By Macdara Duncan, International Sales Director at Sprii
The recent announcement of TikTok Shop's Black Friday promotions highlights the platform's growing efforts to establish itself in the live shopping space. However, while the deals and incentives may attract some consumers and sellers, Facebook and Instagram still provide more overall value for brands looking to capitalize on this trend.
The article outlines some compelling benefits of using TikTok Shop, such as no seller fees and large audiences. TikTok's immense popularity among younger demographics offers a huge potential reach for brands targeting Gen Z and millennial shoppers. Additionally, the waived selling fees provide an incentive for businesses to experiment with the platform.
TikTok lacks the seamless shopping integration that Instagram and Facebook offer
However, the article fails to address some key factors that give Facebook and Instagram an edge over TikTok for live shopping. Most notably, TikTok lacks the seamless shopping integration that Instagram and Facebook offer. On these platforms, viewers can easily tap to view products and make purchases without leaving the app. This creates a frictionless path from discovery to checkout. TikTok Shop, on the other hand, directs users to third-party sites to complete transactions. This extra step often leads to abandoned carts and lost sales.
Creators will be reluctant to start from scratch
Additionally, shoppable live videos are already ingrained behaviours on Instagram and Facebook. Influencers and brands have been using Instagram Live and Facebook Live for shopping broadcasts long before TikTok entered the space. They have cultivated large followings that are accustomed to buying through these mediums. Fashion, beauty, and lifestyle creators that drive sales through livestreams will be reluctant to start from scratch building audiences on a new platform.
It’s short on creator-focused ecommerce elements
There are also more extensive tools, features, and monetization options for shopping content creators on the Meta platforms. Instagram and Facebook provide robust analytics on views, engagement, website clicks, and more. Also, their affiliate programs integrate directly with live shopping capabilities. And features like shoppable stickers, product tags, and drops make it simple to showcase items. TikTok lacks many of these creator-focused ecommerce elements.
TikTok Shop may see an uptick in activity in the short term from its Black Friday promotions. However, the underlying experience still has significant barriers compared to Instagram and Facebook. Consumers prefer the direct path from discovery to checkout. Influencers gravitate towards the platforms where they can most easily monetize their audiences. And the mature ecommerce capabilities keep brands invested.
"For most brands and retailers, Facebook and Instagram should remain the priority live shopping channels.
TikTok will need to evolve far beyond deals and no selling fees if they aim to truly compete in this space. Their commerce experience needs to be more embedded, intuitive, and mutually beneficial for both brands and users. The platform clearly recognizes live shopping as an opportunity. But for now, Facebook and Instagram remain the first choice for transitioning video views into sales.
TikTok has potential, but I believe that it currently lacks the depth of commerce capabilities compared to the Meta-owned platforms. For most brands and retailers, Facebook and Instagram should remain the priority live shopping channels.
But it will be interesting to watch how TikTok Shop evolves in its capabilities in the future.