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Have you been patiently waiting for livestream commerce to become mainstream in your market? Silently logging onto social media every day hoping to see your favorite influencers pushing products in your face through live video?

Well if so, I’ve got some disappointing news for you. And if not, you’re apparently not alone if you’re living in the West, where livestream commerce hasn’t caught on culturally as fast as TikTok was hoping. Or is their execution to blame?

In this week’s 77th edition of Shopifreaks, I report on TikTok’s change of plans to enter the EU and US markets with e-commerce this year, Pinterest’s new e-commerce features, and EU’s new Digital Services Act. 

I also share stories and insight into outdated e-commerce funnels, DTC brands migrating to Amazon, and new food delivery partnerships between giants. 

All this and more in this week’s edition of Shopifreaks. Thanks for being a subscriber!

PS: Thank you everyone who introduced themselves last week. If you haven’t already done so, hit reply to this e-mail and introduce yourself. I love to know who’s on the other side of this e-mail so that I can better serve you with this newsletter.

Stat of the Week

90% of consumers feel that a product with a large number of low ratings and negative reviews should NOT be allowed to re-list on platforms under a new product listing (according to Local Circles). I feel like the other 10% either didn’t understand the question or couldn’t believe platforms allow that! It’s definitely a problem I’ve seen in action on platforms.

Share this week’s stat on Twitter & LinkedIn

1. TikTok drops its immediate e-commerce plans for US and EU

TikTok had been planning to roll out its new e-commerce Shop marketplace in Germany, France, Italy, and Spain by now, and was hoping to launch in US later this year, but those plans have been put on hold. The company will instead solely focus on making the product a success in the UK for now. 

TikTok has been testing live shopping in the UK since late last year, starting with a multi-brand event called “On Trend” last December, but the streams have not drawn big audiences or sparked many sales, and some of the early creators involved in the projects have since dropped out. 

Aside from UK, the Shop feature is currently being tested in Indonesia, Vietnam, and Singapore, and last week I reported that TikTok is testing a Shop Feed tab exclusively in Indonesia. 

In the last edition of Shopifreaks, I also shared some insight into how wildly successful livestream commerce is in China on the Douyin platform, which is the Chinese version of TikTok, also owned by ByteDance. The company has been actively trying to bring the livestream shopping model to the west, but acceptance has been slower than anticipated. 

While cultural acceptance is one obstacle, internal issues at the company also seem to be playing their part in the success of the program’s expansion. Since TikTok opened its corporate office in London in October, at least 20 staff from the e-commerce team have left, citing a toxic work environment as their reason for departure. 

In my opinion, it’s short sighted to point to cultural acceptance as the reason for an executional failure. It’s hard to be a pioneer in a new industry — no-one said it’d be easy — but the rewards can be huge.

TikTok dropping livestream commerce in US & EU would be a mistake, same as Twitter shutting down their e-commerce features in 2017 was a mistake. Being early to market takes work and patience. Imagine if Netflix hadn’t taken the risk on streaming and was still delivering DVDs by mail.

If TikTok completely pulls out of e-commerce, they’ll be playing catch up later. I hope for their sake, this is just a delay and not a cancellation.

2. Your product pages don’t convert!

I have a rule when it comes to developing e-commerce websites which is, “Every product page has to provide ALL the information a customer needs to make a purchase including your brand story, differentiators, reasons to shop with you, shipping / refund / return policies, etc.”

The reason for that rule is that we can’t take for granted that shoppers will visit multiple pages on your website to learn about your company before making a purchase. (Because spoiler alert: they won’t!)

Venture Beat published an interesting piece about “plugging the 14% of revenue leaking from every ecommerce site”, and their focus was on how product pages weren’t originally designed to be the entry point for shopping, but now 25% of traffic is landing directly on them.

They wrote, “For every, say, 100,000 visitors, 3% convert, spending on average $100, resulting in $300,000 of revenue… Today, 25% of traffic lands directly on the product detail page, something that it was never designed for. As a result, traffic bounces off 79% more and converts at only 1.5%, half the rate of every other page.”