A line forms outside of the Walmart in Quincy, MA on April 4, 2020 as the store implements new restrictions on capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. People wait outside wearing masks and distanced apart.
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TikTok is venturing into shoppable livestream events, starting with a Walmart partnership this week.
The retailer announced it will host a one-hour livestream Friday on TikTok, where users can can shop for Walmart fashion items featured by TikTok creators without having to leave the app. Once the event is over, users will still be able to shop the items featured by visiting Walmart’s TikTok page to shop.
It’s the first time TikTok will host a shoppable livestream in the U.S.
“It gives us a new way to engage with users and reach potential new customers, while bringing our own brand of fun — with the help of fashion-loving TikTok creators — to the platform,” Walmart’s chief marketing officer William White said in a statement. It’s unclear if there will be a revenue share on the sales made through the app. A Walmart spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Tech giants and social media companies have been heavily investing in making their platforms more shopping-friendly. Last year, Amazon launched Amazon Live, where hosts talk about and demonstrate products sold on Amazon. Google‘s R&D launched Shoploop, and Facebook has made shopping more prominent on Facebook proper, WhatsApp and Instagram.
But shoppable livestreams, akin to QVC, have struggled to take off in the U.S., despite their strong popularity in Asia. Walmart and TikTok’s shopping test run this week indicates they see opportunity and momentum in the space and want to make a mark early on.
TikTok had already been making its way into the e-commerce space. The app began testing new social commerce features last year by allowing some users to add links to their profiles and videos. Retail giant Levi’s was among the first retail brands to use TikTok’s new “Shop Now” feature to direct users to merchandise.
By teaming up, both Walmart and TikTok could boost their e-commerce operations, while giving the brick-and-mortar giant an edge with TikTok’s young user base. Walmart, which had been in talks to partly acquire some of TikTok’s operations, had indicated it wanted to bring shopping to the platform.
“If you’re watching a TikTok video and somebody’s got a piece of apparel or an item on it that you really like, what if you could just quickly purchase that item?” Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said on CNBC in October. “That’s what we’re seeing happen in countries around the world. And it’s intriguing to us, and we would like to be part of it.”