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TikTok drops e-commerce expansion plans in Europe, US: Report

San Francisco, July 6 (IANS) After unsuccessful attempts, short-video platform TikTok is scaling back its live commerce plans in Europe and the US, media reports say.

TikTok has been testing live shopping in the UK since late last year, starting with a multi-brand event called “On Trend” last December. But the Financial Times reported that those shopping live streams have not drawn big audiences or sparked many sales, and some of the creators involved in early TikTok Shop projects have dropped out altogether.

TikTok had been planning to roll out Shop in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain by now, and was hoping to launch in the US later this year, but now it is currently focused solely on making the product a success in the UK. It is also live in several countries in Asia, where the concept is more mature, citing FT, The Verge reported.

Live online shopping, led by creators and influencers, is an enormous business for TikTok’s owner, ByteDance. Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok that is also owned by ByteDance, has seen those live sales turn into huge cultural events that bring big business for retailers, creators, and platforms alike.

But so far, there has not much evidence to suggest that the live e-commerce model will work everywhere. Sure, QVC and the Home Shopping Network were once huge successes in the US, and more and more users are buying products through Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, but many platforms have tried to make live shopping work and none have succeeded so far, the report said. Also, as social shopping continues to grow, the competition to be the home for that shopping is going to be fierce. Even Amazon is investing heavily in shopping streams, it added.

–IANS

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