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5 things to learn from TikTok’s live shopping fail 🤦‍♂️

Amer Charmaa

Amer Charmaa

Amer Charmaa

Amer Charmaa

May 1, 2023


min. read

5 things to learn from TikTok’s live shopping fail 🤦‍♂️

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TikTok Shopping has failed! A few weeks ago The race between retailers and social media platforms was officially announced on our blog. As w

TikTok Shopping has failed! A few weeks ago The race between retailers and social media platforms was officially announced on our blog. As we've predicted, the fight is looking tough for the socials, and retailers are still in the lead. TikTok throwing in the towel so early in the race helps us understand what has to be done or avoided in order to win.

TikTok is backing out of its initial plans of launching a video shopping experience in the U.S. and Europe, as things did not go as expected for them. A report by Financial Times points out the major mistakes and unfortunate circumstances that led to TikTok raising the white flag.

tiktok shopping

"Influencers pointed to substandard products, long hours, and low pay as central reasons for jumping ship, PYMNTS reported in June. Other problems had to do with supply chain and delivery problems that left influencers pummeled with comments from unhappy buyers". (

It's just a typical case of "one thing led to the other", which usually has dire consequences when it happens in the retail world. Social media platforms may have the content and entertainment part covered, but they are still a long way from offering a shopping experience which is up to the standards of modern online retailers. Here are the five things that led to TikTok's live shopping demise.

1 Bad product quality

Social media platforms opening up to brands is great and all, but it also means they have little control over the quality of the products being sold. TikTok took the gamble on that, and in turn lost the trust of the audience. Social platforms are already filled with advertisements promising miracles they can't actually perform, it becomes extra disappointing when this is connected with a purchase.

2 Poor E-Commerce Experience

TikTok's second big mistake was the general e-commerce experience, specifically when it came to logistics & delivery. With complaints ranging from major delays to undelivered products, it is clear that TikTok was not ready to take on the challenge of ensuring a smooth transfer of the goods to customers. This is another hard punch in the face when it comes to gaining the trust of shoppers.

3 Trouble with Creators

Another article reports TikTok suffering an "exodus" of creators in the UK. Not only were they treated poorly, but creators also reported receiving very little compensation for their hard work, when they were initially promised "the world". Additionally, creators did not want to be associated with the kind of unsatisfactory e-commerce experience TikTok was providing, as it would ultimately hurt their reputations.

4 Trouble with Brands

TikTok losing the trust of both shoppers and creators means that the best brands are going to feel better taking their live shopping business elsewhere. Whether they do it on their own websites, or collaborate with bigger retailers, one thing is for sure, their products and brands will be in safer hands.

5 Bad vibes in TikTok Town

Creators were not the only ones who reported being treated unfairly. Many employees within the TikTok e-commerce department quit because of the "hostile environment" they were working in. Remember, this is a department of creation centered around entertainment, creativity, a social attitude, and a positive energy.

As you can see, TikTok not only violated the core principles of e-commerce but also of content creation. Trust, authenticity and positivity have high conversion rates! Established online retailers have the commerce part covered, now it's time to win the trust and love of content creators. They are the key to winning the live shopping race, and if you make them happy, they will make your shoppers happy.

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