TikTok Tests Visual Search To Boost Ecommerce Efforts

Visual search tools are common with Google, Bing, and Pinterest. Now TikTok is testing a visual search tool in its Shop tab that allows users to take a photo or upload an image to find and buy similar products.

The push takes the company from a short-form video-sharing site into ecommerce.

Businesses with a TikTok account in select markets outside the U.S. can create a shop page. Followers can explore and purchase products without leaving the app.

The number of U.S. adults who use visual search rose from 3.8% in 2020 to 8.2% in 2023, per Insider Intelligence, citing Bizrate Insights data. Although this is a small portion of the population, Google and Bing are building out visual search in the hope of accelerating adoption, according to the report.

TikTok Shop -- announced in August 2021 as an ecommerce solution -- is a way to make in-app purchases and speed the discovery of products. 

The company appears to be following its Chinese counterpart, Douyin, a short-video platform that has been taking market shares from ecommerce giants such as Alibaba, JD, and Pinduoduo.

TikTok also in the past week launched a free tool built on artificial intelligence (AI) that can create scripts in seconds. Script Generator helps advertisers develop creative by providing script ideas that contain “hook, body and call-to-action scenes.”

Advertisers need only provide a few inputs about the brand or product. The company recommends using the tool on desktop.

The tool is available to all TikTok Creative Center users with a TikTok for Business login on desktop.

The company has been publishing reports focused on trends, calling attention to sports that drive cultural changes.

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