TikTok Won't Bring Shopping To The US Cultural Differences Got In The Way?

author image Written by: Rabije Gashi Corluka           Categories - In The News, Social Media

After failing to launch in the UK, TikTok has abandoned its plans to bring shopping to the U.S. The company had also planned on expanding to mainland Europe, but those plans have been abandoned, too.

Last year, TikTok launched its first international market outside Asia with its “TikTok Shop” venture. How it works is that brands and influencers can broadcast live and sell products via a clickable orange basket on the app’s screen.

Read More: How To Use TikTok For Business

Social media platforms see livestream commerce as the future of shopping because they take commissions on sales. This model proved beneficial for TikTok. ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, has seen sales of its Chinese sister app Douyin nearly triple year over year.

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

After experiencing a successful market in Asia, TikTok planned to launch its video feature in Germany, France, Italy and Spain in the first half of this year, followed by an expansion into the US in 2022.  Supposedly, the expansion plans were dropped after the UK project failed to meet targets.

“The market just isn’t there yet,” a TikTok employee said. “General consumer awareness and adoption are still low and nascent.”

Read More: TikTok Launches Branded Mission

Why Hasn’t TikTok Shop Launched in the UK?

What happened in the UK? According to the Financial Times, a ‘mass staff exodus’ happened, among other things.

Allegedly, some of the TikTok team members working on the launch were either demoted after taking a leave, were so stressed they got sick or were removed from client projects altogether. Apparently, London has also been a victim of an aggressive working culture, according to some employees.

Just last month there were reports on some cultural differences getting in the way of getting the job done. For example, a senior ByteDance executive doesn’t believe in maternity leave. He was replaced after such comments to the London staff.

Read More: TikTok Announces New Program For Ads

Furthermore, employees were expected to work more than 12 hours a day, to start early to accommodate calls with China and to end late as live streams were performing better in the evening.

As for the app’s feature – it just didn’t work there. Despite TikTok Shop’s subsidies and cash incentives to encourage brands and influencers to sell through the app, many live streams have experienced poor sales.

The company said its focus remains on making the UK proposition successful and that it has no plans to launch shopping features in Europe.

Read More: New TikTok Tool For Marketers

The Timing

Just a week ago, some leaks revealed TikToks accessing US user data. In response, the FCC in the US asked Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores.

Nicole Farley from Search Engine Land raised a good question: are privacy and data concerns at least partially behind the decision to abandon bringing shopping to the US?

Read More: TikTok Launches Inventory Filters


Rabije Gashi Corluka

Rabije always enjoyed finding different angles to a story, so it’s not surprising her curiosity influenced a move to a new continent, widening her perspective. She enjoys hearing people's stories and learning about different cultures and places - but most of all, she loves putting her thoughts on a piece of paper. Her love for writing led to her studying Journalism and PR, but she actually became a storyteller during her radio-hosting era. Now, she uses her skills, experience, and love for writing to help your brand stand out.

You Can Go Shopping On TikTok!


Your dreams have come true–at least for every Gen Z shopaholic!

TikTok has an early holiday gift for users with the launch of their brand new in-app ecommerce feature! Such a smart move for TikTok especially with their recent shopping ad changes.

Read More: TikTok & Facebook Ads Still Spreading Misinformation  

Now you can feed your shopping addiction directly on the app. Watch a haul TikTok or some UGC and then let the shop begin!

TikTok Shop

Now that we’ve got your attention with this brand new feature–we supposed you’ll be wanting to know what its called. Drumroll please! Introducing to you TikTok Shop.

TikTok has snuck in to the US e-commerce market, they had to be subtle with this launch due to all the controversy surrounding politics lately. It is “officially testing in the U.S. this week. It was previously only available in the UK and seven countries in Southeast Asia,” reports Search Engine Land

The social media company has dipped their toes into shopping features before but this is really a big addition for users. You can now purchase items without even leaving the app.

Read More:TikTok Is Cracking Down On Political Campaigns  

The feature is “live on profiles, in a separate tab, where users can browse products, and even make a purchase, without leaving the app,” Social Media Today reports.

Just in time for black Friday shopping, TikTok business owners that have access to the feature can begin setting up their products for sale.

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