TikTok Continues Amazon-like Push into Commerce with Fulfillment Services in the UK

TikTop launches fulfillment services in the UK.

TikTok is continuing to build out its commerce-related services with the launch of ecommerce fulfillment for companies in the UK selling via TikTok Shop.

The UK, along with several markets in Asia, was one of the first regions where TikTok Shop commerce functionality was made available. Now the UK also will be the first market for the company’s new logistics program, called Fulfilled by TikTok (FBT). Just like its Amazon counterpart, Fulfilled by Amazon or FBA, FBT will offer UK merchants picking, packing and shipping services for products sold on TikTok.

In order to be eligible for FBT, merchants must be based in and delivering to the UK, and packages cannot exceed a weight of 30 kg or a cubic volume of 31.5 cubic liters per shipment. The service will provide:

  • Same-day, automated fulfilment for all orders made by 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday;
  • A next working day premium delivery service;
  • Improved customer feedback and ratings through TikTok’s instant messaging service and dedicated customer service employees; and
  • Improved metrics in terms of reduced delivery times.

Merchants that sign up for FBT will send in a volume of their stock to be stored at a TikTok-run warehouse. Merchants aren’t required to store all of their SKUs at the warehouse or use FBT for all of their products; they can select which items they want to store and ship through FBT.

Once a merchant’s items are stored in the FBT warehouse, when an order is placed the warehouse will pick, pack and label the merchandise and then handle shipping. TikTok Shop charges fees for warehousing, shipping and other added-value services such as labelling, pre-packing and inserting leaflets. A full rate card can be found on the TikTok Seller Centre.

The news of TikTok’s move into fulfillment comes as Amazon reportedly made a surprise change to the fees it charges for sellers who don’t use FBA. Third-party sellers who ship their own products instead of using Amazon’s fulfillment services, but still want to be included in Prime through the Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program, will pay a 2% fee on each product sold beginning Oct. 1, 2023, multiple sources report. The news was shared in a notice sent to merchants that was viewed by CNBC and other news outlets.

Amazon’s SFP program first launched in 2015, was shut down for a time, and then re-opened as an invite-only offering in June 2023. Participating sellers have always paid a referral fee of 8% to 15% on each sale, but the additional 2% per-item fee is new to the program.

While TikTok’s fulfillment services are still new, the company is rapidly expanding the reach of its Shop features around the globe. TikTok Shop launched in North America in late 2022, and if FBT follows a similar trajectory, then logistics services could soon follow in the U.S.

TikTok also has teamed up with live-selling solution CommentSold to power a new live-selling integration with TikTok Shop in the U.S. Merchants that use CommentSold can now host live shopping events on TikTok from the CommentSold platform. Given TikTok’s roots in video content, the platform has always been seen as a prime playing field for livestream shopping.

“We’re absolutely delighted to partner with TikTok and bring a brand-new channel to our community of Live sellers, retailers and brands,” said Gautam Goswami, CEO of CommentSold in a statement. “This is already helping our customers acquire new shoppers, increase engagement and customer loyalty, and drive repeat purchases and revenue growth. TikTok is a key player in the U.S. live-selling landscape, and we look forward to partnering with them as adoption grows.”