Walmart to host a new live stream shopping event on TikTok, following successful pilot

In December, Walmart partnered with TikTok on the first pilot test of a new livestreamed shopping experience in the U.S. on the video platform. That test seemingly performed well, as today Walmart announced it will return to TikTok to host another livestream shopping event, the “Spring Shop-Along: Beauty Edition,” which will feature TikTok creators and influencers in an hour-long livestream.

The retailer didn’t disclose to what extent its first TikTok live shopping event drove sales, but noted that it netted 7x more views that it had anticipated, and was able to grow its TikTok follower base by 25%. These metrics were encouraging enough to send Walmart back to the platform for another go — this time, to promote beauty products instead of apparel, which had been the focus of the holiday livestream.

The new Spring Shop-Along will run this Thursday, March 11 at 9 PM EST on the Walmart TikTok channel. Like the prior holiday event, the new livestream shopping event will see various TikTok creators joining to talk about and demonstrate their favorite items. One participating creator has already been announced: Gabby Morrison (@GabbyMorr) who has over 3.5 million TikTok followers.

Image Credits: Walmart

Gabby and others will demo their skincare, makeup and hair routines and reveal the Walmart beauty products they’re using during the 60-minute live event. Featured beauty brands will include NYX, Maybelline, The Lip Bar, Bliss, Kim Kimble, and Marc Jacobs fragrances.

Viewers watching the event will be able to get beauty tips as well as shop the products featured directly in the TikTok app by tapping on product “pins.” This will allow them to add items to their cart that they can then check out either during or after the event.

“Brands have found a unique home on TikTok to create content that speaks to the community and inspires engagement, whether it’s participating in trends or discovering new products,” said Blake Chandlee, President of TikTok Global Business Solutions, in a statement about Walmart’s plans.

“With the shoppable livestream experience, it’s exciting to see how the TikTok community loves engaging with their favorite creators and discovering new products. We look forward to continue building innovative ways to power the path from discovery to purchase, and seeing brands like Walmart bring their creativity to users,” Chandlee added.

Walmart had already signaled its interest in leveraging TikTok for e-commerce ahead of the holiday livestream. Notably, it had planned to invest in TikTok when the video app was threatened with a ban under the Trump administration, unless it sold its U.S. operations to an American company. That forced sale, which would have spun out TikTok’s U.S. business to new owners Oracle and Walmart, is shelved for the time being as the Biden administration reviews the agency action under Trump.

Image Credits: Screenshot of Walmart’s TikTok channel during the 2020 holidays

Livestreamed shopping is an area of increasing interest and investment in the U.S. The trend has seen a number of startups enter the market, including NTWRK and recently funded Bambuser and Popshop Live, among others. Larger tech companies are also taking part — including across mobile video and live video shopping.

Google’s R&D project for mobile video shopping Shoploop was integrated into search. Facebook acquired a video shopping startup Packagd to build out live shopping, and heavily invested in video shopping across Facebook and Instagram. Amazon runs live shopping through its QVC-like Amazon Live. Alibaba (AliExpress) JD.com, Pinduoduo, WeChat and TikTok’s Chinese sister app, Douyin, all support mobile video shopping, too.

Walmart had said its plan to partner with TikTok on livestream shopping wasn’t a result of its deal talks, however — it’s been an active brand on TikTok’s platform for well over a year. The retailer even tasked its employees to make TikTok videos, in addition to running its own TikTok channel.

Reached for comment, the retailer declined to provide further metrics about its first livestream on TikTok, but felt the pilot test delivered above expectations.

“We were happy with getting 7X more views than anticipated and the 25% increase in TikTok follower growth after the first event. We were also pleased with the smooth checkout experience,” a spokesperson told TechCrunch. “We aren’t able to share sales numbers, but can share that we hit the projections we set ahead of the event.”

Following this week’s live shopping event, Walmart says it plans to bring more shopping experiences to TikTok in the months to come, by continuing to partner with creators to highlight different products via different formats.

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