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TikTok’s restriction may damage Amazon sellers searching for alternatives.

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TIKTOK

In March, the United States House of Representatives decisively enacted legislation that may compel ByteDance to sell TikTok or risk a ban in US app stores. Much of the relevant discussion and debate has been on American data security and speech rights, but a prospective move emphasizes something else: TikTok is expanding its focus on e-commerce, but the interaction of tech titans and geopolitics is squeezing smaller merchants. result in an effect on Amazon sellers.

AMAZON SELLER

Over the last several months, merchants, many of whom are from China, have come to TikTok to sell clothes, cosmetics, electronics, and a range of other things to purchasers in the United States via TikTok Shop. In conversations with TechCrunch, vendors from Shenzhen, a Chinese megacity that serves as a key center for Amazon merchants, expressed irritation with escalating geopolitical tensions and “helplessness” over a potential TikTok ban.

“The situation is not within our control,” a pregnancy and infant supply shop told Shuttech. “It’s just difficult to know how things will develop.” With current supply lines difficult to disrupt, “we just have to play it by ear.” (The vendors wanted not to be identified owing to political concerns.)

tiktok

Start with the customer and work backwards.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder

Jungle Scout, an Amazon data intelligence partner, conducted research that gives some insight into TikTok’s e-commerce influence. It discovered that 20% of Amazon sellers, brands, and enterprises intend to expand into TikTok Shop this year. Before the current political reaction began, ByteDance allegedly anticipated that its US e-commerce company would rise tenfold to $17.5 billion this year.

TikTok isn’t the only site on the list for retailers searching for new ways to reach their customers beyond Amazon. Its emergence is part of a larger trend in which alternative marketplaces such as Temu are gaining popularity not just among customers, but also among Chinese e-commerce exporters and merchants. And Amazon is allegedly taking note, indicating that alternatives are gaining popularity.

AMAZON SELLER

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A fresh approach to sell and purchase by TikTok.

TikTok has been attempting to grow its e-commerce company since its U.S. launch in September.

The app is well-known—or infamous, depending on who you ask—for carefully controlling what material is displayed to whom. TikTok Shop also has a strong curatorial component.

Unlike Temu, which is notorious for selling inexpensive, white-labeled products from Chinese manufacturers straight to US customers, TikTok’s aim has been to onboard and showcase more branded goods, making it a more direct rival to Amazon.

Aside from incentives and algorithms, retailers have expressed interest in selling on TikTok since the app’s short video format creates a lot of interaction. According to a poll conducted by Tabcut, a Chinese organization that monitors TikTok Shop performance, approximately 70% of merchants reported an increase in sales year over year for the first eleven months of 2023.


Amazon Challenger?

TikTok appears to be serious about expanding into e-commerce, although things are still in flux. On the one hand, despite the possibility of a U.S. ban or forced sale, the business continues to roll out new e-commerce features, such as a new video shopping format it unveiled at a conference this month. On the other hand, it appears to be altering or enforcing seller regulations on the fly as it attempts to figure out how to develop in the face of an especially intense focus.

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