Is TikTok on its way to becoming the next big thing in e-commerce?
Heads up Amazon.com, Qurate, Walmart et al. TikTok is staffing up in preparation to building its own online fulfillment centers in the U.S.
The nation and world’s most popular video sharing app, which had 136.5 million users in the U.S. as of April, has been looking to hire logistics professionals in Seattle. A dozen new job openings were posted on LinkedIn, according to an Axios report.
A job posting for a Business Solutions and Merchant Development Manager, Global Fulfillment Centre included the following: “The e-commerce industry has seen tremendous growth in recent years and has become a hotly contested space amongst leading Internet companies, and its future growth cannot be underestimated. With millions of loyal users globally, we believe TikTok is an ideal platform to deliver a brand new and better e-commerce experience to our users. We are looking for passionate and talented people to join our global fulfillment centre team, together we can build an e-commerce ecosystem that is innovative, secure and intuitive for our users.”
TikTok’s recruiting efforts show that it has not given up on its strategy of becoming a major force in the U.S. livestreaming market. The company earlier this year was reported to have abandoned its plans to expand livestreaming into the U.S. after having flopped in the UK, where it struggled to achieve awareness and failed to generate excitement among consumers.
The company’s efforts were also plagued by operational and labor issues. About half its staff walked out by mid-June, complaining of a “toxic” culture that demanded 12-hour shifts and failed to respect labor rights.
TikTok’s struggles making its in-house livestreaming solution work in the UK may be informing its next steps. Reuters, citing a Financial Times article, recently reported that the video app was in talks with TalkShopLive to serve as its livestreaming provider in the U.S. TalkShopLive works with Walmart to provide shoppable content on Walmart.com.
“When it comes to market expansion for TikTok Shop we are always guided by demand and are constantly exploring new and different options for how we can best serve our community, creators and merchants in markets around the world,” TikTok said. “These efforts include exploring partnerships which further support a seamless ecommerce experience for merchants, which is an important part of our ecosystem.”
- Scoop: TikTok chases Amazon with plans for U.S. fulfillment centers – Axios
- TikTok wants to open warehouses – CNN
- Business Solutions and Merchant Development Manager, Global Fulfillment Centre – LinkedIn
- Countries with the largest TikTok audience as of April 2022 – Statista
- Time’s up for TikTok’s U.S. livestream shopping plans – RetailWire
- TikTok to partner with TalkShopLive for U.S. live shopping, Financial Times reports – Reuters
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will it take for TikTok to become a major e-commerce platform in the U.S.? What do you think it is planning to do based on its employee recruitment efforts on LinkedIn?