With TikTok Shop launched in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, and UK, are we going to witness the widespread adoption of video commerce?
While social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube are trying to incorporate e-commerce into their platforms, can TikTok ‘shopify’ the content successfully?
Interestingly, TikTok coins itself as an entertainment platform instead of just another social media platform in the market. When entertainment meets commerce, it becomes ‘Shoppertainment’.
Can TikTok succeed in incorporating shopping into its platform? Let’s first take a look at why other social media platforms have struggled (so far).
Facebook is a platform predominantly used to follow the news, updates from friends, and marketing content by brands. Shopping via Facebook live or ads are popular but transactions happen outside of Facebook.
Instagram is a platform for creative and beautiful kinds of stuff, it’s arguably challenging to incorporate the commerce elements into good-looking, lifestyle content.
YouTube is a platform for long-form content, ranging from topics like entertainment, learning, etc. It’s hard to imagine a shop button floating around on top of those content.
As opposed to its competitors, TikTok might stand a better chance of making content plus e-commerce work due to the nature of its platform.
In our opinion, here are the 5 reasons why TikTok Shop can be a success in Malaysia (or any other part of the world).
1. Entertainment platform
As mentioned early in this article, TikTok is an entertainment platform – it is not a platform for serious content (well, aside from Douyin in China).
When you are in the mood of being entertained, it’s probably easier to sell you stuffs compared to say when you are watching a video to learn some skills.
2. Short-form content
TikTok is the symbol of short-form content, which is ideal to promote items that people will consider by impulse buying – be it via short videos or live sessions.
TikTok might be the front-runner of video commerce too. This is probably one of the reasons why Meta is replicating it with Reels, and YouTube with its Shorts.
3. Recommendation engine
Bytedance – the company behind Douyin and TikTok, is already working on its recommendation engine (algorithm) for a decade since the launch of Toutiao – the news app in China.
While you might wonder why content discovery is not perfect at other platforms, don’t be surprised that TikTok is able to show the right content to the right people at the right time and location.
4. Young video creators
With the entry barrier being arguably lower than YouTubers, we are seeing more and more creative young TikTok creators curating content for the young audience.
In comparison with other platforms, TikTok is an ideal platform for brands/merchants to collaborate with the creators to market their brands or products.
5. The app’s popularity
All of the above will not work if TikTok is not popular in your country. As of early 2022, there are 92M TikTok users in Indonesia, 39M in Vietnam, 35M in Thailand, and 16M in Malaysia*.
With the growth of Facebook and Instagram at the point of saturation, will TikTok become the go-to platform, especially among the younger generations? Time will tell.
* The figure is based on TikTok’s potential advertising reach for users aged 18 and above in Malaysia.