After reports last year that TikTok had bought a warehouse and likely had plans to launch a shopping platform, the social media app has, this week, confirmed the rumours. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is testing a new in-app shopping section called ‘Trendy Beat’.
The section will offer products for sale that are made, shipped, and sold by TikTok. The section will feature popular items that have appeared in trending videos, like tools to extract ear wax or to brush off pet hair from clothing, according to The Financial Times. It’s currently being tested in the UK.
“All the items advertised are shipped from China, sold by a company registered in Singapore that’s owned by TikTok’s Beijing-based parent company ByteDance, according to filings and people familiar with the operations,” writes The Financial Times.
The company told TechCrunch the e-commerce initiative wasn’t being tested in the US, where, instead, it’s focussing on adding new merchants to its TikTok Shop offering that lets brands sell products through its platform.
A trademark application for Trendy Beat has been filed in the US, though, in May last year, which could indicate the e-commerce feature might eventually launch there. The trademark application lists items like dresses, scarves, hats, footwear, bathing suits, sleep masks, sweaters, skirts, shirts, suits, and more, according to TechCrunch.
“[The Project] utilises TikTok’s knowledge of items that are going viral on the app, allowing ByteDance to acquire or make those items itself, according to people with knowledge of the plan,” writes The Financial Times.
“The company then heavily promotes Trendy Beat products over rival sellers on TikTok, the people said. TikTok said the brand used a network of suppliers to produce items for its Trendy Beat offering.”
In October last year, more than a dozen LinkedIn Jobs postings seemed to suggest TikTok was getting into the warehouse and logistics business. According to the listings, which were first noticed by the publication Axios, the Chinese-owned company was looking into “global fulfilment centers” and looking for employees for locations in both Seattle and LA.
“The e-commerce industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years and has become a hotly contested space amongst leading Internet companies, and its future growth cannot be underestimated,” TikTok wrote in one of the job postings. “With millions of loyal users globally, we believe TikTok is an ideal platform to deliver a brand new and better e-commerce experience to our users.”
The listings stated that TikTok was looking to provide warehousing, delivery, and return services for merchants. They will also include customs clearing and supply chain systems.