Douyin Tests New Layout to Stress E-Commerce, Downplay Social Features

Tech Planet reported on Friday that Douyin, the Chinese mainland version of TikTok, has recently been testing a new homepage layout that emphasizes the “Mall” function. This e-commerce feature has now been placed in the navigation bar at the bottom of the app’s homepage, replacing the former “Friends” button, which has moved to the top of the homepage as a tag. The tests indicate that Douyin is weighing the importance of e-commerce and social features.

The design of the “Mall” in this new place has not changed, and users can view shopping items and place orders faster through this new portal.

Compared with the previous test portal, this adjustment makes the e-commerce feature more significant, especially by replacing the “Friends” button. This suggests that e-commerce is seen by Douyin as more important than social interaction features.

For a long time, social features were the top priority business in the platform’s development. Starting from 2020, its operator company ByteDance has increased investment in the app, especially within the social field. Features such as “Connect,” “Video Chat” and “Friends” have been launched successively, focusing on social interaction between acquaintances and strangers and trying to find a breakthrough by trial and error.

At the IF 2021 event held last year, ByteDance CEO Kelly Zhang shared her views on the social functions of Douyin. Zhang said that they have been generated naturally, and that users’ demand for interactive expression has begun to ferment development inside Douyin, promoting new social functions.

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However, the developments have not brought the desired results and changes to Douyin. In particular, its social product “Duoshan” was finally incorporated into the Douyin app, becoming an independent function within the platform.

On the other hand, with the increasing rise of e-commerce businesses, a portal is urgently needed to bring greater traffic and exposure, improving its transaction rate. Douyin e-commerce has tested related portals on the search page, personal information page and homepage, but those places are still not so apparent compared with the portal in the bottom navigation bar.

Taking the navigation bar as the new portal for the Douyin “Mall” feature means that the company will enhance the importance of e-commerce business in the app.