TikTok courts customers as shopping sales soar 500%

By Becky Bargh | Published: 26-May-2021

Media platform snaps at heels of competitors Facebook and Instagram as major destination for social commerce

While the pandemic has cut off bricks-and-mortar shopping and stay at home orders have been in place, social platform TikTok has emerged as a winner, reporting exponential growth as a social shopping destination over the last 12 months.

According to Bazaarvoice, the Chinese-owned platform is catching up with its competitors, Facebook and social media darling Instagram, with a 553% hike in sales via the site.

Reporting almost three times the growth of shopping on Instagram (189%) and Facebook (160%), TikTok is underlining its presence as a go-to shopping contender, driven mainly by its short-form video content.

Bazaarvoice’s research also found that consumers’ shopping preferences have been significantly influenced by social media over the past year, as social sites become a key choice for product discovery, while almost 80% said they are more inclined to shop via social.

“The impact of the pandemic on social commerce is significant,” said Ed Hill, Senior VP EMEA at Bazaarvoice.

“Over the past year, commerce has become a cornerstone feature for social platforms, as consumers have spent more time on social apps.

“Brands that have realised this opportunity have succeeded, as consumers are now more likely to see, and be influenced by, brand advertising, user generated content and influencer posts.”

And beauty brands have been among some of the most successful brands marketing through TikTok.

e.l.f. Cosmetics and Fenty Beauty are among the primary models that have fully embraced TikTok as a major tool to attract younger shoppers.

The affordable make-up brand, e.l.f., has near mastered the art of creating buzz and hype around its products via the sites, with TikTok campaigns frequently surpassing one billion views.

Meanwhile, in 2020, Rihanna’s Fenty was the first to form a dedicated ‘TikTok’ house for content creation.

“Product and brand discovery on social media is growing, and while this provides retailers with new opportunities to reach consumers, it also makes it all the more challenging for brands to build and maintain customer loyalty,” added Hill.

“By incentivising consumers to buy their products on social, retailers can take them from the point of product inspiration and discovery, all the way through to purchase without even leaving an app.

“Social commerce isn’t simply about making posts shoppable though, retailers need to take customers from just buying online to trying shopping online with an engaging and inspirational shopping journey.”

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