Has #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt given Amazon the “social commerce” push it needs?

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Amazon has long been known as a search engine for shoppers. Over the past year, they seem to have gradually positioned themselves as a discovery-based platform with new features like Amazon Live. That’s traditionally the realm of search engines like Google and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

It seems that social media platforms and online marketplaces are headed towards each other. If consumers are lucky, they’ll meet somewhere in the middle, making the way we all shop more streamlined and fun in 2023.

See also: What brands need to know about social commerce

Here’s what I’m really talking about.

In the past few years, influencer marketing has become a crucial (and very valuable) part of online commerce. The influencer marketing business model has exploded from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $13.8 billion in 2021. Industry analysts predict it will reach $16.4 billion this year.

And where are all these influencers at home? TikTok, there it is.

OK, not only TikTok, but also other platforms with short video formats like Facebook and YouTube. Accelerated by the restrictions imposed by the long pandemic, they have all contributed to an exciting new way to effortlessly transition from social media engagement straight to shopping for popular, influencer-endorsed products.

TikTok signaled its e-commerce intentions with a recent announcement of a new partnership program designed to help US merchants advertise in their app by positioning the TikTok For Business Ads Manager as the basis for their TikTok-based marketing.

Also See: 3 Ways TikTok Can Boost Your Marketing Strategy

TikTok For Business enables merchants to create and manage TikTok campaigns without leaving their own native e-commerce platforms.

Just as importantly, they can do this by engaging with users right at the forefront, the ones who interact with high-profile marketing trends.

Now #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has become both a trending hashtag and a place for products to go viral in ecommerce.

TikTok for Business is ground zero for influencers and online sellers who want to find out what people are talking about and, more importantly, buy.

The growing #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt hashtag movement is not asking customers to buy anything. Instead, it just shows how cool these trendy new products are. And it works! TikTok also has a “For You Page,” which they say is intended to act as an online “matchmaker” between content and a curated audience.

At the same time, the same takes place on the Amazon marketplace but vice versa!

Amazon just launched Inspire, “a new, personalized in-app shopping feed that makes it easy to explore new products, discover ideas, and seamlessly buy content created by other customers, influencers, and brands who… (You love.”

Sound familiar?

It should. It is very similar to the experience a TikTok user would have. Browsers (and not necessarily buyers) could scroll through curated photos and videos tailored to their chosen interests and engagement.

Related: When it comes to social media, TikTok can maximize your ROI

What’s groundbreaking about this new app is Amazon’s seeming willingness to create a platform for users who might not even be interested in shopping. That’s a business model I’m not sure Jeff Bezos saw on the horizon.

Inspire app users can swipe through content to easily see what’s out there, get inspired by something new, cool or crazy, and of course, make purchases in just a few clicks.

Amazon, along with several other major e-commerce marketplaces, have decided that the long-held acceptance that their platforms are uncompromisingly “shopping” has run its course. Now they are building fun ecosystems that also enable shopping.

Amazon Inspire is not available for desktop applications. Rather than pointing out intended functionality as well as demographics, it’s only available as an app for IOS and Android.

Amazon says it will be rolling out to select US customers in early December, with a projected goal of completing US accessibility in a matter of months.

Marketplace Pulse recently pointed out that “Prime Day is the best example of social commerce,” with videos tagged #primeday2022 being viewed over 52 million times on TikTok.

It seems that very soon, a better representation of “social commerce” may just be groups of Amazon Inspire users handing their phones back and forth, taking turns “liking” and making purchases in a marketplace once known for its single-minded focus was, and let’s admit it lacks the fun.