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TikTok is the new frontier of social commerce

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: TikTok app via Pexels

TikTok may be fashion’s new frontier as teenagers scout the social media platform for fashion inspiration.

While fashion brands are betting big by advertising on TikTok, young entrepreneurs are paving their own way. TikTok user Takeout By Syd, for example, is considered a micro influencer with 100k followers, and offers a virtual styling service starting at just 20 dollars. Advertised as “your dream wardrobe just one click away,” the affordable service has seen founder Sydnee Grill democratise and monetise personal styling by offering to create outfits of users’ existing wardrobes as well as send links to purchase items from other sites. Business is booming for Grill. “Fashion has been a passion of mine for years. I just love clothing and making people feel good about the things they wear. Takeout is my way of sharing this with the world,” Grill states on her website.

Well-known retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch and Gap are looking for ways to capitalise on viral moments when posted items skyrocket in views. Influencers often use hashtags like #fashionhauls and #OOTD (outfit of the day) which can generate high engagement rates. It is up to retailers to ensure there is sufficient stock to maximise on sales when a featured product goes viral.

Rise of social commerce

Social commerce sales in the United States is forecast to rise 35.8 percent this year to 36.62 billion dollars, according to eMarketer. This would mark a slight deceleration from year-over-year growth of 38.9 percent in 2020, when the Covid pandemic kept more people at home and shopping from their phones. In China social commerce sales eclipsed 351.65 billion dollars in 2021.

The genius of TikTok is that is easier for anyone to be discovered. Its algorithm encourages creation and discovery, allowing brands a greater opportunity to achieve product-focused campaigns, which when shared, could create a FOMO (fear of missing out) effect. While commerce on Bytedance’s TikTok is still in its infancy, it is already rivalling Facebook’s group of social platforms.

Interesting statistics from Influencer Marketing Hub show TikTok users spend more than 850 minutes per month using the app. It also has the highest social media engagements rates per post. Perhaps most notable is that TikTok is the world’s most downloaded app, overtaking Facebook and its messaging platforms last year, according to market tracker App Annie.