Walmart announced it will host a one-hour livestream this Friday on TikTok, where users can can shop for the retailer's fashion items featured by TikTok creators without having to leave the app. Once the event is over, users will still be able to shop the items featured by visiting Walmart’s TikTok page to shop. It’s the first time TikTok will host a shoppable livestream in the U.S. Both Walmart and TikTok could boost their e-commerce operations through the partnership. Walmart figures to gain an edge with TikTok’s young user base. Walmart, which had been in talks to partly acquire some of TikTok’s operations, had previously indicated it wanted to bring shopping to the platform.
Total Retail's Take: Livestream shopping events are an untapped opportunity for U.S. retailers. The format has proven exceedingly popular in China, as Singles Day revealed, and many U.S.-based retailers have indicated a willingness to test the channel. In the case of Walmart, the brick-and-mortar retailer has been aggressive in trying to grow its digital business, and in turn take market share away from its primary competitor, Amazon.com. In addition, partnering with TikTok puts Walmart in a position to attract new, younger customers to its brand, an area in which it has traditionally struggled. I would expect that a lot of other retailers and brands will be closely following Walmart's livestream shopping test, and if successful, begin formulating their own plans for the channel. Shoppable content, particularly video, figures to be a growing part of retailers' marketing budgets in 2021.