TikTok is set to make a major push into ecommerce this year as it prepares to launch a host of new features aimed at driving sales on its platform.
The Chinese short-form video behemoth is understood to have informed advertisers that it will soon allow US video makers to link to products of their choice and earn a commission on any sales.
According to the Financial Times, creators will be able to link any products they want even if they are not formally sponsored by the brand.
Other new features, which are due to be rolled out later this year, include a livestream mobile shopping channel and the ability for brands to showcase their catalogues.
This would mark the latest aggressive move into ecommerce from TikTok, which partnered with Shopify late last year.
Shopify, which now provides the ecommerce platform for over 800,000 brands, now allows its merchants to connect to a “TikTok for Business” account and post videos featuring “shoppable ads”.
TikTok has been exploring ways to push into retail outside of China for some time, but has been largely hindered by the Trump administration’s attempts to ban the platform in the US over security concerns.
The move also follows a growing shift towards ‘social commerce’ from the world’s largest social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
TikTok is hoping to cash-in on the high engagement levels of its users compared to its social media rivals, providing an effective means of for retailers to advertise directly to its hundreds of millions of Gen Z users.
“We’ve seen that our community loves connecting with the brands they’re passionate about,” said a TikTok spokesman.