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Is TikTok rivalling Amazon in e-commerce space?

Is TikTok rivalling Amazon in e-commerce space?


Faye Duncan


13 Nov 2023

Read time

4 Minutes



If you’ve been keeping an eye on the digital world, you’ve probably noticed how TikTok has been creeping into the e-commerce space. The popular short-form video platform has evolved beyond lip-syncing and dance challenges to become a potential rival to e-commerce giant Amazon.

Let’s explore what TikTok’s e-commerce is all about, its expansion, how it stacks up against Amazon and whether it’s worth considering for your online business.

What is TikTok e-commerce?

TikTok, originally known for its entertaining and often humorous video content, is making a significant mark in the world of e-commerce. TikTok’s e-commerce is all about merging entertainment and shopping in a seamless experience. Users can now discover, browse and purchase products directly from their favorite TikTok creators, making the shopping process more engaging and personalised.

With the eruption of social commerce that has been a big success for other platforms, like Instagram, it’s not surprising that TikTok has swayed in that direction too.

TikTok’s e-commerce expansion

TikTok has big plans to expand its global e-commerce business this year. It’s been reported that it predicts its merchandise sales will grow from last year’s $4.4 billion to $20 billion!

  • In-app shopping links: TikTok introduced in-app shopping links, allowing users to tap on a product featured in a video and purchase it within the app. This convenience boosts impulse buying and encourages users to explore products.
  • Creator partnerships: TikTok has fostered collaborations with influencers and creators to showcase products in entertaining ways. These creators can share their favorite products and encourage their followers to make purchases through affiliate links, creating a win-win situation for both creators and brands.
  • Live shopping: TikTok Live has become a hotspot for real-time shopping events. Brands host live shopping sessions, giving users the opportunity to ask questions, see products in action and make immediate purchases, similar to the QVC-style shopping experience.
TikTok live shopping on mobile phone

How does it compare to Amazon?

TikTok and Amazon are two entirely different platforms, but they are both making a significant impact on e-commerce. Let’s compare them:

  • Audience: TikTok has a predominantly younger audience, making it ideal for products appealing to Gen Z and millennials. Amazon, on the other hand, caters to a broader demographic, including older consumers.
  • Content: TikTok focuses on bite-sized, engaging video content, whereas Amazon provides extensive product listings and reviews. TikTok’s strength lies in its ability to create viral trends, while Amazon is known for comprehensive product information.
  • Discoverability: TikTok encourages spontaneous product discovery through its “For You Page.” Amazon relies on search and recommendations based on previous shopping history.
  • User experience: TikTok’s in-app shopping offers a more seamless and immersive shopping experience compared to Amazon’s traditional online shopping.

Although TikTok is flying high right now within the e-commerce space, can it really compete with Amazon? Well, only time will tell, but I don’t think Amazon has too much to worry about just yet since its demographic is much bigger and the user experience is completely different.

Is it worth selling on TikTok?

If you’re an e-commerce entrepreneur wondering whether TikTok is worth your time and effort, here are a few factors to consider:

  • Audience fit: Determine whether your target audience aligns with TikTok’s user base. If your products are geared towards a younger demographic, TikTok may be a valuable addition to your e-commerce strategy.
  • Creativity: TikTok thrives on creativity and authenticity. To succeed, you’ll need engaging, entertaining content that resonates with users.
  • Partnerships: Collaborate with TikTok influencers and creators to boost your reach and credibility.
  • Advertisements: TikTok offers various advertising options to help you reach a wider audience. Invest in paid advertising if it aligns with your marketing budget.
  • Resource: It can take a lot of time and effort to create the authentic content needed to get noticed, as well as managing the partnerships with creators. So, you’ll need to evaluate whether it’s the right time for your business to focus on this channel and weigh up the potential outcome with the amount of resources needed.

Overall, TikTok’s e-commerce presence is making waves, and while it may not entirely replace Amazon, it offers a unique and exciting way for brands to engage with their audience. If your business appeals to a younger demographic and you’re willing to get creative, TikTok could be a worthwhile addition to your e-commerce strategy. So, why not give it a shot and see if your products can go viral on the latest e-commerce sensation? Happy selling!

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