In December last year Walmart low-key became the first brand to stage a live shopping event on Tiktok.

by Jolyon Varley
Social Media TikTok

The Holiday Shop-a-Long Spectacular featured ten creators wearing looks from the US retail giant’s apparel range. Viewers could buy through the app.  

People could be forgiven for thinking this was just a big retail brand leaping onto a new app feature to drive sales in time for the holidays. They’d be wrong though: Walmart’s live Tiktok shopping event was genius and offers a glimpse into the future of social commerce.  

The reason is that live shopping events on Tiktok combine the best of two highly effective forms of marketing. 

  1. 1. Live Tiktok commerce carries all the conventions of TV shopping channels. Consider the fact that QVC raked in $352m in the three months to September last year, a rebound attributed to grounded Americans turning on the tube during the pandemic. Brands using Tiktok for live shopping should take note of how TV shows got so good at selling cheap jewellery, shark costumes and Donald Trump branded steaks. 
  2. 2. Live shopping events like Walmart’s are the digital equivalent to hype marketing. Brands should build anticipation in advance of the event to usher in the virtual equivalent of a product drop. Think hundreds of tastemaker kids queueing up for entry to a temporary store containing a fleeting number of limited-edition items – but online.

 I’ve seen the future of shopping – and it’s live.

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