added.

TalkShopLive takes a commission of approximately 10% on live stream sales. This cost will be borne by TikTok first. The technology also means brands can simultaneously host the same live stream on their e-commerce websites and drive sales outside of the app.

“When it comes to expanding the TikTok Shop market, we are always driven by demand and constantly exploring new and different options on how we can best serve our community, creators and merchants in markets around the world. “These efforts will include exploring partnerships to further support seamless ecommerce experiences for merchants who are an important part of our ecosystem.”

Meta and YouTube, which own social media rivals Instagram and Facebook, have both experimented with live shopping features in recent years without much success. Meta said he plans to end the live shopping feature on Facebook in October and is still in the early testing stages of shopping on Instagram.

Meanwhile, TikTok faces scrutiny over its shopping feature in the UK. A Financial Times investigation revealed a staff exodus from London’s e-commerce sector, where they complained of an aggressive work culture with unrealistic goals. I was replaced after telling the staff I was based in that I “didn’t believe” in maternity leave.

“Live streaming participation in the United States is growing, albeit more slowly than in other countries such as China. It shows the need for consumer education,” said senior retail and e-commerce analyst Katie Hansen. at Mintel.

Additional reporting by Hannah Murphy of San Francisco

Video: Entering the Live Stream Shopping Market | FT Trading