TikTok has a new partner that can help the social media giant push product to consumers as part of its recently launched shopping pilot.
Cymbio, a solution designed to enable brands to start selling on multiple marketplaces at once and offer dropshipping capabilities, revealed it is helping power the controversial platform’s TikTok Shop feature, which gives brands a potential reach of 150 million U.S. consumers.
TikTok Shop is available in the U.K., as well as Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore among others, and is expected to expand beyond trial mode in the U.S. market by the fourth quarter of 2023.
The shopping feature is designed to enable merchants, brands and creators to easily showcase and sell products directly within the TikTok app. Where Cymbio’s technology comes in is by embedding a brand’s product data and information to TikTok’s in-video, live shopping offering.
Apparel brands like PacSun, Revolve and Willow Boutique are among the first sellers that have joined the trial. Users who want to shop these brands’ products can tap on the shopping bag icon on the brand’s profile to view their catalogues and complete the checkout process without leaving TikTok’s app. TikTok says it will take a 5 percent commission on each in-app sale a business makes.
Cymbio’s digital commerce enablement platform is built for brands of any size to access a centralized platform where they can have a hands-off approach to their back-end operations in an effort to scale sales across various channels. The platform can automate the management of marketplaces, dropship and social media sales and operations, including data integration, set-up, mapping, taxonomy, onboarding and daily management of a brand’s operational needs.
With Cymbio, for example, brands leveraging TikTok Shop can automate the processes of listing products, managing inventory, streamlining order processing, fulfillment and tracking orders and analytics.
“Partnering with Cymbio is a great choice, allowing for seamless and quick connectivity and automation to our platform,” said Sandie Hawkins, head of TikTok Shop, in a statement. “Brands such as New Balance can easily monetize on TikTok, reducing shopping friction and engaging buyers at the exact moment of interest. We look forward to seeing this partnership flourish and helping brands grow.”
The company has provided its services to major names in the fashion industry such as New Balance, Authentic Brands Group, Steve Madden and Camper in an effort to help them get in front of new customers and channels. Through Cymbio’s platform, these brands have been introduced to retailers and marketplaces including Farfetch, Kohl’s Corp., Macy’s Inc., Dillard’s Inc., Saks Inc., Urban Outfitters Inc., Walmart Inc., Zappos and others.
“We are thrilled to partner with TikTok, enabling brands multichannel opportunities to reach a brand new, highly engaged audience via TikTok Shop,” said Roy Avidor, chief executive officer and cofounder of Cymbio, in a statement. “We are humbled and excited to expand and value TikTok Shop as a high-growth opportunity for brands of all sizes.”
Social commerce in general has had plenty of attempts to get off the ground, but U.S. consumers have never committed to buying off of the platforms. After pushing its Shop feature heavily during the COVID-19 pandemic, Instagram removed the Shop tab in January and shuttered its livestream shopping feature on March 16. Instagram’s sister social network Facebook also shut down its live shopping feature in October to shift its focus to its short-form video feature Reels.
But TikTok apparently has been able to at least convince people to buy a product elsewhere after seeing it on the app — perhaps influencing the company’s decision to go forward with TikTok Shop. The phrase “TikTok made me buy it” has garnered 7.4 billion views across videos on the platform, in fact, and the hashtag has generated a whopping 47.2 billion views.
TikTok continues its attempt to capitalize on social commerce as doubts seep in about the future of the platform in the U.S. amid concerns of its data collection methods.
In a five-hour hearing on Thursday, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by Congress over the firm’s use of consumer data, its parent company’s potential ties to the Chinese government and the app’s impact on mental health.
Lawmakers across the aisle have been critical of the platform, with some calling for either an outright ban on it and others calling for a sale by the China-based parent, ByteDance. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday that TikTok “should be ended one way or another, and there are different ways of doing that.”
To date, U.S. lawmakers have offered no evidence of TikTok harming U.S. national security interests.