How a TikTok Ban Could Open Doors to Other Platforms for Brands

In an innovative move blending commerce with short-form video, Orme is a new type of marketplace that enhances how brands interact with potential shoppers. Backed by Xcel Brands Inc. and developed in collaboration with KonnectBio Inc., Orme aims to not only elevate brand profiles but also to offer financial rewards to buyers and influencers.

Integrating e-commerce with elements of social networking, Orme uses the ever-growing popularity of video content to engage consumers. Faisal Ahmed, cofounder and chief executive officer of Orme, said the platform goes beyond traditional online shopping. “It is more than a marketplace. It is a community where social sharing and referral incentives reward shoppers and influencers,” Ahmed told WWD earlier this year.

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Here, Ahmed discusses social commerce trends, the implications of a possible TikTok ban in the U.S. and how Orme can help brands leverage video content.

WWD: How important is TikTok to brands and creators, and how would a ban on the platform impact the influencer economy?

Faisal Ahmed: TikTok has changed the way brands, creators and consumers interact with each other on social media. However, the uncertainty around the platform’s future is giving many brands and influencers a chance to reconsider where they want to build their businesses.

Consumers have a strong appetite for engaging with short-form video content, and we expect that brands and influencers will begin to increase their presence on other platforms, like Orme, which has a similar format and drives ROI. Orme rewards consumers for sharing short-form shoppable videos from the brands they love and allows those brands to maximize their investment in influencer marketing.

Faisal Ahmed
Faisal Ahmed

It also democratizes the social shopping experience, offering all platform users performance-based cash rewards for their content instead of limiting these financial benefits exclusively for paid influencers.

WWD: What can brands do to prepare for a possible ban on TikTok in the U.S.?

F.A.: Brands should be hedging their bets and expanding their content and social media strategies across multiple platforms, including Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. Orme makes it easy for brands to pull the influencer content they’ve already created for other social platforms into the Orme app, where users can quickly add to and share these videos with their social network.

It includes the best elements of livestream video shopping and uses the power of persuasive video to drive conversion rates that significantly outpace the 2.5 percent average for e-commerce.

WWD: Are brands and creators looking for alternatives to TikTok? Are there viable alternatives that can produce similar ROI?

F.A.: Retailers and brands invest billions in influencer marketing, but the ROI is often not impactful. Just 23 percent of brands run influencer campaigns to drive sales. Given the money invested into influencer-led content, brands need to increase both the reach and return from their video investments. Many social commerce experiences are woefully disjointed, stopping consumers from acting on their intent to purchase.

Shoppers expect to know exactly how much product is available so they can make informed purchasing decisions. Orme, for instance, is the only social commerce solution that connects to a brand’s API and updates inventory levels in real-time, giving users transparency throughout their in-app video-based shopping experience.

WWD: How can brands differentiate their social media marketing spend?

F.A.: Using owned content on platforms that drive real ROI is one way for brands to differentiate their social media marketing spend. Influencers have accrued virtually all the benefits of the social commerce movement, reaping the lion’s share of the financial rewards that come with sharing and promoting brand content. However, everyday consumers are becoming influential content creators in their own right.

Brands can look to these shoppers as a means to extend their influencer marketing spend. Professional influencers shouldn’t be the only people earning income from the content they post if the average consumer’s videos are driving exposure and engagement, too. Shoppers deserve performance-based cash rewards for their content, democratizing social commerce once and for all.

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