Shopify and TikTok have announced a deal whereby Shopify merchants with a business TikTok account will be able to add a ‘shop’ tab to the app.
The move by Shopify and TikTok is smart but not the only deal of its kind, as many apps are adding functionality to retain customers, and one of the most effective ways is to build a shopping functionality into them.
Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all aware of the power of so-called social commerce and are investing heavily to take advantage of a market set to reach $50 billion in annual sales by 2023 in the US alone. Already, social commerce is big business across the Asia Pacific region.
It will be, we can be sure, a battle royal, and the Shopify and TikTok deal will perhaps be the proof in the pudding that the future of shopping itself has changed beyond all recognition.
Amazon, of course, invented the easy, one click way to buy a vast range of goods, and while it now finds itself with a host of competitors, it is not going to give up easily. Amazon Prime must go down as the most successful premium shopping idea ever.
Shopping, and its partner payments, are one main battleground for big tech and their apps, but it is by no means the only one.
Instagram is to launch adverts on its own ‘Shop’ feature in an attempt to earn more from its new and existing customers. Meanwhile, Facebook has spent the last year buying companies and launching everything from dating functionality to local help and advice.
Now, wait for it; Facebook is to launch a great new functionality to its app.
Voice. You will soon be able to ring someone from the app.
While that may make you chuckle, and while it is not the same level of innovation as the Shopify and TikTok deal, it points to one vexing issue.
We are now so inundated with apps packed with every sort of functionality you have to wonder where it will all end. We are already suffering from app blindness as every company we interact with tries to get us to download their app (some of which are useful, but not many). Now smartphones have had to produce index systems and libraries to help us navigate.
While we watch innovations from Shopify and TikTok, and while we watch Amazon take it to the next level to ward off Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, spare a thought for the actual customers, who are probably about to enter a world of complete confusion.