TikTok Shop, TikTok’s ecommerce platform, is now live in the U.S. for a select group of companies. A soft launch, TikTok Shop isn’t rolling out widely just yet. The company has opened its application process to business owners interested in selling on the app, but is currently only available to merchant corporations with a special “invite-only” access code. Companies who are accepted will pay a 5% commission on every sale.
This launch comes on the heels of a restructuring of its US operations, in what some analysts believe is a move to drive more revenue from gaming and live shopping and lessen its dependence on advertising.
Even though TikTok is one of the fastest growing social media apps in the U.S., with 94 million users, the future of social media ecommerce shopping in the U.S. is still uncertain. TikTok Shop is already available in the UK and parts of Asia, but fell flat in Europe after it failed to meet expected targets, saw poor sales and was dropped by important influencers. In a statement, an unnamed TikTok employee attributed the live shopping service’s poor performance to a market that “just isn’t there yet” and described general consumer awareness and adoption as “low and nascent.”