Douyin Takes another Step Towards E-commerce
COVID-19 and China
Douyin adds "products" to its search list. Photo by Igor Miske on Unsplash

According to 36kr, the domestic version of Tik Tok, Douyin continues to expand in ways that puts it increasingly against China’s heavyweight platforms. The fast-growing app is set to let users search specifically for Products inside the app.

Product listings are sourced from stores that have set up shop in Douyin’s mini-app network, while search results show basic product information, including an image, description, price, and a link that takes users into the retailer’s Douyin mini-app.

This is an important empowerment of Douyin to the e-commerce since the e-commerce mini program was officially launched.

At present, Douyin has partnerships with Xiaomi, NetEase Koala,, Suning, and others to launch e-commerce mini-apps on its platform. However, the company aims not only to open e-commerce opportunities for big brands, but also small- and medium-scale vendors. With over 250 million daily users on Douyin, there’s plenty of incentive for retailers to be present on the app.

By giving users a more direct way to search for and buy products, Douyin places itself in closer competition with social e-commerce apps like Pinduoduo as well as online shopping giants like Taobao.

In particular, Douyin’s strengths in short video sector, along with the network of internet stars on its platform, could put it in an enviable position to capitalize on influencers and social e-commerce.

Douyin has long attached importance to e-commerce. In March 2018 it announced an e-commerce deal with Taobao. A shopping cart icon added to Douyin’s user interface, which can link to brand’s product page on Taobao. This function offers brands opportunities to do new conversion-based marketing strategies on Douyin platform. In May 2018 Douyin opened and set up its own e-commerce store. E-commerce is a must-have link for social media platforms in China. Douyin is also trying to complete the loop from awareness to conversion. In 2019, Douyin has become more active in the e-commerce field.

According to "New Business Intelligence NBT", the current small program of Douyin is also on its Android version, which means that in the future this mini program will an important component of Douyin’s e-commerce sector.

QDaily reported last month that ByteDance allowed merchants to add mini programs on Douyin to sell goods directly to its users. Xiaomi was the first one to roll out its mini-program on Douyin, facilitating sales to the short video app’s users.

The development comes as recent figures revealed that in-app spending via Tik Tok had surged 222% worldwide in Q1 this year, and indicates that ByteDance is leveraging the popularity of Douyin/TikTok to become a significant force in the Chinese and beyond eCommerce space.

This means by adding mini-programs to their profile online sales can be completed without the need to leave the app and visit a seller’s online platform.

By giving users a more direct way to search for and buy products, Douyin places itself in competition with Chinese e-commerce giants like Taobao and Pinduoduo.

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