TikTok made headlines this week after Axios discovered jobs listed by the budding social media giant on LinkedIn, including global fulfillment center positions in Seattle and Los Angeles.
Plans to build warehouses and create an e-commerce supply chain could directly challenge Amazon.
One position listed was for a “logistics solutions manager” working in a global fulfillment center, planning and designing fulfillment centers and e-commerce logistics solutions.
TikTok told Axios that it intends to provide “a selection of merchants which offer a range of product options as well as delivery options” in regions where it has e-commerce programs, with those areas being its primary focus.
TikTok cites its “millions of loyal users globally” and its platform's ability to deliver a new and improved e-commerce experience to its users.
The job listings also showcase TikTok's plans to create warehousing, delivery, and returns for sellers to expand TikTok Shop -- referring to the e-commerce features the company has recently launched, including one that allows brands and sellers to manage online stores directly in the app.
TikTok has become not only the fastest-growing social media network in history, but a heavily used search engine, forcing even Google to adapt to a more visual-oriented TikTok-reliant generation.
Now, the company's foray into e-commerce may also impact the way Amazon conducts business.
Rob Jewell, chief growth officer at Power Digital, a tech-enabled growth marketing firm with a department focused on TikTok initiatives for brands, told MediaPost that TikTok's major advantage over Amazon lies in its position at the beginning of the discovery phase of the customer journey.
With creator recommendations, reviews, and collaborations being integral to the discovery phase, Jewell believes TikTok's ability to attract creators could “pose a unique selling point for TikTok compared to Amazon, where users shop and search for products they are already in the market to buy.”
Jewel says "bringing fulfillment to the mix will allow users to buy right on the platform. It will dramatically reduce friction, simplify the journey, and have a huge impact on improving conversion rates. Ultimately, the move to end-to-end commerce will be driving up ROI for brands on TikTok.”
One challenge, however, that brands may face if they become reliant on TikTok for e-commerce sales involves the area of data and measurement.
“If TikTok becomes a standalone sales channel that is completely siphoned from a brand's core e-commerce site, determining what other channels contributed to the purchase could prove challenging,” Jewell said. “Conversely, brands could start driving significant growth with substantially higher conversion rates.”