Walmart will turn TikTok into its own home shopping network for one night

If you can't invest in TikTok, use it for a fashion show.

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The TikTok application is seen on an iPhone 11 Pro max in this photo illustration in Warsaw, Poland on September 30, 2020. The TikTok app will be banned from US app stores from Sunday unless president Donald Trump approves a last-minute deal between US tech firm Oracle and TikTok owner ByteDance. US authorities say the Chinese video sharing app threaten national security and could pass on user data to China. (Photo Illustration by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Walmart’s bid to invest in TikTok didn’t pan out, but that isn’t stopping the two from collaborating on an unusual project. As TechCrunch reports, Walmart ia hosting a “first-of-its-kind” live shopping event through its TikTok account on December 18th at 8PM Eastern. The hour-long Holiday Shop-Along Spectacular will have TikTok creators like dancer Michael Le participate in a social media fashion show. When you see clothing in a dance or closet tour, you only have to tap it to start a purchase — think of it as the social media equivalent to a shopping channel.

While this is a partnership, Walmart won’t give TikTok a cut of the sales, the big-box chain told TC. The event also wasn’t prompted by the recent investment talks, the company added. This is a shared test that could lead to more live shopping experiences.

This isn’t completely novel ground for TikTok. Brands have been using “shop now” buttons for a while, and outlets using Shopify can create their own TikTok ad campaigns. There have even been shoppable hashtags since 2019. It’s arguably a competitive reaction, too, when Instagram is enabling shopping in its TikTok-like Reels.

A livestreamed event is relatively new ground for TikTok, however, and hints this might become a relatively common experience going forward. Fashion labels and other companies often turn to social network superstars to hawk their wares in sponsored clips, and that might soon include the live videos normally reserved for Q&As and heart-to-heart chats.

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