According to the job postings, ByteDance-owned TikTok is looking to build an “international e-commerce fulfillment system” that will include international warehousing, customs clearings, and supply chain systems that support domestic e-commerce efforts in the U.S. alongside their cross-border e-commerce efforts.
This system will consolidate parcel consolidation, along with transporting goods from one stage to the next and managing free returns.
- Among the roles on offer, Tik Tok said it is looking for a Seattle-based logistics solutions manager for a global fulfillment center, who will plan and design fulfillment centers and e-commerce logistics solutions that will include the transportation of goods, order prediction, and inventory management.
- Again, in Seattle, TikTok is searching for a manager to take on the creation of a new fulfillment service center. The service center will house a global team responsible for developing and growing logistics solutions and will include product fulfillment by TikTok Shop to its sellers by providing warehousing, delivery, and customer service returns, according to the job description.
- Other less-senior roles posted show TikTok is looking to build a team that is responsible for a global logistics and warehousing network.
The big move
The move signifies TikTok betting big on e-commerce as its next major revenue stream, following the explosive growth of its ads business.
“By providing warehousing, delivery, and customer service returns, our mission is to help sellers improve their operational capability and efficiency, provide buyers a satisfying shopping experience and ensure fast and sustainable growth of TikTok Shop,” the company wrote in one job listing.
A threat to Amazon?
TikTok’s plan to build its own product fulfillment centers in the U.S to create an e-commerce supply chain system could directly challenge Amazon, as indicated by more than a dozen new job openings posted in the past few weeks.
One job description for a fulfillment logistics manager implies that, like Amazon, TikTok is looking to develop a free return program.
State of play
For now, it does not appear that TikTok plans to build its own transportation unit like Amazon. The job postings imply that TikTok would work with vendors to handle shipping, parcel consolidation and transportation.
Building out its own e-commerce supply chain could give TikTok more control and boost profits in the U.S. and around the world.
A TikTok spokesperson confirmed that in areas like the U.K. and Southeast Asia where TikTok now offers e-commerce programs, it aims to provide “a selection of merchants which offer a range of product options as well as delivery options.”
The spokesperson said the company’s “focus” remains on its currently active e-commerce regions.
The big picture
TikTok’s meteoric growth, which has already taken its toll on Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, has also begun to pose a threat to companies like Amazon and Google that rely on intent-based search advertising to drive business on their shopping platforms.