Walmart Tests Livestream Shopping With TikTok

The Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular will feature TikTok stars showcasing shoppable Walmart products.

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Need to Know

  • The live, shoppable experience from Walmart will act as a pilot test for the retailer’s further integration with video-sharing platform TikTok.
  • During the live stream, TikTok users will be able to purchase Walmart fashion items they see without navigating away from TikTok.
  • The stream will be hosted by TikTok star Michael Le and will feature other TikTok celebrities.
  • Items will still be shoppable via Walmart’s TikTok page after the live stream has ended.

Analysis

Walmart is stepping into the increasingly popular world of shoppable livestreams, announcing it will host a shoppable experience on TikTok on December 18—a first for both the retailer and the social media platform.

The pilot test, a “Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular,” will feature TikTok celebrities and creators showing off their favourite Walmart fashion items. It will be hosted by Michael Le, a TikTok star with more than 43 million followers. During the stream, TikTok users will be able to purchase Walmart items without leaving the app, by tapping on pins that will pop up throughout the stream, allowing users to add items to their cart. Viewers can also review all of the items featured. in the Shop-Along after the stream is over, and purchase them at that time.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to innovate the shopping experience for our customers,” Walmart’s U.S. chief marketing officer, William White, said in a statement. “We’re moving faster than ever to find new and improved ways to better serve our customers and meet them where they are. We created this event for, about, and by our community, reflecting the lives, passions and styles of a diverse set of creators so everyone watching will feel represented, no matter who they are or how they outfit their closet.”

While the livestream shopping experience is a first for TikTok, the social media platform has been experimenting with e-commerce for some time. The site has allowed users to shop hashtags, and the platform’s “Shop Now” button redirects users to a brand’s website to purchase items they see on TikTok.

“At TikTok, we’re constantly exploring new ways to inspire creativity, bring joy and add value for our community,” said Blake Chandlee, VP, global business solutions at TikTok. “Creators and brands have found a creative outlet to connect with audiences through TikTok Live, and we’re excited to further innovate on this interactive experience to enable our community to discover and engage with the brands they love. Brands have had an incredible impact on the community throughout this year, and we’re thrilled to see Walmart embrace the creativity of TikTok and this first-of-a-kind experience to meaningfully engage with their community.”

The Walmart-TikTok livestream partnership is an extension of a deal inked earlier this year that saw Walmart acquire a 7.5% ownership stake in the social media platform’s US operations. At the time, neither company disclosed any plans for future integrations or partnerships, and Walmart says the Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular was not part of discussions earlier this year.

Livestream shopping has spiked in popularity in North America this year, as COVID-19 lockdowns led retailers to experiment with new ways of engaging their customers online. Estée Lauder, Levi’s, and Swarovski are among the brands that have launched livestream and other virtual shopping experiences during the pandemic; L’Oreal, meanwhile, just acquired a minority stake in Replika Software, a social-selling solutions provider. Livestream shopping events have long proven popular in Asian markets: in China alone, social selling accounted for 30% of online retail transactions in 2020.

Walmart has been focusing significantly on updates and rollouts throughout 2020 that have emphasized an interactive online customer experience. The company recently rolled out a suite of interactive cooking videos, Walmart Cookshop, starring celebrities such as chef Jamie Oliver, singer Patti Labelle, and food blogger Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman—like the upcoming TikTok event, Cookshop videos are all shoppable. Walmart also launched an interactive, shoppable “toy box” in September, as part of its holiday 2020 campaigning.

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